I believe in a modern approach to mental health. We all do things to look after our physical health. We go to the gym, we eat nourishing meals, and we do our best to get a good night’s sleep. We don’t wait for a health crisis to hit – we do these things to stay well. The same principle can be applied to our mental health. From regular therapy to mindfulness and daily journaling, there are things we can and should do to look after our minds.
I specialise in CBT because it’s the number one therapy for anxiety and depression. But you don’t need to wait until you’re struggling to seek help. My goal is to create a space where accessing therapy is no big deal. Where it’s considered as normal as going to the optician for an eye test or seeing a physio for that twinge in your back. We look after our bodies, eyes and teeth. We tend to our hair, skin and nails. Why not do the same for our minds? Why not see therapy as a form of mental health maintenance or an act of self-care?
In America, people talk much more openly about accessing therapy. Seeing your therapist is like seeing your hairdresser! It’s just something you do. I’d love for it to be the same in the UK. We’ve come a long way, but it would be helpful if having therapy didn’t automatically equate to having problems. One day, I hope we can reach a point where it simply means we’re looking after our mental health. In this context, everyone needs therapy because everyone deserves to feel the benefits.
Mental health maintenance is about doing small things regularly to look after our minds. For example, when a client finishes a course of therapy, I’ll often offer ongoing monthly maintenance sessions. Checking-in with an expert allows them to monitor their progress, continue healing and prevents relapse.
Beyond regular therapy, mental health maintenance can also look like doing one thing per day that’s good for your mind. This might be going for a walk, seeing a friend or completing some life admin that’s been hanging over you. Whatever you decide to do, it’s about making a conscious choice to pay attention and tend to your mental health.
If everyone needs therapy, therapy needs to be accessible. I deliver CBT online so there’s no geographical barrier for people who want to work with me. The good news is studies have shown online CBT is just as effective as face-to-face therapy. I also offer tools and resources designed to help people with their mental health maintenance. There’s this blog, my free guide to mindfulness, fortnightly newsletters and masses of information on my Instagram page, the.perfectionism.therapist.