What is psychotherapy?
In short, psychotherapy is a process involving the interaction between the therapist and the patient. The relationship between therapist and client is of utmost importance and therefore creating a safe and trusting environment is vital. Through the interaction with the client the therapist is able to utilize various techniques and strategies to facilitate change and assist the client in adapting to their circumstances. Psychotherapy is a professional relationship between a therapist and a patient that is based on therapeutic principles, structure and technique. The relationship between a therapist and a client is strictly professional. That is, the relationship exists only and solely for the purpose of helping the patient. The therapist is there for the patient and expects nothing in return but payment for the time. Having learned about and treated people with your condition before, therapists can comprehend your particular problems. They are familiar with the symptoms of various mental illnesses and the difficulties of daily living. They know what questions to ask and may also pose questions that you have never heard before. As noted above, the communication between patient and therapist is not equal. Therapists rarely will reveal their opinions or stances on various issues, such as religion or politics.
Who can benefit?
There are many reasons why people seek psychotherapy:
You may want to “get to know yourself better.”
You may have experienced a traumatic event, such as divorce, sexual assault, or experiences related to military service, and need to deal with the severe emotional anguish caused by such an event.
People who experience various challenges/problems that result in emotional strain or behavior problems can benefit from psychotherapy.
You could seek assistance should you, a family member/friend be concerned by any of the following:
- Sudden changes in your level of functioning
- Difficulties with significant life stages/events:
- Problems following childbirth (post-partum depression)
- Problems with parenting
- Problems with family members
- Other adjustment issues
o Recently diagnosed illness
o Chronic pain
o Changes in sleep/appetite
o Traumatic brain injury
- Changes in behavior:
- Self-destructive behavior
- Inappropriate behavior
- Regressive behavior
- Frequent rule breaking and possibly even illegal acts
- Academic/occupational difficulties:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor performance
- Frequent job changes
- Emotional difficulties/changes:
- Strong feelings
- Dependent behavior
- Low levels of empathy and compassion
- Threats to harm oneself and/others
What can you expect?
The process of therapy begins with a psychological evaluation during your first visit. The psychologist will explain the process of therapy and obtain the information necessary to assess your case and determine the appropriate strategies for treatment. Once therapy has been determined to be appropriate in your case, you will be scheduled for on-going sessions.
What happens during psychotherapy?
Sessions generally take place at the same time, usually every week in the beginning. Psychotherapy appointments are scheduled for a "clinical hour." A clinical hour is 45-50 minutes, or you may be seen on a one-half hour (25-30 minutes) basis. Psychologists use various techniques depending on the presenting problems and the best course of treatment. No matter what the technique, psychotherapy is not a magic cure; rather, the capacity for progress lies within each person. Over time, clients develop a sense of mastery over their situations, feelings, thoughts and behavior.