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Why Should Individuals Seek Therapy?

Alexander Boston, Journalism Student

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Adolescents often struggle with a variety of problems, whether it be navigating peer relationships, failing in school, abusing drugs and alcohol, or suffering with depression and anxiety. Some people may just want to resolve their issues, but another alternative may be to get some help. So, why should someone go to therapy?Adolescents often struggle with a variety of problems, whether it be navigating peer relationships, failing in school, abusing drugs and alcohol, or suffering with depression and anxiety. Some people may just want to resolve their issues, but another alternative may be to get some help. So, why should someone go to therapy?

Jennifer Theriault, who has a degree in social work and works as a psychotherapist specializes in treating anxiety, depression and improving peer relationships. When dealing with  of these issues, she starts by brainstorming solutions before addressing the causes. “Most of the time the first thing to do when a person is anxious is to find some strategies to calm down. After the client and I figure out some strategies to minimize the immediate anxiety, we can then start to explore where the anxiety is coming from,” she said.

Depression is another problem that therapists deal with across all groups, including adolescents; however, in the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression in teens has increased by almost thirty percent since the year 2000.

“With people that are depressed,” Theriault reflected, “I really try to get them comfortable talking about their feelings and make them feel comfortable talking about things in their life that might be causing the depression.”

Theriault thinks that a great time to engage in a therapeutic relationship is adolescence. During puberty, teenagers change physically and emotionally as they attempt to form an identity and experiment with new behaviors and roles. Therapy helps adolescents cope with the volatility they face.

“It is important because adolescents are learning about themselves and how to learn to be independent and separate from their parents. They are also learning about the different emotions and feelings they get when going through adolescence into adulthood, and it is best during this time to have someone navigate you through it,” she articulated.

Although advocating for therapy and its benefits, Theriault believes that individuals can get some of what they need from the other people in their lives, including trusted friends, parents, mentors, and teachers.

“The truth is that you can get the help that you need personally from your parents, or from your friends, or your siblings. However, it is important to understand that your parents will have other motives.  This is true from everyone so that is why people should look more into therapy because it is the therapist’s job to not let anyone hold us back. We should not let our personal lives get in the way of talking to our patients, which is what makes therapy unique,” she said.

Dr. Stacey Ullman PhD, another therapist in Fairfield County, agrees. “People confide more with therapists than they might with other people because of doctor-patient confidentiality so they feel more comfortable disclosing information that they would rather not talk about with anyone else.”

Ullman also believes that it is important to recognize that not all cases are alike. Although two people might be suffering from anxiety, or depression, the therapist has to use a variety of strategies to figure out the best way to connect to each patient.

“When I was first learning to be a psychologist, I thought because two people have the same issues you should address them the same. However this is not the right thing to do…cases are like snowflakes: no two are alike,” she said.

Both  therapists would like to emphasize that even those that have their doubts, or concerns about therapy should pursue it. It can often be the most useful experience in helping anyone develop new strategies and analyze why it is they are suffering, or struggling. And if anyone is struggling there are certain places you can go or call to get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, or you could call 1-800-784-2433 which is the Kristin Brooks Hope Center Hopeline specializing in managing and understanding depression.

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Why Should Individuals Seek Therapy?