Therapies for parents

Parenthood can be a time of immense joy as well as pain. It can be a stressful period as there may be many changes that the parent has to deal with and this could be quite overwhelming.

Parents always want the best for their children and will go to great extents to make sure the child gets the best. Most often, this is at a cost of the health of the parent. It is important to recognize your health, both physical and mental. Mental health is as important as physical health, if not more. Most often we do not consider our mental health a priority. There is quite a lot of stigma attached to mental illness which prevents us from acknowledging that we may have a difficulty.

Yet, it is crucial to recognize signs which shows that our mental health may be deteriorating. With recognition, comes the next step of accepting that you may have a problem and having the readiness to admit that you need help. That is a vital step. A step in the right direction.

Ever recognise that you may be feeling irritable for no reason? Feel tired most of the time? Feel like you don’t have the energy to make it out of the bed? Feel like you have lost interest in the things you used to find interesting previously? Feel like you are unable to take care of yourself, let alone anyone else? Feel like you have no control over your emotions or thoughts? Feel worried easily? If so, you may need some help and your mind is hinting at it. Let us listen to our minds when it is trying to tell us something.

Help can arrive in many forms. It can be in the form of therapy, relaxation techniques or even a good long nap.

Therapy is a form of treatment that is shown effective in treating various mental and emotional difficulties. Just talking about your emotional difficulties with someone can help take a huge weight off your chest. It sure feels good to have someone listen to us, genuinely and with care. At times, talking to someone you are not familiar with can give an objective picture of the situation. Therapy can be helpful for those experiencing anxiety, depression, grief or even smaller everyday concerns such as job stress, self- doubt etc. Therapy can be time-consuming and it could get challenging. It is only once we can push past the uncomfortable emotions that we can arrive at long lasting effects. It is important to look beyond just symptom relief to a more positive state of being.

Therapy is not one type that fits all, it is of various kinds. A common therapeutic technique is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which addresses irrational beliefs and thought patterns that were not helpful for the individual in the past. CBT tries to change such thoughts into more adaptable ones. This could in turn help manage emotions better and develop better coping strategies for various problems. This could also include developing communication skills, problem solving skills and building on assertiveness.

Family therapy/ couples therapy may also be important. Parenthood can bring about changes in the dynamics within the couple. It is important to be clear on the kinds of roles each person is taking up within the family as well as be open about what we are expecting of our partners. Open communication can help deal with a lot of crises arising within the family.

Relaxation techniques are an umbrella term for different techniques that promote stress reduction and bring about a feeling of peace and calm. Some of the methods include diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and biofeedback. All these techniques focus on the body and its link to the mind. Our body and mind are closely interlinked as for instance, you may have noticed that you feel happy when you have a hot coffee on a cold rainy day. In the same way, if we try and relax our body, this could in turn relax our minds too.