The stigma surrounding mental healthcare is finally beginning to subside, with more people than ever before discovering the benefits of working with a therapist or taking medication for mental illness. Most people no longer feel the need to hide the fact that they are seeing a therapist, which further normalises the practice and makes it easier for everyone to invest in their mental health.
If you’ve been considering therapy with a skilled psychologist yourself, then you might be wondering: what makes someone a good candidate for psychotherapy? Well, there are many different reasons that a person might want to talk with a therapist— and they’re all valid.
Mental health disorders
The most obvious thing that might make someone a good candidate for psychotherapy is if they are living with a mental health disorder. Schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder are just a few of the mental health conditions that psychotherapy can help with, alongside medication in many cases. Anxiety and depression, whether they are clinically diagnosed or not, can also be a reason for people to seek therapy.
Psychotherapy can help people with mental health disorders develop coping mechanisms and ways of dealing with everyday challenges to help them improve their lives.
Trauma and PTSD
Trauma is more common than many people realise, and healing can be a lifelong journey. Some people also develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can affect daily life and a person’s ability to engage in everyday activities. Working with a therapist can help people work on their trauma responses and process what they’ve been through.
We all have relationships in our lives, and sometimes, those relationships have their challenges. A therapist can work with individuals, families, or couples to help them work through difficulties and build stronger relationships. Some people see a therapist for specific relationship issues or simply to understand one another better.
When a person loses a loved one, especially if the loss is unexpected, they can go through a range of emotions that affect them for months or even years afterward. A therapist can help people process and fully feel their grief so that they can move forward and improve their well-being, despite a devastating loss.
Substance abuse can be a persistent issue that pops up for people time and time again. One major part of the recovery process is generally working with a therapist to work on thought patterns and strategies for avoiding relapse.
Life transitions and general mental wellness
Many people who are going through a major life change can benefit from working with a therapist. Sometimes, just having someone available to listen and give advice can be a game-changer for people during stressful life events.
Some people also go to therapy for general mental wellness and self-exploration. They might not have specific reasons for seeing a therapist, but they understand the potential benefits of doing so.
Who can benefit from therapy?
A good candidate for psychotherapy can be someone who needs help for any of the reasons above, and more. Struggling with daily life, fears, anxieties, and other problems can affect someone’s quality of life significantly, and therapy can often help.
The most important requirement for being a good therapy candidate is that the person is open to change. Those who go to a therapist because they are forced to do so rarely get much out of their sessions. A person who is ready and willing to make changes in their thought patterns, behavior, and outlook will get the most out of therapy.
Finding the right fit
Just about anyone who wants to make a change but is struggling to do so on their own can benefit from therapy. However, finding the right therapist can be a challenge. Therapists have different specialisations, educational backgrounds, and even different degrees. It’s also important to find a therapist you can trust, someone you can connect with and feel comfortable working with.
There are lots of online tools for finding therapists who are accepting new patients. You can filter by all kinds of things, including the insurance they accept, their areas of expertise, and their availability. Because therapists are very busy, you might have to be persistent in contacting those who might be a good fit.
And if you do start working with someone and find that it’s not a good fit after all? Don’t settle – work on finding a therapist who will help you reach your full potential.
People seek therapy for all kinds of reasons, but one thing is clear: finding the right fit can make all the difference and help someone make great strides in improving their mental health.
Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.