Myths about mental health, psychology and psychotherapy are very stigmatizing. Many people decide to take advantage of the available options: “I can do it” or “it’s not so bad with me yet”. Translating this attitude into another example: when your car breaks down, do you also wait until you need a tow truck? This is a powerful simplification, but how illustrative. It is believed that only when “the world is collapsing” you CONSIDER a visit to a psychotherapist.
It affects all of us
According to research , every fourth person in Europe has experienced or will experience mental health disorders. This is in line with the Report “Mental Condition of Polish Citizens” , according to which almost 25% of the society suffered from mental health disorders . Additionally, an emotional crisis, understood as a loss of balance under the influence of an unexpected, unpredictable and potentially harmful event, is a natural part of existence. Every person in the world during their life faces at least a few emergencies that cannot be avoided. It can be, for example, the end of a relationship, family breakdown, loss of job, illness (ours or a loved one), or a lot of other situations (such as an existential or developmental crisis). Crisis-generating situations also include positive events such as getting married, having a child, changing jobs or retiring. The common denominator of all these events is the transformation of the way we act and live so far. The way we function and the roles we play are subject to modification. Each change, even if desired (i.e. a wedding, a child, a job change), evokes various emotions in us, such as joy and fear. It is a natural reaction of the body that allows us to take care of ourselves.
When to ask for support
In the office, I often hear that the reason for reporting to me is not a crisis or mental disorders, but the desire to “improve the quality of my life”. Clients come to me when independent ways of dealing with a certain issue did not bring the expected results and decided to use the support of a specialist who, thanks to his knowledge and presence, can help them achieve their goals. What we are working on, is recognizing and naming emotions, ways of dealing with difficult emotional states, communication, or improving relationships with other people. Each person has a different story, different needs and different goals to work together.
Is there health?
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” . The earlier definition was that health is life without disease. This is a very important shift in perspective that shifts the burden from “lack” to “resources”. In my opinion, this also causes important social changes to take place and we see, as a society, that “no suffering” and “happiness” are not the same concepts. Thus, it extends the possibilities of reaching for support, not only in a situation when there is a crisis, but also in a situation when we do not feel satisfied with the life we live. By changing the definition of health, the optics are changing, in which the pursuit of well-being ceases to be an excessive requirement, but a natural need that each of us has. It also takes away the burden of stigma and makes it possible to reach for support when the life situation is stable.
Employers support employees
More and more companies are expanding the employee benefit package with the possibility of consulting and psychotherapy. It also indicates that employers notice that the psychological comfort of employees translates into efficiency and creativity at work. This is a new trend on the job market all over the world, appropriate in my opinion. In the era of a pandemic, obliged to avoid contact with other people, we can experience various emotions that affect the entirety of our functioning, including professional work. Each of us reacts in our own way. A situation of isolation, limited contact with other people and difficult living conditions (remote work, remote education, the need to organize at least a minimum space for each household member, to work and study opportunities) can cause an emotional crisis for everyone. It is not without significance that due to numerous restrictions, many ways to relieve emotions (e.g. travelling, going to a gym or even meeting friends) is not possible. This creates a dangerous situation where, in very limited circumstances, we need new ways to deal with our emotions. In this regard, the psychotherapist may prove to be invaluable support.
The influence of the psyche on the body
Much is said today about the effects of the psyche on physical health. However, there are many people who believe that they are not related to each other – this is a myth. The way we perceive the world and our attitude to life affects our endocrine economy. Hormones, in turn, affect our immune system, which is responsible for the body’s ability to defend itself against disease and infection. Depending on whether we think of the world as a friendly or threatening place, we activate or not the fight-and-flight mechanism. When this mechanism is triggered, our body is focused mainly on getting rid of the threat (i.e. the cause of stress). Psychotherapy, by expanding awareness, allows us to confront and change our thought patterns. Thanks to this, we can use emotions as our weapon that allows us to function well.
“Life will send you a message. If you don’t get the message, it’ll teach you a lesson. Problems arise if you do not understand the lesson. If you don’t solve the problem, there will be a crisis. “ – Regina Brett