Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You Don't Have to be Sick to Talk to Psychologist

For some reason we have equated talking to a psychologist with a medical visit. We think that there has to be a problem for the doctor to fix to make it worthwhile to visit a psychologist. Where did this idea come from?  Why do we have to be in emotional pain or completely overwhelmed before we decide to talk to someone?  And when did all of this become a medical specialty?
Talking to a psychologist helps

There are lots of studies that document the effectiveness of psychotherapy for all sorts of issues including smoking cessation, anxiety, career burnout, depression, and many more.  I wrote about some of this evidence in my posting Does Therapy Really Work?  Furthermore, we know that talking to a psychologist can head off problems before they get too big to manage. For example businesses utilize psychologists to maximize efficiency and worker satisfaction. Sports teams consult with psychologists in making staffing decisions and helping players maintain peak performance. There are fascinating and useful studies on the prevention of stress and burnout in the workplace. Physicians and nurses have been helped in avoiding what is called "compassion fatigue" brought on by the demands of caring for the sick. 
Achieving our best
Psychologists can help you live more a productive and satisfying life. We don't need to be in pain in order to reach out for these services nor do we need a diagnosis in order to begin living our lives more fully. By talking in a safe and facilitating environment with a well-trained psychologist you can begin to explore all those areas that may be strengths and also some of the neglected corners.  By discovering more about yourself you can allow your natural capacity for adaptation to do its best.  Think of it as a tune up or an attitude check.  That's what top athletes and professionals do.  We can't always be at the top of our game and sometimes the ways in which we cope actually get in the way of our natural resilience.
Just Talking
My job as a therapist is to help you to talk.  It's not that hard really but sometimes knowing how to ask some of the right questions and listen for the blocks can really help you to explore your thoughts and feelings.  If you are interested in going a bit deeper we can try Therapeutic Assessment, a collaborative technique using psychological testing to answer questions you may have about yourself.  I wrote about that here.
So lets just agree that you don't have to wait to have a cold to start working on your immune system.  Give me a call if you are interested in learning about boosting your resilience or knowing more about yourself.

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