The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness, and every Tuesday on our Twitter page (@bellanaija), we will host mental health experts who will speak on everything mental health.
In the final episode of our Mental Health Awareness series, we spoke with Amanda Iheme, founder and psychotherapist for Ndidi about ‘The Importance of Therapy’.
Why is therapy necessary?
Therapy is important because as human beings, we will go through difficult times in life and we will need support with healthily coping with them. Some of us are born with neurodevelopmental disorders and need extra support to live fulfilling lives.
Why go for counselling when one can only ask friends and relatives for advice?
Because not all mental health challenges can be helped with advice. Some illnesses need careful handling of triggers, identifying unhelpful patterns, perspective-shifting as treatment and you need proper training to know how to and when to use them.
Also, your family members and friends, most times, will struggle with being objective enough to help you gain insight into yourself. Their feelings get involved in the process of trying to help you. A therapist is a neutral third party that will guide you towards your truth.
Is there a way to know if one needs the services of a therapist?
Yes, there is are. Here are some common symptoms of mental illness – excessive anger, fear or sadness, insomnia, persistent feelings of anxiety, inability to focus, withdrawal from friends and family, negative self-talk, negative outlook on life, suicidal thoughts, drug abuse
If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, you need to speak to a therapist. You can also speak to a therapist when you want to make decisions if you are struggling with building friendships, if you want to live a meaningful life, to learn to communicate or self-awareness.
Who should get therapy?
What should one expect in therapy?
Expect to be listened to, to be cared for, to laugh sometimes and to cry too. Expect to feel anxious, to learn how to communicate your emotions. Expect to learn better-coping skills, to learn to be comfortable with vulnerability and to be supported.
Are there other ways one can get help if they don’t want to discuss certain topics?
If you do not want to discuss a topic in therapy, it is fine. Tell your therapist about it. The both of you can decide on what other areas apart from that you might need help with and focus on those.
Should I talk to my friends and family about my therapy sessions?
If you trust them and you trust that your emotions are safe with them, then go ahead. When we start receiving care, some of us want the support of our loved ones but they may not always be the right people to tell. Share it with them if you feel safe enough to.
What are the benefits of therapy?
- Positive self talk
- Healthy optimism
- Better decision making skill
- Better daily functioning
- Increased productivity
- Better sleep
- Healthy friendships
- Healthy romantic relationships
- Better coping skills
How can one find/know a good therapist? What should you look out for?
A good therapist is a good listener, patient, good sense of humour, open-minded, observant, easy to talk to, honest, wants you to get better and makes the therapy space feel safe.
You can search on Google and even get recommendations on Twitter. When you find a therapist, have a short conversation with them about their work and see if you feel comfortable with them. I wrote an article that can help some more – amandaiheme.