Mental Health and Physical Therapy: A Critical Combination
Why You Need Physical Therapy and Counseling Under One Roof
As a physical therapist and clinic owner, having a mental health professional in the same space as physical therapy was never a matter of “if” but “when”. Every client that walks in my door would not only benefit from counseling, but thrive as a result of it.
I primarily work with mothers, and often they are pushing through life, meal by meal or child’s activity by activity, without being able to take time for themselves. Never a time to check in with their emotions. Sleep deprived and overwhelmed. Until something finally “sets them off” and they “lose their cool.” I’ve heard countless times that now their kids are grown and mothers don’t know their hobbies, don’t have a relationship with their partner, or aren’t even sure who they are anymore.
Here are a few reasons why it was imperative to have mental health therapy in my physical therapy practice:
- You can feel your emotions in your body.
You know when you get stressed you pull your shoulders toward your ears and hold tension in your neck. You can feel a ball of stress in your stomach. I may be the best physical therapist in the entire world, but if the second you leave your appointment, you are faced with all the stressors of your life without proper coping mechanisms, the headaches, migraines or low back pain will never go away. You cannot resolve muscle tension and spasms if you are constantly anxious, depressed or overwhelmed.
2. The biopsychosocial model.
It is very complex and you cannot separate them. How you feel physically is impacted by whether or not you like your job, can put food on the table, have healthy and happy relationships, and have good mobility and strength. Yes, everything is connected and yes, you need to process it.
3. Life transitions are often not processed.
The transition to motherhood often feels like everyone and everything is focused on the baby, not the mother. You may have had a traumatic birth experience but were told “well, you have a happy baby now, that’s all that matters.” According to the Blue Dot Project, 1 in 5 women will suffer from a maternal health disorder and 1 in 7 women will have depression during pregnancy. Instead of focusing on making sure the new babe has the perfect nursery, we need to prepare women for the transition to motherhood. As a physical therapist, I help with the bodily changes but you absolutely need mental health therapy to prepare for your changing role in life.
You need therapy sooner than later. My hope is that having mental health counselling in a PT clinic will take away some of the stigma around it. Normalize counseling as taking care of your mind as you would your body after an injury.
At Breathe. Physical Therapy & Wellness, we are proud to offer in house mental health counseling, please click here to find out more or call 515-255-3932.