Defining Mental Health
Mental health refers to a person’s psychological and emotional well-being. A person’s mental health can be impacted by biological, environmental, and social factors. Thus, just as with physical health, one’s mental health is not guaranteed to be the same at all times. However, there are steps you can take to maintain and improve your psychological and emotional well-being, including (but not limited to) effective self-care, counseling, spiritual practices, quality sleep, balanced diet, and exercise.
Let’s Talk Therapy/Counseling
One of the most common ways that people maintain and improve their mental health is by engaging in therapy/counseling. Although frightening to some, therapy/counseling helps people understand what they are experiencing. Therapy/counseling also helps people put their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors into proper context. Contrary to what some might believe, engaging in therapy/counseling does not mean that you are weak or inadequate. It actually means that you are self-aware enough to realize that you are experiencing something that you cannot handle on your own and you would like a trained professional’s help.
Therapy/counseling can be intimidating and scary. You are likely sharing some very personal thoughts and emotions with someone that makes you feel very vulnerable. This is all normal. That’s why the first few therapy/counseling sessions are typically geared towards getting to know the therapist/counselor as well as the therapist/counselor getting to know you. While each therapist/counselor has their own style, it is always our goal to make sure you feel safe, welcomed, and comfortable speaking with us.
Therapy/counseling sessions are usually 45-50 minutes and are held weekly, or at the frequency discussed between you and the therapist/counselor. While therapy sessions won’t “cure” all of your problems, we will work together to define goals that will help you accomplish those things that are most important to you.
Who Can Engage in Therapy/Counseling?
As an employee of AFD/ATCEMS, you and your dependents which includes, but is not limited to, spouses, romantic partners, and children (biological, adopted, and step-children) are eligible to receive psychological services at no-cost.
What Type of Therapy/Counseling is Available?
Working with your therapist, you will work to understand and change thinking patterns that are causing, or have caused, problems for you. Cognitive therapy helps you focus on and understand how your thoughts impact your emotions and behaviors.
Working with your therapist, you will work to understand and change specific behaviors (or behavior patterns) that are causing problems for you.
In this type of therapy, you and your partner/family engage in therapy as one unit. While engaging in therapy/counseling, the “unit” and therapist will work together to understand and work through issues that are causing problems for the “unit”.
Can a Therapist/Counselor Prescribe Medicine?
The short answer is no, your therapist cannot prescribe medication. However, there are providers in the community who may be able to assist with medication management. Also, in working with your therapist, if it is determined that medication might be appropriate, you and your therapist will work together to locate a provider in the community to assist with this need.