The Building Blocks of Mental Health Part 3: Professional Counseling

By: Stuart Porter, NP


You’ve learned about the first two building blocks of mental health, so it’s time to learn about the last piece of the puzzle: professional counseling.

Counseling can be a good option for those whose mental health is being affected by outside factors like trauma  or other stressors. A professional therapist can help you identify the things in your life that could be triggering your mental illness. He or she can also help you develop coping skills to deal with some of the symptoms of your mental illness.

Talking Through Your Problems With a Professional

Sometimes the cause of mental illness  is clearer than others. For example, a traumatic event in someone’s past is the likely cause of someone’s PTSD and co-occurring depression and anxiety.

Other times, however, you may not know why you are struggling with a mental illness or what outside factors could be causing it. If you’re taking the right medication, eating healthy, and exercising but still struggling, you may want to consider talking to a professional counselor.

Counselors know what questions to ask to help you figure out why you might be feeling a certain way. They can listen to your concerns and help you understand certain emotions, relationships, or situations.

There are a few different types of counseling  methods that therapists use depending on the issues you are dealing with, including the following.  

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is probably what most people imagine when they think of therapy. This type of therapy focuses on helping you change your belief about your life and make healthier choices. Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally used to treat depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder but can also be used to treat other issues.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy helps people develop healthy relationships and express their emotions in healthier ways. Often, interpersonal therapy works well for depression, and other variations can also be used to treat bipolar disorder.

Family Therapy

Family therapy helps family members develop better communication skills. If a family is facing some kind of conflict, a therapist can help the members of the family work through it in a positive and healthy way.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unconscious emotions and the hidden motivators for people’s behavior and actions.

Art Therapy

During art therapy, a patient uses any kind of art, including music, drawing, painting, coloring, or another medium to express their feelings and emotions.

Regardless of the issues you’re facing, the right therapist can help you work through certain conflicts and even identify issues in your life that you didn’t know were there.

Developing Coping Skills

Mental illness can impact your life and relationships, but counseling can provide you with the tools you need to help you better do your job, build relationships with friends and family members, and deal with other situations that you may be avoiding due to your mental illness.

A counselor can even help you learn to recognize intrusive thoughts and deal with them positively rather than letting them affect every aspect of your life. Even when you are living a healthy lifestyle and taking the right medications, you need to learn how to positively think and feel about yourself.

All counseling provides you with the tools you need to handle your situation with strength and positivity, but only if you find the right therapist. Ask your psychiatrist if they can recommend a good counselor, or use online resources like Psychology Today to search for recommended counselors in your area that specialize in your disorder or the issues you’re facing.

Once you find a counselor who you’re comfortable with, your last step is to find your own balance of medication, healthy lifestyle, and professional counseling. You’ll be amazed at the different each one can make. If you would like to learn more about your situation and the possible solutions, contact us  at Serenity Mental Health Centers to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist.

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.