Is it time to talk?
Everybody talks but engaging in conversation can go a long way for your mental health. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, nearly 20% of adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness. This includes a variety of conditions including anxiety and depression. Beyond that, many adults and children deal with everyday stresses that can take a toll on their overall mental well-being.
No matter your struggles, you’re not alone and seeking care could be helpful. Talk therapy, otherwise known as psychotherapy, is a beneficial tool to work through anything causing you trouble.
“Talk therapy provides a safe place for neutral feedback absent of judgment. It can provide different perspectives and ways to look at situations,” says Laura Gertz, a psychotherapist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Franklin, WI.
Talk therapy involves meeting with a licensed clinician in sessions of 45-50 minutes. Sessions can include education about symptoms and disorders, learning and practicing skills (such as relaxation exercises, communication skills), and supportive listening.
“It works because of the relationship built. You learn to trust and be vulnerable with someone, opening up about all areas of life,” says Gertz.
A key element to talk therapy is that an individual enters with an open mind and ready to participate in a two-way conversation focused on specific goals and challenges they’re facing. Gertz says talk therapy can help people identify and hone skills to use in everyday situations.
“A therapist can provide tools and strategies. It’s up to the client to apply those tools and strategies outside of therapy, much like physical therapy and the assigned exercises,” she says.
Sometimes a person may need more than talk therapy, but sessions can help identify what else someone needs like medication or other forms of therapy. Gertz says there are so many tools that can help an individual focus on and improve their mental health.
Ultimately, she says therapists are there for you, are ready to listen and want to make sure you’re getting what you need out of each session.
“If you disagree with the therapist or don’t feel like you are being heard, speak up for what you need from your therapist. Clinicians are here to serve you and your needs, and you ultimately are the expert on you. We as clinicians rely on you being the expert on you to find the appropriate solutions to your concerns,” Gertz says.
About the Author
LeeAnn Betz, health enews contributor, is a media relations manager for Advocate Aurora Health. She is a former TV news executive producer with a background in investigations, consumer news and in-depth storytelling. Outside of work, she enjoys CrossFit, baking, finding a good cup of coffee and being a mom.