Volunteerism as Therapy

Individual and family therapy is hard work! As a client, you spend a lot of time thinking through behaviors, looking for ways to try new skills and working through difficult times from the past and present toward a better tomorrow. Sometimes you need a break from yourself! One way to step back from the hard work of self-reflection and personal development is to volunteer to help someone else. Volunteering can give you a sense of accomplishment, an opportunity to practice a new skill, a place to meet positive people, and warm-fuzzies. Volunteering opens a window on the experiences of others and allows a volunteer to see the difficulties people face. Often, after a volunteer experience, you may hear people say, “I thought I had it rough until I saw what they are dealing with. This helps put my troubles into a whole new perspective.” This isn’t to minimize what you’re going through, but it can help to see that other people have difficulties, too. You’re not alone in that. Many volunteer opportunities have the added benefit of physical labor and/or a chance to be outdoors which is good for your mental health, too!

Volunteer opportunities abound.  If you don’t know where to start, try typing Volunteer Opportunities in your favorite search engine.  There are several great websites to help you find a volunteer opportunity in your area that matches your interest and availability.  Check out an organization to make sure the mission is in line with your values and you feel comfortable with their operations.  Then go for it!