A number of benefits are available from participating in therapy. Therapists
can provide support, 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. Many people also find that counselors 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 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 emotional pressures
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
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 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
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, 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 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
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 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).
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.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
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 our
distress and the 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 you can
determine what's best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication
and therapy is the right 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 that is usually not discussed anywhere but
the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of
their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you
discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed
Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share
information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your
physician, naturopathic practitioner, etc.), but by law your therapist
cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain
confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders
to the authorities, including Child Protective Services and law enforcement,
based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger
of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.