Throughout our lifetimes, we will face many problems that we must learn to cope with and adjust to. No matter how big or small these problems may seem, they still cause suffering.

Therapy can seem daunting to many. “What would a therapist be able to do? They don’t know my life.”

That’s exactly the point!

Oftentimes, it may be difficult to share these problems in the first place for fear of being a burden or appearing weak. When we do seek support from our loved ones, it can be challenging because they may not always know what to say. Furthermore, their feedback may not always be the most helpful due to their bias based on their histories with us.

This is where therapists can come in. Their detachment from our personal life allows them to approach our problems in an objective, solution-focused manner.

Blaine, Marshall.jpg

Marshall is a psychology senior and CommUNITY Voices columnist for The Shorthorn.

Therapists come in many different forms, whether it be a licensed psychologist, counselor, or social worker. In order to become licensed and counsel individuals, a graduate degree and a minimum of 3000 training hours while under supervision is required. Therefore, it is safe to assume that whoever you go to is sufficiently trained in what they do.

However, not everyone is comfortable talking to just anyone about their problems. You may want someone who shares your ethnic or cultural background.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of mental health counselors to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, which suggests a greater need to satisfy this demand and employ therapists of many different backgrounds to accommodate these needs.

Finding the right therapist can require a huge investment of time, not to mention the cost of it either. However, in order to find the right one, it is important to keep in mind one of the most fundamental elements of therapy, known as the therapeutic alliance. The therapeutic alliance is defined as the relationship between the therapist and the client.

In What Works for Whom? A Critical Review of Psychotherapy Research, Anthony Roth and Peter Fonagy noted that the link between expectancy and outcome is mediated through the therapeutic alliance.

This means that as a client, your expectations of therapy play an important role in your outcomes. Even the simple act of making an appointment and meeting the therapist for the first time can improve your outlook.

Therapists should react in such a way that affirms and supports your needs. This alliance requires effort from both the therapist and client to achieve the goal that you are looking for, to leave better than when you first came.

Therapy is not something you should see yourself doing indefinitely and neither should the therapist.

Ultimately, therapy is nothing anyone should be ashamed of. The demand for therapy is growing and as a result, more affordable resources are being provided for people, such as the Counseling And Psychological Services on campus.

The new perspectives that therapy offers can give us valuable insight into approaching our lives in a positive and productive way.

If you want to be better at something, that usually requires asking someone for help. So why wouldn’t we treat our mental health the same way?

@weare_marshall_

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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