Why do people seek therapy?
People come into therapy for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives, while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are overwhelmed by guilt, doubt, anxiety, trauma, addictions, relationship and work issues, therapy can help. Therapy provides support, problem-solving techniques and coping skills for issues such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, addictions, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. Seeking psychotherapy is an indication that you are willing to take responsibility for you're actions, develop greater awareness and begin living the life you envision.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
During sessions you are expected to talk about the primary concerns in your life. Psychotherapy appointments are scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and are often scheduled for the same time every week. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions it is beneficial to think about and process and what was discussed. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy requires you to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book, keeping records of thoughts, feelings and behaviors and practicing mindfulness techniques. For therapy to "work," you must be an active participant, both in and outside of the therapy sessions. As we work together to uncover painful issues and insights, some patients feel worse for a period of time before feeling better. Medication is sometimes used in conjunction with psychotherapy though help you through this phase of treatment. A short period of distress is well worth the hard work and life changes.
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, work-life balance and the hassles of daily life. 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 and your personal goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Find new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications skills - learn how to listen to others, and have others listen to you
- Getting "unstuck" from unhealthy patterns - breaking old behaviors and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
What if I don't know what my goals are for therapy?
It may take several sessions before your goals for therapy are clarified. During the course of therapy your goals may change. However, establishing a direction for therapy will help you get the most out of the experience. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy emphasizes setting goals and measuring symptom improvement. To measure progress, goals for therapy are clearly defined and discussed throughout treatment.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission. However, there are number of exceptions to this rule. Exceptions include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse. The therapist is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s. The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission in order to ensure their safety.