I think that overall, society has done an amazing job at breaking down some of the publicly held stigma attached to mental health. Many more people talk openly now about their own experiences, accelerated no-doubt by platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, but this change is also reflected in our health and social care policies in the UK and the subject is much more common place in the workplace now than ever before.
But what does it take for someone to shift from a position of thinking ‘thats great for people who need it’ to thinking more personally, ’maybe that would be helpful for me’?
My name is Hayden Stothard. I am a registered Mental Health Nurse and accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapist. I work as a manager in the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and also run a small private practice for adults interested in personal therapy.
I’d like you to take a moment to quickly think about what comes to mind when you think about the word ‘therapy’?
Many people will associate it with ideas about people being in distress, at the point of a crisis and almost being seen as ‘in desperate need of help’. Perhaps even suicidal? And of course this is true for some people, my career in the NHS has shown me that. But when someone who isn’t in the midst of a crisis thinks about whether they could benefit from therapy, I’m interested to know; what is it that they say to themselves?
So here is my next challenge to you. Ask yourself, “Do I need to be in the midst of a crisis to consider therapy?”
The emphasis in Cognitive Analytic Therapy is looking at your early years, at who had an important influence on you and to start to recognise some of the unconscious patterns you may have learnt about how you relate to others. The very reasons you came up with in your own mind about why you should or shouldn’t go ahead with therapy now probably also say something about how you have learnt to relate to yourself too.
In a world where we do so much more to look after the health and wellbeing of others than ever before, perhaps by reflecting on this more, breaking down some of our own self-stigma could be achievable too.
If this has inspired you to think about your own therapy journey, please feel free to get in touch to find out more about what Cognitive Analytic Therapy could do for you.