Mental Illness Awareness – Therapy

Katherine Portillo, Photographer

Dealing with mental health is different for everyone. Once diagnosed with a disorder, a very common option to help offer support to the person may be therapy. In 2021, we started to shy away from the overall stigma of suffering from a mental health illness. However, we still see therapy having bad connotations connected to it. Some people describe therapy as a way to show your weakness others feel this is a way of empowerment.


Types of therapy include Cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy, Psychodynamic therapy, art therapy, and psycho-education. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (better known as CBT) is a way of practicing healthier thoughts and turning negative thoughts into more rational scenarios. Interpersonal therapy is the practice of how to keep all personal relationships healthy and happy. Family therapy is a way of helping families develop a healthy way of communicating their thoughts and feelings. Psychodynamic therapy is the study of how your unconscious actions affect your emotions. Art therapy is a strategy of using art (painting drawing, dancing etc.) to express your emotions when not able to communicate them. Lastly, psycho-education is a way of educating others on the topic of mental health.


The most important thing when in therapy is that you are comfortable with your therapist. Once you are comfortable, you can start to build a foundation of trust with this person. The decision to begin therapy may be difficult as you will be putting yourself into a vulnerable state. Being vulnerable can be great, it shows empowerment and is the start to a better state of mind. Therapy is ideal for someone that needs help sorting out their feelings. 


Coping mechanism is the most common strategy taught in therapy it is a way of finding habits that calm you down, to be used when triggered. This can help organize your thoughts and feelings into a more practical sense to help assist you off a ledge. Some of the most common coping skills are journaling, talking to a loved one, and practicing religion. 


If you know someone who is currently seeing a psychologist, there are many things you can do to show compassion. Firstly, acknowledging your support to them, by doing this, you can encourage the person to keep attending therapy. Next, asking them what you can do to make them feel more comfortable. This shows you truly care about them and want them to feel comfortable around you. Lastly, you can ask them to tell you what triggers them. By doing this, you can prepare yourself on how to help out the person when they are not feeling well and need a bit of assistance.


Therapy is not something to be ashamed of. Seeing a psychologist can be beneficial if you are going through a rough time. Always remember, your mental health matters as much as your physical health does.