The simple answer to the question posed in the title of this post is: Just about everyone. The longer answer is that most of us go through difficult or challenging times in our lives, and it can help anyone to work through such issues with the help of a trained professional. Those who might especially benefit include people with stressful jobs, such as first responders; veterans, especially those who saw intense combat; and people suffering from grief precipitated by loss. Why? And how can therapy help?
Lessening Intensity, Helping Figure Things Out
First responders, including the police, EMTs, firefighters, and members of the military are often exposed to daunting, difficult experiences. Constant exposure to traumatic, stressful events like unnecessary/unexpected death; domestic or gang violence; assault and abuse; overdoses and addictions; suicide; and homelessness or extreme poverty can lead to PTSD and a variety of other symptoms, including:
- emotional numbness
- difficulty getting along with others
- unhealthy coping mechanisms, like alcohol and/or substance use
- headaches, ulcers, and other physical symptoms
- nightmares, flashbacks
- reactionary responses
- memory problems
- anxiety and/or depression
- social discomfort
- fear and/or paranoia
Talking with a therapist can help you get better. For example, therapy can give you new ways to handle these distressing thoughts and help you understand how and why these events affected you.
Coping with Grief, Letting Things Out
Anyone who has lost someone significant in their life, whether a parent, a spouse, a sibling or a close friend or romantic partner—whether through death, estrangement or a breakup—will have different ways of grieving. Grieving is a normal response to significant loss, and we all need a support system to help us get through it. Some people get through with support from their family and friends, but usually, unless they have also experienced a close personal loss, they don’t fully “get it.” A grief counselor can provide extra assistance and insight to help people navigate the grieving process.
How do you know if you should seek extra assistance? If your grieving has robbed you of the ability to engage in normal activities of daily living, seek the help of a mental health professional. A good grief counselor can help you:
- Provide a safe environment to work through feelings of loss
- Understand the normal stages of grief and recognize that the feelings you are experiencing are natural
- Accept your loss
- Focus on specific areas in your life where coping is difficult
- Identify strategies and behaviors to help you cope and re-engage in daily tasks
A good grief counselor can also help you if you are having more complicated grief reactions. You may need help identifying and resolving internal conflicts that are interfering with your ability to mourn your loss.
If you are dealing with PTSD, grief, or any other highly stressful event and would like to talk to a trained professional and are in the Western New York area, please call Horizon Health Services at 716-831-1800.