Those closest to me can tell you that I often get on my soapbox and passionately talk about why everyone needs a therapist! This is not to be pejorative by any means, but to simply state the fact that our lives have become so complicated by countless factors, that indeed, everyone can benefit from some kind of therapeutic services at some point in their lives. Times have changed with everything becoming more global every day with new technology such as the ever expanding Internet, smartphones, social media, tablets, and we’re living longer with advanced technology and medicine. Add to this mix, the dynamics between families, friends, romantic relationships, work, school, finance, health, politics, crime, safety issues, etc. However, time itself has not changed to reflect the ever changing world and our lives. We still have just 24 hours in a day…everywhere in the world. This creates an increasingly pressurized situation waiting to explode, if people do not get the help they need to cope with all of these changes we are facing. Many times, reaching out to family and friends will be enough to cope, but during tougher times, this will not suffice. This is perfectly fine because everyone’s circumstances are different.
Often, people seek a mental health professional when they are in a state of crisis. This is certainly better than not getting help at all, but this is reactive. In fact, these are the people I first started working with in my early professional career as a therapist about thirteen years ago. Here, I worked with adults who constantly operated in crisis mode and had persistent mental health illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, chronic depression, alcohol and drug abuse, etc. I enjoyed my job, loved the people I worked with, but something did not feel “right.” In the next chapter of my career, I worked mainly with adolescents and few children who were involved with the law and were living in detention facilities. Again, loved my job and the people, but something was still “missing.” Listening to these adults and teenagers’ life stories made me realize that their suffering started long before they had their mental illness or got in trouble with the law. Then, I started working with elementary school-aged children, their families, their teachers, and their peers. Alongside, I had two children of my own and something felt right! I would wake up in the mornings feeling eager to get started with the day! Having worked with all of the age groups and seeing the “circle of life,” it dawned on me that this is the best way I can provide mental health services that will impact the most number of people. At this point, I fully understood the old adage “Prevention is better than cure” and ever since, I have been advocating, educating, and providing clinical care to children and families, especially focusing on parenting issues.
It’s worth sounding like a broken record when I say that I wholeheartedly believe that a strong, healthy parent-child relationship is at the core of good mental health, for the family unit and its members. Generally speaking, most parents want to have good relationships with their child and vice versa. However, there can be a variety of reasons that get in the way of developing and/or maintaining healthy parent-child relationships. The reasons may be financial, cultural, generational, health challenges, and many more, but all of them impact mental health whether they are the parent, the child, or both. I did not completely realize the full impact of the parent-child relationship on one’s mental health and overall happiness until I had the opportunity to work with all age groups over the course of my professional career. One will be surprised to know how many successful people’s unhappiness stems from their parent-child relationship problems.
Just recently, I read an article about the megastar Bruce Springsteen, who has been battling with depression for years and the root of the problem went back to his childhood and the relationship with his father (http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/bruce-springsteen-battles-depression-suicidal-thoughts-early-80s-cusp-superstardom-article-1.1121264). I commend The Boss for openly talking about his depression because it not only helps him clinically, but also helps many more who are suffering from depression and other mental health issues. When someone of that caliber talks, it normalizes the situation and people start listening and seeking help. Lastly, I am ecstatic to hear that our nation’s leaders have finally recognized the dire need to make mental health services a priority, especially for our youths. This is a great step in the right direction as we make the social fabric of our nation stronger!
Anshu R. Basnyat is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in private practice in Ellicott City, MD. She specializes in parenting and multicultural issues. Anshu lives in Ellicott City with her husband and two children. She is fluent in English, Nepali and knows some American Sign Language, Hindi, and Spanish. If you are interested in a free consultation regarding mental health and/or parenting coaching, please contact her at (240) 289-3713 or via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.