Our bodies are designed to deal with stressful events by rising to the challenge, marshalling our resources to fight or flee. This works well in sudden, life-threatening situations, but in today's world, many stressors are ongoing and need a different type of response. If you feel locked into a state of worry, fear, or anxiety, therapy can help you take a step back, notice how your body and mind are responding, and re-approach the causes of the stress in a more calm and mindful way.
Depression, which is very common in our society, can lead to feelings of sadness or hopelessness. It can also take the form of not being able to enjoy things that used to be fun or a source of pleasure or value in your life. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to help people with depression about as much as antidepressant medications. CBT works by helping you examine what you tell yourself in your mind when you are feeling depressed, placing those beliefs back into context by looking at the evidence of what may really be going on, and finding a better, more realistic way to view the world.
Many people with mental illness also struggle with unhealthy patterns of using alcohol or drugs. While therapy is not a substitute for a recovery program, it can play an important part in helping you find the motivation to stop using, in strengthening your resolve, and in developing strategies to avoid relapsing.