I believe in the power of prayer; I believe in the mighty and miracle working power of God and I believe that there will never be a season, difficulty or situation that the Lord can’t resolve. He continues to be all powerful in His ways and His works. Last week’s article “Shatter the Silence” touched and encouraged me so much more than I could have imagined. Persons reached out and shared their own struggles and we affectionately exchanged our valleys and triumphs. Comingled into the high of camaraderie, was a ruminant proposal from a reader to pen a follow up article. This piece it was suggested, should go one step further than sharing our struggles - or even worse, suffering in silence – but should encourage persons to reach out and seek help. I couldn’t agree more!
I have faced circumstances where I needed professional help and yes, it was while I was already a believer. I remember feeling guilty for needing it, awkward for sharing with a stranger and broken for not being able to resolve it by myself, particularly when I knew that God could fix it for me. Still, those experiences taught me that God’s intervention can come in many forms and that includes the wisdom and counsel of those who were trained to heal us back to health from our traumas.
To deepen our understanding of the benefits of professional intervention in our personal struggles, Clinical Psychologist Neisha George Thomas shares from her vast experience, and answers a few vital questions about seeking professional help.
What are some important benefits of counselling/therapy?
“Seeking professional help has many benefits. In therapy persons are able to express their thoughts, feelings and any issues that may concern them. They are able to develop healthy coping strategies to help them navigate some of the challenges that they may face. A therapist can assist persons to overcome past traumatic experiences, achieve their goals, become more confident and also help to improve their relationship with others.”
What are some of the reasons why persons may hesitate to seek professional help and what are some common misconceptions about counselling/therapy?
"There are several factors that may deter persons from seeking therapy. Some persons are reluctant because of the stigma attached to therapy and mental health-related issues. In our culture many persons believe that therapy may be for persons who are ‘crazy’ and because they do not want others to view them in this manner, they prefer to attempt to deal with their mental health challenges alone or to ignore them. Another reason may be fear; it may be fear of opening up to a stranger, fear as to whether their information will be kept confidential, or persons may also be afraid of being vulnerable and sharing their deepest thoughts or traumatic experiences. Therapy reluctance may also stem from the cost of therapy and the amount of time that one needs to devote to accessing the service. Therapy can be expensive and may require persons to commit to weekly sessions."
What are some indicators to know that you may need professional intervention?
"Although therapy can be beneficial for anyone, when someone begins to have difficulty regulating their emotions, is experiencing depression, anxiety and thoughts about harming themselves, these are clear indicators that they need to seek professional help. Persons who have experienced trauma like physical, sexual or emotional abuse will need some professional intervention to help with their recovery. Those who have experienced loss, whether it is the death of a loved one or a relationship, a therapist can help with the grieving process."
Who should seek professional help and how does one know which professional to contact (counsellor, psychologist, therapist)?
"Therapy can be beneficial to everyone; it is not only for adults, as children can also benefit from therapeutic services. It can be confusing when choosing a therapist but when seeking a psychologist or counsellor, first find out if they are trained in the area that you need help. Some psychologists or counsellors specialize in marriage, working with children, depression/anxiety, grief etc. It is also important that you feel comfortable with your therapist/counsellor because therapy is only effective if you trust and are willing to open up and discuss your thoughts or feelings with your therapist.
So who do you choose, a counsellor or psychologist? The term counsellor or psychologist or therapist may be used interchangeably since they all perform similar duties of helping persons live better lives, but the difference lies in their educational background, area of focus, area of specialization or the setting in which they work. Psychologists conduct psychological assessments and administer and interpret psychological tests in addition to providing talk therapy. A counsellor provides talk therapy but may not be able to diagnose or assess mental health disorders. So when choosing a counsellor or psychologist, select the one which is more suited to your counselling needs. It’s okay to ask questions before you engage in a therapeutic relationship. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.”
I thank God that He has unshackled me from a one-dimensional experience of His grace and showed me that He can show up in any place, in any form and at any time. The miracle for the woman with the issue of blood, the cleansing of the ten lepers on their way to the priests and the healing of the centurion’s servant without Jesus’s words or presence, are only three of the innumerable ways that He can show up. Remember the way God confused the Philistine army and caused them to fight among themselves and remember how He turned the Nile of Egypt into blood, all in defence of the Israelites?
We should never limit God and we certainly should expect Him to deliver us from our difficulties. God wants us healed, whole and hopeful, and we must be open to receive that wholeness in whichever way He in His omniscience and wisdom determines, and that includes seeking help.
Touched by the call to shatter the silence, two loyal readers will share their experience with seeking professional help in their most trying times, in a subsequent article. So stay tuned!
Neisha George Thomas is a Clinical Child Psychologist. She has worked with children and families for over 10 years. She is the founder of Mind Your Mind 365 Mental Health & Wellness Centre where she specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults and their families with a range of socio-emotional, behavioral and developmental problems. She has worked in a range of clinical settings such as schools, child mental health clinics and the Children’s Authority. She is passionate about promoting mental wellness and aspires to inspire and motivate individuals to reach their highest potential. Contact her a 1(868)-780-6958 or email@example.com.
Follow her on IG: mindyourmind365 and Fb: Neisha George Thomas
We extend heartfelt thanks to Neisha for her insightful contribution to today's article. Thank you so very very much!