It is part of the human condition to experience comfort and discomfort, some mood variations, and "ups" and "downs." However, at times some people ;may remain depressed or anxious for a prolonged period and not understand what is happening. An individual may have unsatisfactory or very frustrating and disappointing relationships with others. Much as this person might wish to be different, the damaging pattern repeats itself and the individual may not appreciate how to cope with such problems. Still others may have trouble assessing and changing their views of themselves and their interactions with others.
If you find yourself in such circumstances, after conferring with those you trust, you might consider having a s consultation with a mental health professional. YOU may seek a referral from people you know, from members of other helping professions (e.g., a physician, a nurse, an attorney, a member of the clergy), from professional mental health associations, or from a community mental health center or hospital.
The mental health professional may be a therapist trained in one of several disciplines: psychiatry, psychology, social work, or psychiatric nursing. In a confidential setting, you and the therapist can explore the nature of your problem and discuss what might relieve the situation. Together, you and the therapist will develop an understanding of the nature of the problem you are facing, explore your thoughts on how it came to be, and discuss what changes might make the situation better. Sometimes, the consultation itself is enough so that you feel more able to deal with the problem yourself. However, if you think it would be helpful to do additional work on your problem with a professional, you may consider the various kinds of therapy available. Among the options are:
- talking with a therapist individually
- participating as part of a couple or family
- entering a therapy group
- receiving medication
- some combination of the above treatments
The therapist with whom you consult should be able to help you understand the pros and cons of different treatment approaches for your problem and your goals.