How can therapy help me?
A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists can provide insight, understanding, 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. A good therapist can help you identify how something from your past may be affecting how you live today -- and to make changes to patterns in your life that are frustrating or harmful to you.
The therapeutic process can help you feel more comfortable in your skin; it can help you become more self-assured and purposeful as you navigate through life's up and downs.
Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset to enhancing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and marriage issues. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction toward 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:
- Developing a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Building positive 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
- 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're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits, giving you the tools you need to avoid emotional 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 seeking psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (retirement, divorce, new job, 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 challenges and 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 and the therapist. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Each therapist is different and uses a variety of concepts from their education as they interact with you. But you will mostly experience the therapist as listening intently, asking questions to help them truly understand how you are feeling, offering insight, and providing feedback. A good therapist will get to know you quickly and will develop a plan for how best to work with you over time.
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) so that the process becomes an integral part of your weekly routine.
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 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 their lives.
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 that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. You can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone, except for the following situations that by law and ethics must be reported to the proper authorities:
* Suspected abuse or neglect of children or dependent adults/elders
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.