Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. It may be to deal with long-standing psychological issues or problems with anxiety or depression. At times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek therapy in order to pursue personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can provide increased self-awareness, support, and new strategies for approaching life's challenges and joys. Therapy can help address many difficulties including depression, anxiety, grief, relationship difficulties, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Most people who participate in therapy benefit from it. Effort on your part, a willingness to try to be honest with yourself and your therapist, and a desire to improve some part of your life will make it more likely that therapy will help.
How can therapy help me?
Psychotherapy can be helpful in a number of ways. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, conflict, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that therapists can be a tremendous asset in promoting personal growth and more successfully addressing difficulties in interpersonal relationships and 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 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 difficult emotions
- Improving communications 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
What is therapy like?
Every therapy session is unique and caters to the individual and his or her specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
- Compassion, respect and understanding
- Perspectives to illuminate persistent patterns and negative feelings
- Strategies for enacting positive change
- Practical guidance
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. 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 symptom, therapy addresses the cause of your distress and the behavior patterns that curb your progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client.
However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person. The therapist is required to notify the police.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to work with the individual to ensure their safety. However, if an individual does not cooperate, additional measures may need to be taken.