Category Archives: Therapy

Removing The Stigma

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Removing the Stigma


            The stigma that society has associated with mental health disorders is slowly fading. However, even with this progress those who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are embarrassed to share this part of themselves with others. I know from experience, as I am one of them. I believe that by talking about mental health issues and showing that we, those who live with mental illnesses, can lead healthy and functional lives regardless of our diseases, the stigma can be removed.

The common image that pops into most people’s heads when they think of a person with depression is someone who cannot function in their day-to-day life; someone who spends nights crying, no longer cares about their appearance, withdraws from their friends and family, and is unable to find pleasure in anything that most people find enjoyable. But in reality, many people with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses blend right into society. They go to work, school, and receive promotions and awards. They hang out with their friends, go to concerts and movies, and can even be spotted laughing and smiling. More often than not, these are the people who have received help regardless of the negative attitudes towards their disorders. This is what the norm needs to be

Going to therapy and being on antidepressants or other medication should not be viewed as negative things. In fact, they should be seen as the exact opposite and celebrated! These are steps to becoming healthier, regaining control, and getting back on track to live a normal and sane life. Asking for, receiving, and accepting help is one of the hardest things we have to do as human beings, especially for those of us who struggle with our mental health. It shows incredible strength when an individual does so and it should be acknowledged and praised! It doesn’t call for judgment or being labeled as weak or losing control.

If you feel as though you’re suffering alone, try to remember that you’re the farthest thing from it. There are support groups both in person and online. Let yourself take steps to recovery and understand that healing and becoming happy again takes time. Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders are not a death sentences or tunnels with no light at the end. They are diseases that can either take control over your life or not, but that is up to you.

So, my message to those to suffer is to get help in any capacity you can and are confortable with. It will take time and it will be hard but you are strong for making it this far. My message to those who do not suffer is to educate yourself and others about the issue and try to raise awareness. Stop joking about depression, bipolar disorder, and cutting. Make small changes one day at a time. Do your part to remove the stigma.

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Why the Therapist Path?


Throughout the past two years, since applying to college and my first year, I have received the questions “Why do you want to become a therapist so badly? And how can you be so sure it’s the right path for you?” My first response to this is that I do not know for sure that this will be the right path for me forever, but it is the right path for me right now. Right now, I know this is the path for me simply because I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. Business, sales, law, medicine, fashion, journalism – all of these things are important in our society and some in my own life, but I do not feel as passionately about any of these as I do about helping others through the form of therapy.

I love to listen. I love to talk. I love to listen and talk with others about what is going on in their lives because I am genuinely interested (for the most part; if I’m not interested, I won’t ask). Therapy should be a conversation and collaboration between the client and the therapist. It should not be the therapist instructing and putting him or herself above the client, that is beyond unproductive. I want my clients to know and understand that I am not coming from a “high and mighty” approach. I am their ally and advocate in the therapeutic process.

There are a multitude of reasons that I want to become a helper, some that I can post publicly and some that I would rather not share on the internet. I want to help others – in short. I have a been through a lot and want to prevent others from suffering as I have – in short. I have a lot of experiences to draw from – in short. I know that there are many other ways to help people – volunteering, becoming a teacher, etc. But based on what I have both seen and experienced family values, interaction and dynamic-wise makes me really care about and want to help families and family members improve their lives, interactions, and relationships between family members. Family is forever. Family is permanent. We all only have one biological family. We can create family-like systems and have non-biologically related brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, etc. – but that does not change where we come from and our family of origin. Those people are always a part of our lives, whether they are active in it or not and whether we want them to be or not.

I am confident that at this point in my life, although I am young and have not yet finished my undergraduate career, the therapeutic and helping career is the path for me. Who knows if that will change at some point in my life because it might. But right now, this is the way the wind is blowing me.

Ambiguous Loss, what is that?

Ambiguous Loss, what is that?

What is ambiguous loss?

     Dr. Pauline Boss of the University of Minnesota’s Family Social Science department (my University and major) has had groundbreaking research of this theory. Ambiguous loss is loss that has no closure or certainty/finality. An example (although definitely not the only type of ambiguous loss) might be when a parent begins to suffer from dementia and is no longer psychologically present, but lives for 10+ more years. Children/friends of these people often experience ambiguous loss because of the lack of closure and the physical or (no and) psychological presence. The loss of a parent, friend, or any type of relationship can result in ambiguous loss. While grieving is a process in all loss, it is a long process when experiencing ambiguous loss – one must also learn to live with the ambiguity, which can go on for years. 

Ambiguous loss is a complicated concept because it is something that not many people understand unless you are experiencing it. It’s a unique kind of loss that varies from case-to-case. 

I am just learning about ambiguous loss thank you to my own (new) therapist. It’s fascinating and really an important concept for people to understand. 

Expert on Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Struggle

Expert on Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Struggle


Many therapists, especially rising ones (such as myself), have had their own traumatizing and intense experiences with mental health issues. Dr. Marsha M. Linehan is a perfect example of this – she is providing exceptional help that she was unable to receive during her lowest period. The fact that she has “come out” as someone who struggled (and very severely at that), is helping to remove the stigma that those who have mental health disorders/issues/illnesses/diseases are unable to live normal lives; finding happiness, success, love, having a family, etc. – It’s more than possible.

In my humble opinion, therapists and psychologists who have had their own troubles have more to pull from and are able to empathize on a deeper level with their clients. In fact, part of the reason that I am studying to become a Marriage/Couple and Family therapist is just that. When in therapy, one needs someone who is able to understand what they are feeling and empathize greatly, thus helping them process feelings and decisions – that’s what I needed. I want to provide for others what I need(ed) and have begun to receive. 

But a client does not want to feel as though they are being judged by their therapist – or feel as if their therapist is perfect; has not struggled, made mistakes, and/or felt pain or loss. In order for a client to really make breakthroughs and have insightful moments, one must feel able to become vulnerable with their therapist/counselor. More often than not, it is difficult for us to become vulnerable with those that we feel are “perfect” and appear to have no problems. That is not just within a client/therapist relationship, that’s the way it is in every day life and relationships.

In short – I love this article, regardless of the fact that it is two years old (tomorrow!). Psychologists and therapists like Dr. Marsha M. Linehan are helping to remove the stigmas of mental health and helping create a safer and more comfortable world for all.