What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is the use of a series of techniques to treat mental health and emotional issues, as well as psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy strikes a balance by helping the individual to identify their positive versus negative aspects as well as determining their strong and weak points. Individuals can then use this knowledge to have a positive impact on their future.
What is the difference between psychotherapy, therapy, and counseling?
Most people tend to consider all three the same. That is not quite the case. The main difference between psychotherapy and other types of therapy is the focus on the past. In psychotherapy, the clinician will help the individual become better prepared to address the future and any issues that may arise by taking time to focus on past experiences. A strong bond between the clinician and client in the context of therapy can promote the ideal environment to let healing begin as well.
How do I know if I or a loved one might need psychotherapy assistance?
Look for an abrupt change in mood or behavior that has occurred suddenly or in the recent past. If this change is beginning to cause disruption in home, school, employment, or relationships then a visit with a clinician may be helpful. In some cases, the individual may not be able to see this change so friends and family members are the unique position to help determine if someone they know would benefit from psychotherapy. Talk with the person who is experiencing trouble and encourage them to seek help from an outside source.
What can I expect if I begin psychotherapy?
There are myths related to seeing a clinician, many of which involve laying down on a couch while the clinician explores your past relationship with your parents. While these topics may come up in psychotherapy, the clinicians role is to help the individual develop better habits and to live a more healthy and fulfilling life.
Does psychotherapy involve only me or can my family and significant others be involved?
Psychotherapy can involve just the individual but a strong support network only strengthens the therapeutic process. In work with children, the family is encouraged to be involved because the family can help guide the child and reinforce positive behaviors outside of the office. In addition, children often act out issues within the family so including the family can help to better understand factors affecting the youth and find ways to help the entire family.
How can I identify a good clinician?
A good clinician understands that the therapeutic relationship is at the core of psychology and the individual will only make gains if they feel comfortable. If after the initial assessment you do not feel that you would benefit from seeing this person, be vocal about your concerns and the clinician will help you find someone that may be a better fit.
Is all we do talk? What if I or my loved one is not a big talker?
Talking is a very important part of psychotherapy, but do not feel like you have to share until you are ready. The clinician will take time to develop rapport and to help you ensure that you feel comfortable and safe talking about your issues and concerns. Once this occurs, talking with the clinician will become more and more natural and important gains can be made. Other techniques such as relaxation strategies, art based activities, and visualization activities involve little talking and have been found to be effective interventions.
Can a young child benefit from psychotherapy? I doubt a child can verbalize everything they are feeling.
Young children seldom sit down and directly tell you everything they are thinking and feeling. Parents would love for that to happen. Play, art, and game based activities are helpful for children as they tend to act out their emotions through play, use art to express themselves, and learn new skills using specialized games. Catching a concern early in a child’s life can help to prevent long term effects in the future.