The New Year is here! With it comes excitement and anticipation for what is to come.

However, many feel overwhelmed and unable to handle what life throws at them. Do you have those feelings? If so, you’re not alone.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year. When you feel anxious, depressed or need help managing difficult times or overwhelming situations, consider psychotherapy, also called talk therapy or counseling.

What is Psychotherapy?

The word sounds much more daunting and scarier than it actually is. Psychotherapy is meeting with a therapist to work through the difficult times or overwhelming situations. Starting therapy can be a daunting step, however a therapist acts as neutral party who can listen and try to understand without judgement. No one can tell you exactly what your therapy route will be like; you and your therapist will establish goals for your therapy and determine the steps you will take to get there.

Your conversations with your therapist will be confidential. You can expect that your therapist will be someone who supports you, listens, gives you proper feedback, and follows ethical rules. Think of the proverb: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for life.” Therapists will aid you in learning to resolve your own problems, rather than solving them for you. This is what builds the foundation for moving forward and being able to handle the ups and downs that life naturally brings.

You may be able to benefit from therapy if you have one or more of the following signs:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or down
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • Thinking about suicide (If you are thinking about harming yourself, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for immediate help at 800-273-8255 or 911).

Psychotherapy can be short-term (a few sessions), dealing with immediate issues, or long-term (months or years), dealing with complex issues. Reaping the benefits of psychotherapy does require work on your part; this includes completing homework, practicing your newly found skills, and trying the recommendations you are given.

Make a New Year’s resolution to improve your mental health in addition to other goals you may have set. Improving mental health will ultimately impact additional areas of your life – in a good way.

The team of compassionate, mental health professionals at Lutheran Family Service is here to help. Reach out today!

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