If you’ve been struggling with a mental illness, you’ve probably had people suggest you see a therapist. But it can be difficult when you start out to really know how, or if, therapy can help. Working with a therapist or psychologist for regular psychotherapy (or “talk therapy”) sessions can provide you with a great number of benefits in your everyday life. Along with therapy, owning an emotional support animal (ESA) can also work to alleviate some of your mental health symptoms. So, here are seven reasons you should get into therapy, plus some information on how to get an ESA therapy dog.
With the help of therapy, you can…
1. Get practical tools and resources to help deal with your symptoms
Dealing with a variety of mental health symptoms can be overwhelming. That’s why it can be so beneficial for a therapist to provide you with specific tools and resources to help you better manage your symptoms. This can include things like learning dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) skills that can give you specific steps to take when you’re in the middle of a panic attack or are struggling with depressive symptoms. Your therapist might even have suggestions about different ways you can frame stressful situations or ways you can talk to yourself to better support inner harmony.
2. Learn coping strategies for when your symptoms are active
Part of gaining more resources is learning specific coping strategies for when you’re struggling the most. Your therapist can help you come up with effective techniques to combat anxious thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and so on in a way that makes you feel more in control of your symptoms. Having healthy coping strategies in place also means you’re less likely to engage in harmful or unhelpful behaviors.
3. Find a connection with someone who listens without judgment
One of the best parts about working with a therapist is that you know you have someone who’s just there to listen to you (no matter how sad or anxious you’re feeling). This can be very validating for people, especially because it’s the therapist’s job to listen without judgment or criticism. Being able to connect with a supportive person can make you feel less isolated and alone in your mental health battle.
4. Talk through issues that you’re facing at work, with family, in relationships, etc.
Everyone faces difficulties in their daily lives, whether it’s a stressful situation at work or problems in a relationship with a family member, friend, or partner. Having a therapist talk through these issues with you and help you come up with manageable solutions can be really beneficial in many areas of your life.
5. Help improve your listening and communication skills
People with mental health issues often find it difficult to effectively communicate with others or to be good listeners to their friends and family. A therapist can help you develop better communication skills so that you’re more equipped to talk through issues with people and so that you are more capable of reaching out for help when you need it.
6. Learn how to avoid unhealthy patterns and try new behaviors instead
It can be invaluable to have an unbiased person to help you examine patterns in your life. A therapist can assist you in looking at any unhealthy patterns you might have developed over the years (such as engaging in toxic relationships, using negative coping habits, etc.) and assist you in replacing them with new behaviors that will better suit your life and your personal goals.
7. Work on increasing self-esteem and confidence
Along with alleviating your mental health symptoms, therapy can also be a great way to work on ways of increasing your self-esteem and confidence so that you feel more capable of taking on challenges in your life. This increased self-worth can also make it easier for you to tackle your mental health as a whole and to push you to achieve any personal goals you have.
Can ESAs help in therapy?
The answer is yes. If you get a therapy dog, you can incorporate your relationship with your ESA into your healing work. Having a constant companion that provides you with support can dovetail with the work you’re doing in your therapy sessions. Your ESA also might make going to therapy easier, since you’ll have your support animal right by your side while you talk about challenging topics. Because ESAs can be grounding presences, you won’t have to worry about feeling unsafe or scared while discussing traumatic memories. Just having an ESA with you can make therapy, in general, feel less intimidating.
What types of ailments can emotional support animal therapy be used for?
ESA therapy can work for a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others. ESAs can be used anytime you have emotional symptoms that interfere with your day-to-day life and that could be alleviated with the use of a calming animal.
How can you get an ESA card?
In order to get an ESA certification card, you need a letter from a mental health professional that can attest to your need for an ESA. Once you start seeing a therapist, you can have them write a letter for you. If you’re not quite ready to start therapy and don’t have a professional who can help, you can always use the services of MooshMe. They can connect you virtually with a licensed professional in your state who you can consult with to help you get an ESA certification. Along with going to therapy, your ESA can also travel with you on an airplane and guarantee that you won’t be discriminated against when you’re looking for housing. Having your ESA with you for support can make any environment less stressful and overwhelming for you.
So, wonder no more if therapy can help you with your mental health. Engaging in regular therapy sessions can alleviate many of your mental health symptoms, as well as aid you in feeling like a healthier, happier, more well-rounded you.