How can therapy help me?
Psychotherapy can provide a number of benefits. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, self-esteem issues, etc. Many people also find that therapists 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 experience in therapy. 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 the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures in a helpful way
Improving communications and listening skills
Changing old behavior patterns and developing new more adaptive 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 extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize when they need help, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in 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, new job, relocation etc.), or feel that they are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people would like assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, the effects of suffering past abuse (i.e., whether physical, sexual or mental/psychological), addictions, relationship problems, procrastination, difficulty focusing or concentrating. 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 ready to make changes in their lives.
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 as this is relevant to your issue, 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 learn to cope better with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (often weekly, but can also be done effectively on other regularly scheduled intervals).
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 or experience 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 or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for how they are living.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term success to overcoming mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be resolved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the roots of our distress and the certain behavior patterns that curb our 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, psychiatrist, or even nutritionist, you can determine what's best for you. Often a combination of medication and therapy is the most effective course of action.
Does what we talk about in therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidentiality disclosure agreement, and an Informed Consent Statement for what you can expect in therapy and the nature of confidentiality. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (i.e., your physician, naturopath/holistic care provider, attorney), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, there are certain limits to confidentiality of which you should be aware. In fact, often law and professional ethics require therapists to disclose certain confidential information in the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, vulnerable adults, and elders to the authorities. In these types of cases, information could be discussed with Child Protection agencies and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously and imminently in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person, this information could be discussed with medical professionals or law enforcement.
* When the provider bills for the mental health services to insurance carrier companies or other third parties; and in this case, normally only the patient name, patient contact information, date/time of services, type of service, length of service, fees for service and diagnoses are included on the bill.