Longterm Counseling Treatment
Therapy and counseling are things that have crossed paths with my life, on and off for the past 15 years.With each session, that goes by, and when improvement and better mental health begin to grow from it, I always seem to reach points where, the idea comes up that maybe, I am now well enough to move forward, and leave the world of psychotherapy. Not necessarily an idea from me, but instead it often is generated by the provider.
While counseling may not truly heal a mental health diagnosis, it does however provide a gateway to tools, and techniques, which assist us, in dealing with our problems, in ways we may not have used to know about. As time goes on, medications, therapy, and tools change, and improvements today, may not be enough, to deal with tomorrow. Treatment evolves, so should we.
I have been a patient and client, at every level of care, from many types of providers and services. I have been to the very best, cadillac quality mental health treatment. All the way down to the gritty, dirty, and bottom of the barrel providers; like a jail, or living in a renovated silk factory in the hood of Paterson, New Jersey, USA. The philosophies have varied greatly, about the subject of counseling, being finished, completed, or as some claim, “no longer needed.”
I’ve actually found it to be a blessing, that I have had to experience this wide and vast variety of treatment. I have learned many valuable lessons, whether I am a patient at a place that is more liberal, spiritual, and holistic, or if I am at a place, that’s so rigid and strict, that I have to do a double take, to make sure I am not in an undercover probation office.
Each provider of treatment, teaches lessons, and offers experiences, that help the future decisions I am able to make, as I continue to heal and look out for my ongoing health in general.
Learning what doesn’t work, is important, as knowing what works.
When faced with the questions and thoughts about the future of my life in counseling, I really think that it’s important to be mindful of the fact, that the reason I may be doing well for long periods of time, is reflective and may be a direct effect of the quality of the counselor, and the work I am willing to put in. While we do heal, as treatment goes on, healing, doesn’t mean cured. There are basics, and foundation points that we must learn, before getting any distance in sobriety or anxiety in remission. But once we get through that part of the education, and the journey, there are always future chapters, that we will have to turn the page to.
If many of us might have to take mental health medications for a long time, or even forever, wouldn’t that be the same when it comes to the psychotherapy side of the equation. Dealing with these type of medical conditions, can only excel best, when they are treated with methods that work from both an acute, as well as a chronic process.
While we most likely will never be able to be in inpatient, or intensive outpatient treatment indefinitely, I do feel that if we reach a point of strong success with our treatment, or even reaching full peak, it can be a risky move to walk away from all aspects of mental healthcare (or simply rely on medications) at that time.
The tools needed to master these kind of conditions, grow, and evolve as time goes on. When it comes to diseases like addiction, we learn the obvious at the very early stages. Things like we cannot control our addictive behaviours. But not too many people have conquered substance abuse by simply realizing that we can’t keep using drugs anymore. The long journey only begins at that learning point. The real work and difficulty, doesn’t even begin, until we are physically detoxed from a substance.
Changing behaviours, is not something that we learn, once and then we’re done. Learning new behaviours, and new methods of coping, is best processed, when we approach these problems from multiple sides. I am a huge believer in mental health medications. While there are endless negative views and stigma about these type of drugs, the statistics themselves, prove their worth, as years go by, and studies continue. However, a great way to up those stats even further, is to utilize techniques like weekly, or monthly counseling, because it just adds tools to our toolboxes that may at any moment, be crucial, when moments are difficult. It’s the best free education, that we can possibly give ourselves.
This is the type of debate, that doesn’t necessarily have a wrong or right answer. To say that it is a case by case basis would be a massive understatement. I do have a strong opinion to support the idea of some type of long term model, when it comes to mental health counseling and therapy. To each their own, because I am sure that plenty of people do just fine, after just one solid bout of treatment, and therapy and psychiatric treatment. Like many other things, this is quite an individualized topic. I just know that for me, I would had never stayed sober, and remained mentally stable, if it wasn’t for treatment like long term therapy, and maintenance work on my mental wellness.