By Jill Bajorek, PhD, LCSW
A lot of therapists who have been practicing long enough to see the seasons change a few times typically notice annual trends. One of the most prominent ones is how people tend to seek therapy less often during the summer months and wait until the air starts cooling down a bit in the fall to reach out to a therapist and begin that journey. This could be due to many reasons—summer brings a spike in social activities, more exposure to outside air that feels nice to breathe in, longer daylight and probably the extra vitamin D. Things just feel good, right?
There is one slight catch though, and that is that sometimes mental health concerns don’t stop for a season. Some common topics in therapy take longer than a few months to work through and that can be done in any season. Anxiety and depression can be ongoing or repeating issues for a lot of people and it’s important to learn the great task of being more self-aware to notice when those arise. Unresolved trauma often lingers in the background until someone decides to start facing that difficult journey of unpacking and organizing those experiences. Sometimes new distressing events happen when we least expect, even in the nice weather months. What we often see is people suppressing their mental health concerns in the summer because we have high expectations of “feeling good.” The problem is, delaying seeking therapy could just be prolonging the healing process and that can have negative effects on our inner selves. Sometimes unresolved feelings manifest in ways we don’t understand, but we suffer in silence.
I suggest the following: we can see our lives as one big, long journey rather than one that slows down based on the months. We can always be working on ourselves and learning more about how we think. We can utilize some of the more positive feelings in certain months to potentially feel more empowered to face some of our darker thoughts and experiences. Doing this provides a great benefit of not being as overwhelmed once the colder seasons begin. Think about it…you hear your friends talking about how they need to find a therapist because all the upsetting feelings from last winter come rushing back in in October, but you’ve already started that journey months ago and have become more familiar with your needs. Maybe you’ve learned some newer coping mechanisms to tolerate some of the more unpleasant feelings. You’ve learned more about your identity and have acknowledged some of your most important needs in life. You’ve learned better ways to communicate those needs to others and build stronger relationships when you need them most.
We at Encircle Wellness love hearing when people feel better, but also know this can be a tough and sometimes longer journey. We have therapists with immediate openings who can work with your insurance and financial needs. Why not take that first step and start exploring your concerns now? This would be a great time to start, and after your session the outside patios will still be open to kick back with your friends.