Do I really need therapy? Am I “crazy?”

Behavioral Healthcare Corporation helps you find answers.

If you’ve ever wondered about that you’ve come to the right place.

Here are some common questions, along with our answers:

Am I "crazy?"

Many clinicians (people who do psychotherapy and counseling) are offended by this word – even though it is used so often. What people usually want to know when they ask this question is if there is something “wrong with them;” if they’re “abnormal” (another word clinicians don’t like!)

If you’re asking the question, chances are good that you are NOT “crazy” and probably not “abnormal.” IF there was a definition for “crazy” it might refer to someone who is out of touch with reality, unaware or uncaring about the effects of their behavior on others, or unconscious of the consequences of their actions to themselves or others. 

How can I tell if therapy will help me?

Unfortunately there is no way to guarantee that therapy will help you. But here are some components that often lead to a positive outcome:

  1. Being able to develop a trusting relationship with the therapist
  2. Creating a partnership and collaboration in working toward goals
  3. The ability to function independently (you don’t need hospitalization)
  4. Feeling uncomfortable enough to be motivated toward change
  5. Having a clear recovery plan
  6. A history of positive relationships with others, along with good social skills
  7. Insight into how your personal behavior might contribute to the challenges you face
  8. The willingness to modify those behaviors 

How do I know if I'm depressed?

Depression is a “whole body” illness. Common symptoms include physical changes like having no energy; sleeping all the time, or not being able to sleep; eating more, or eating less; lack of interest in sex and other normally enjoyed activities; crying spells; and feeling sad or blue most of the day, almost every day.

Depression can also include having sad and discouraging thoughts, such as thinking “Things will never change.” “I don’t do anything right.” “Nothing ever works out for me.” Most of us have thoughts like that occasionally. Depression is when those thoughts occur often and with few positive thoughts to balance them.

You might not have all of those symptoms, yet you could still have depression. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an evaluation with a mental health professional who is skilled at determining if you are struggling with depression or something else. If you do have depression the good news is that there are many effective treatments!  The psychotherapists at Behavioral Healthcare Corporation can help you find the path that will be most meaningful to help you feel better and restore your mental health.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Just about all of us (40,000,000 Americans every year!) feel anxious at times. Usually it is situational and when the situation (like speaking in public) is over the anxiety goes away. Symptoms might include any of the following:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • An inability to be still and calm
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

When the anxiety doesn’t go away after the situation resolves, or if you find yourself avoiding situations in order to avoid the anxiety. it might be time to talk with a psychotherapist. There are very effective ways to deal with anxiety to help you start to feel better and resume your normal routine and activities you enjoy. 

How do I know if I really need therapy?

When what you are experiencing interferes with your ability to enjoy life, accomplish the things you want and need to do, or enjoy satisfying relationships with people you care about, it might be a good time to consider therapy as a way to address those issues. A good place to start would be a phone call to Behavioral Healthcare Corporation (717.399.8288). Our psychotherapists can help you decide what’s best for you.

I think I'm okay ... but I think a family member needs help. What should I do?

First, it’s important to understand the warning signs of serious mental illness. Mental Health America has some excellent information on warning signs and steps to take.

Second, it’s important to realize that if they do have a mental illness it is not their “fault.”  And they can’t simply “snap out of it.”  (It’s not your fault, either, and you can’t “fix” it.)  Mental illness is a medical condition that we cannot just wish away or work harder to get rid of.  It requires treatment, which the person suffering with the mental illness must decide to pursue.

That being said, there are a couple of other things to keep in mind.  Mental illness can come from physical conditions as well as traumatic experiences or a combination of both.  There are some ways you can provide support: 

  1. Encourage them to get help.  An evaluation with a psychotherapist will help give a name to what they struggle with, and help identify a course of action to move toward wellness.
  2. Provide emotional support.  A couple of good ways to do that are to simply “be” with them, without trying to make them feel better. Sometimes silence truly is golden! Another way is to let them know you care.  Not “I know how you feel” (because they’ll immediately think you don’t and, really, you don’t).  Rather, “I’m so sorry you are going through this right now.”  Depending on the relationship you might also reassure them that you’ll “get through this together.”
  3. Encourage them to follow the treatment plan they’ve identified with their psychotherapist or physician, including taking medication as prescribed.  Medication isn’t a quick fix, but it often enables them to deal with the issues they face.  A psychiatrist is best suited to make that decision. 

For information about warning signs of someone thinking about committing suicide please visit our Suicide Prevention page.

 

What do you mean by "mental health?"

First, let’s consider what mental health is NOT! Mental health is NOT the absence of problems, stress, discouragement, anger or sadness.  (Or any other emotions we don’t enjoy!)  Rather mental health is the ability to to be flexible and resilient in the face of the problems, stress, discouragement, anger or sadness that greets all of us at some point in the course of our lives.

Mental health is having healthy and effective coping mechanisms to deal with challenges, which also includes having healthy, satisfying relationships with others. 

What is "mental illness?"

Let’s first consider what mental illness is not! Mental illness is NOT a weakness, failure, character flaw, something you can talk yourself out of – or somebody else’s fault. Mental illness is often a biologically based problem in your brain. It could also be related to a life experience such as a trauma or the environment you grew up in.

Whatever the source is, mental illness can interfere with your ability to think, reason, relate to others or deal with the challenges of life.  It is commonly considered that if you have a predisposition to mental illness (biology) and are raised by parents who lack tools of effective parenting (experience) you are more likely to experience mental illness.

Some of the major categories of mental illness include thought disorders (like schizophrenia), mood disorders (like depression or bipolar disorder) and anxiety disorders (like generalized anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder).

One more thing that mental illness is: TREATABLE.  The majority of people who seek help for mental illness recover. The fact that you are reading this page suggests you are more likely to be one of them because recovery starts with getting information and seeking help

What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a psychotherapist, a counselor and a social worker? And how do I know what I need?

We think you’ll find some answers on our Outpatient Psychotherapy Clinic page!

What is therapy really like?

Therapy can feel scary, embarrassing, intrusive, challenging, anxious, sad and fearful (along with many other uncomfortable feelings!).

At the same time it can also feel supportive, enlightening, encouraging, satisfying, inspiring and growing. Therapy might be the hardest thing you ever experience in your life. But if the end result is better health it can also be the most satisfying.

What should I look for in a therapist?

First and foremost, you should look for somebody that you feel comfortable with, someone that you can trust enough to be honest with.

Where do you start?  You might start by asking friends or family if they can recommend somebody. (In today’s world, you’ll probably have to check with your insurance company to see if the recommended person is a “preferred provider.”  But, if they’re not, be sure to check what our non-reimbursed rate is because it might not be that much different from your co-pay!)

You want to find out the person’s educational background and credentials to make sure they know what they’re doing.  But, since a credential doesn’t necessarily mean someone is effective, it’s also a good idea to have an initial phone conversation with them, or schedule an initial meeting, to get an idea of what therapy with them entails.  You want to be sure it makes sense to you.  

At Behavioral Healthcare Corporation, all of our therapists are masters level or licensed therapists who are under the supervision of the Director of Psychotherapy Services.  Behavioral Healthcare Corporation also operates using a team approach.  With the team approach difficult or challenging situations are presented to the team for additional input and suggestions regarding treatment.  Those are some ways we can be confident we are providing our clients with what they need.

And these are some of the ways you can be sure to get our best care.

Will I have to take medicine?

Medicine may also be an important part of your mental health recovery.  And, if it is recommended, it is still up to you to decide whether the benefits outweigh any potential side effects.

That is a good conversation to have with your therapist and psychiatrist or primary care physician.