10 benefits of therapy- even when you don’t have a mental illness

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Today I submitted comments for an article about benefits of therapy for people who may not have a mental illness. There are many, and I say this not just because I’m a therapist, but because I believe it and I see it all of the time.

In fact, when people ask me things like, “Isn’t it hard to listen to people’s problems all day?”, I let them know that 1) I love it, and 2) most people I work with are just regular people, with very regular problems…sometimes not “problems” at all, but looking for some guidance on how to deal with a life situation. So no, it’s not that hard. I really enjoy helping people who want to make their lives better.

Here is a top 10 list I came up with today of counseling benefits, whether or not a person has “problems” or a mental illness:

1) Increased insight and self-awareness

2) Improved self-image or self-esteem

3) Increased self-confidence

4) Finding or refining one’s direction in life, or facilitating a change in direction

5) Improved relationships

6) Increased gratitude for what we have in our lives

7) Gaining a healthier perspective on others or the world

8) Help working through or overcoming life situations

9) Improved ability to recognize, understand, and change behaviors

10) Prevention of mental health problems or addressing issues before they become a disorder

I tell people all of the time that anyone would benefit from therapy, and I truly mean that. Truly knowing yourself is invaluable, given the complex world we live in.

Just as one caveat, though, if you are planning to use insurance as payment for therapy, a therapist will need to assign you a diagnosis to demonstrate medical necessity. This isn’t something to be scared of, and a therapist should discuss this with you. A diagnosis doesn’t mean you are “mentally ill”, but it does signal that you are experiencing an issue that warrants treatment (in insurance terms, it means your issue meets medical necessity). If you don’t plan to use insurance, then a diagnosis may not be necessary- but should a therapist assign one, this is something he or she should discuss with you, and will likely be provided only to help guide treatment.

If you would like to find a therapist to contact, here is one place you might look. Recommendations from a physician, friend, or other trusted contact might be a good source of a referral too. Take care!

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About Dr. Jesse Matthews

I'm a private practice psychologist in Chester Springs, PA. I provide counseling and coaching services to people ages 12 and up. Specialties include: depression; addiction/substance abuse; relationships; anxiety; ADHD and behavioral issues; and Autism/Asperger's.
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