How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
Developing skills for improving your relationships
Finding resolution to issues or concerns that have troubled you for a long time
Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
Improving communication and listening skills
Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you are in your life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, illness, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and to make changes.
What is therapy like?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to those issues, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors, taking action on your goals or engaging in other mindfulness exercises. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
How can just talking about my problems make much of a difference?
Studies have shown that talk therapy is just, or more effective, than medication for most mental health problems - and the changes are longer lasting. Studies have also shown that talk therapy will induce changes in your brain - your brain will re-wire itself as it develops new ways to think and to solve problems.
How long will therapy last? How long will it take to get better? Do I have to come every week?
It is very hard to predict how long therapy will last. Change can come quickly or slowly but that is very dependent on your personality, how much dedication you have to the process and especially how entwined your difficulties are with other problems in your life. Attending therapy less than once a week seems to dilute the focused attention necessary to foster change and may be more useful later in the process, once the core changes have occurred.
What are the different types of psychotherapy? Which one should I choose?
There are a variety of ways to conduct psychotherapy, each with its own strengths and styles. While it is important to understand how your therapist works, it's best not to be overly concerned with that. What's more important is to feel that your therapist can help you. When you feel really heard and understood, that's the therapist for you,
regardless of training or style.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptoms, therapy addresses the causes of your distress and the behavior patterns that curb progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor or psychiatrist you can determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Click here for some
to ask your insurer.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
is one of the most important components of the work between a client and a psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with sensitive subject matter that is often not discussed anywhere but in the therapist's office. All therapists should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your Physician, Naturopath, Attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without first obtaining your written permission. This is referred to as “Informed Consent.”
State laws and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality, except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.