- Deborah Scarborough
What are the benefits of Individual Counseling?
The benefits of individual counseling go far beyond privacy or one on one attention. Rather, unlike group, family or couples therapy, individual counseling focuses solely on you, allowing your counselor and yourself, to get a deeper understanding of the issues and perspective you have which are troubling. Individual counseling benefits initially include:
Personalized therapy to suit your needs
One on one attention
Discover healthy coping mechanisms
Improve relationships with loved ones
Take control of your own life
Move at your own pace
Have high confidentiality
As you continue in therapy, you will find more personalized benefits from individual counseling. Are there specific issues which benefit from Individual Counseling? Seeking individual counseling can help when you are dealing with a crisis, understanding, and managing a substance use issue, or have had an extended period of depression or anxiety. Individual counseling can also help if you have a major life transition, complicated family dynamics or relationship issues (even if your partner or family do not want to come to therapy) or simply wanting to make changes for yourself for the better. Individual therapy can benefit you by helping you set and keep realistic goals for in many areas of your life. What goals can my therapist help me achieve?
Making positive healthy changes in your behavior or routine such as:
Improving eating sleeping and/or exercise habits
Getting out to be more active and social
Make more time for enjoyment and relaxation
Reducing use of drugs or alcohol
Reducing screen time/ technology use/ social media use
Being more productive or working towards long term goals:
Get more done in a day that you need and want to do
Improve anxiety and depression- which often reduces focus without us even realizing it
Complete tasks and manage time effectively
Research shows about 75 % of people who engage in talk therapy experience some benefit.
The benefits included in this research were:
Relief from symptoms of depression
Relief from symptoms of anxiety
Better, easier communication
Reduced perceptions of stress and/or improved stress management
Feeling more empowered
Deeper life insights
Being in therapy has been shown to benefit us through overall feelings of wellbeing, even happiness, due in large part to better communication. We feel better when we can tell “everything” to “someone.” Better yet, in counseling, that “someone” is trained to help walk you through relationship issues, parenting, and work stress- key factors shown to improve our overall perceptions of life satisfaction and happiness.
Better understanding of emotions instead of:
Repressing ignoring or pretending they are not there
Masking them, “hiding behind a smile”
Numbing them with food or substances
Avoiding them or situations that make us think of them
Distracting with TV, phones, videogames, etc.
Projecting our emotions onto others
Counselors use a variety of techniques when working with you to make lasting change. One of the best ways to participate in individual counseling is through talk therapy, using Cognitive Behavior Therapy. If you’ve been following our blog posts, you’ll remember, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, actions are all connected. Another way to explain this is sometimes called the “cognitive triangle” of Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions. Whichever way you choose to view this triangle of thinking, each corner of the triangle, effects the other, and vice versa, allowing for lots of ways to change and grow at each point.
Individual Counseling using CBT and other talk methods, will help you understand your thoughts, gain insight into how you think and open the door of possibility into how you could change some perceptions. As a result, you will communicate better, feel less desperate, feel more in control, and have a sense of empowerment. Individual therapy can also help improve parenting methods and has been shown to help improve partner relationships. You will be able to take your new communication skills, insights about yourself and your life, and your new perceptions, and move these with you as you parent and navigate your relationships, usually with great benefit. Insights are gained not just into how you think but into how your partners or coworkers think, and have techniques to share, benefitting you wholistically in the end.
Individual counseling can also benefit you by teaching valuable coping skills.
Coping skills and ‘coping questions’ are often a focus of treatment, so that your therapist and you can identify, change, and improve responses to any troubling situation – your relationship, your children, even troubling memories from your past. Your therapist may often check in to ask not just what you are feeling, but what you are thinking, and then what are you doing? In this way, you will understand not just the circumstances which are upsetting and driving your desire for therapy, but how to benefit from it as well.
What specific coping skills may benefit me?
Learning to “fill your own cup”
Finding a fun and enjoyable hobby
Keeping a schedule with hard start and stop times
Practice the opposite emotion of what you are feeling
Get better at saying no
Developing a support system
Moving your body more
Practice being present
How long will it take before I feel better? Most cognitive behavioral approaches are short term- aimed at helping to ease depressive thinking, anxiety and maladaptive patterns of coping – such as being quick to anger, using alcohol or other substances to cope, or simply sleeping and eating way too much - as soon as possible. Weekly to bi-weekly meetings with your therapist are recommended for the best outcomes. Cognitive behavioral therapy can last as few as six weeks or go about 4 months long. Another way to think of it is in terms of “sessions” or “meetings” with your therapist, which usually range between 5 to 20 sessions.
Reaching out for help when you are feeling depressed, anxious or in other ways unable to cope is covered by insurances, Medicaid, and there are some free grants and programs as well for those who lack insurance. Do not hesitate to ask for help for fear you cannot afford it.
We have experienced counselors who can help you learn to use individual therapy, Cognitive Behavioral approaches, and one on one support to help you move forward and grow. Please reach out today to start feeling better as soon as possible!