Despite so many campaigns and people speaking about mental health, many Filipinos still have a narrow view of therapy. Some people think it’s only an option when going through depression or severe anxiety or roller-coaster moods. While this may be true for some people, therapy is also helpful for a lot of other reasons. In fact, you don’t have to wait for your life or your relationships to fall apart before you seek help.
Psychotherapy or most known as talk therapy can help individuals overcome pain from their pasts and develop coping strategies for the future. It also helps a person have and define goals and clarify who they are and what they want out of life. Aside from this, seeking the help of a mental health professional may provide a fresh perspective on life’s issues, which can promote one’s self-esteem and improve the state of relationships and one’s outlook on life. Even Pope Francis said that he once saw a psychiatrist for his anxiety! (Read: Pope Francis Recalls How Seeing a Psychiatrist Eased His Anxiety)
Wondering if therapy is right for you? Maybe the testimonials of these three individuals who sought the help of mental health professionals will help you decide. Read as they share their experiences and how therapy helped them, their relationships, and overall aspect of their life.
Therapy helps put matters into perspective
“I’ve been in therapy since January 8, 2008. My best friend convinced me to see a psychotherapist/psychiatrist since she saw that I was extremely depressed at that time. Therapy helped me put matters into perspective. Through therapy, I can more easily step back from what seems to be a major crisis and help me see the situation as a lesser crisis and a learning experience.” – M.*
Therapy helps to be more mindful of feelings– our own and others
“I started to seek professional medical help for my mental health issues in October 2014. I was reluctant then because I was really clueless about what happens in a typical session with a psychiatrist– I was not aware of what a psychiatrist really does because of the negative perception from Filipino movies and series. My clinic appointments were not draining nor emotional. I was just asked to give updates about things that mattered to me, effects of the medicine, and if there are any new issues bothering me. Sometimes, I was asked to write down my thoughts or create pie charts so I can see how I prioritize things. While there are times that I had difficulty in articulating my thoughts, I still felt I was understood deeply. It was without judgment and just the intent of helping me manage my condition.
Through therapy, I became more mindful of my feelings. I started to know what is valid and not. I also started to be empathetic with other people’s situation. I stopped mocking people who post sad quotes, suicidal notes. I encourage the people around them to check up on them. I also started trusting people and accepted that friends can hurt you once in a while and you can actually move past from their mistakes, because like them, you can also hurt them at some point. I no longer feel annoyed when plans get cancelled and I totally started to understand when a friend says no– it doesn’t mean that I was not loved or I was hated. (Read: 3 Things to Do if You’re Feeling Lonely, According to Gracenote)
Lastly, I began to develop sense of gratitude. After taking my clinic appointments and medicines seriously, I remarkably started seeing goodness of people and allowing them to help me. I now easily find simple joys with acts of kindness and thoughtfulness.”- Lucy Bernardo*
Therapy helps you to be your best self
“I am blessed with my current employer kasi sila nag provide ng therapist at psychiatrist. Kahit na nahihiya ako before, I took the courage to reach out kasi ang hirap ng feeling hopeless. Mahirap humingi ng tulong pero worth it.
I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and ang hirap kasi most people will say na malungkot lang ako and sasabihan ako to just cheer up. Ang hirap kasi feeling ko everything is out of control ‘pag inaatake talaga ako. Having persistent suicidal ideation is no joke.
In 2018, I started visiting psychiatrists and I felt like ‘di enough yung medicine lang na nirereseta nila and I needed to try therapy. At the time, I didn’t have a job yet so I couldn’t afford to go to a therapist. So last year, in 2020, I was employed sa isang company na may malasakit sa mental health ng employees nila, that’s when I started therapy for free. (Read: 5 Tips to Navigate Adulthood, According to Roanne and Tina)
Therapy has been a life saver! Sobrang gaan sa pakiramdam matapos mong makausap mga therapist kasi alam mong may umiintindi at handang umintindi sayo no matter what. It enables me to work and be able to perform my duties well.” – Joy Mendoza*
*Names have been changed at the request of the interviewees.