Who Can Psychotherapy Help?
Psychotherapy is generally for people who want relief from:
- feeling continually sad
- feeling uncomfortably nervous
- feeling worried a lot
- feeling overly fearful
- relationship difficulties (family, romantic, work, friendship relationships)
- medically-related stress
- any other stresses
- the discomfort of not being able to take the action they want to take.
What to Expect from Counseling/Therapy
Relief by getting things off your chest
You may have heard the word “venting” that therapists use. What it means is reducing unpleasant feelings like anxiety, anger, sadness, etc, by putting into words the problems that exist for you. It is different from “bitching” or complaining or whining because it is with someone with skills to help you through it.
An example would be a client coming into my office stating that he has been feeling nervous and sleepless. In talking about his job he explains that he feels left out by his co-workers but has been trying to ignore it saying to himself, “I’m here to work, not to make friends.” As he goes on speaking he realizes that this is not the first time he has tried to overlook others’ attitudes toward him. He sees patterns so begins to relax because someone is listening to him and supporting his views and creating a learning experience for him. Others to whom he had told these things had given him advice or minimized the feelings saying, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” Being REALLY listened to has a powerful effect.
Problem-solving by “thinking out loud”
It’s amazing how differently we look at difficulties in our life when we allow ourselves to explore them without concern about being judged. In a counseling session people should feel free to say anything that comes to mind. In so doing, options can be considered and creative thinking can take place producing new ideas for problem-solving.
Finding the motivation to make changes that will make you feel better
Often it isn’t enough to simply talk about what is bothering you. Taking action may be the only way to make some of these bad feelings stop recurring. Changes may be difficult, but often it is far less difficult than we expect—especially with the support of a caring therapist.
Some of our clients find the courage to speak up to parents, partners, children, friends. They discover that, rather than the anticipated negative outcome that had kept them from saying certain things (maybe for many, many years) true, lasting solutions can result. Even if there is absolutely no positive outcome pertaining to the relationship the person who speaks up feels a weight lifted off herself/himself.
Other types of changes are made by some clients. Some change big, basic areas of their lives such as making career decisions or finding the strength to get out of an abusive relationship and find a healthier way to live. Some make what may seem to us to be smaller modifications in their worlds but these modifications have been ones they had not, up until then, found the courage or drive or wherewithal to implement.
Many learned new ways to communicate or listen or resolve conflicts more amicably with their romantic partners. Many began to see themselves as more worthy and, consequently, began to take better care of themselves. Many did things to minimize the power a past trauma held over their lives. In other words they did things that helped them to feel better (and, very often, to have more energy to put toward other areas of their lives).
Therapy is another way of learning. Therapists are like teachers but we teach by helping clients to look within themselves. They learn from themselves that most of what they need to improve their lives is already inside their heads, hearts and spirits.
I know there is a fear of our profession by some people. The fear, whether people know it or not, is that what one finds during a therapy session will be something bad inside that person. But ask anyone who has had successful therapy (and most is successful). They will tell you that it was an experience that they wouldn’t have missed for the world. I have often heard, “I feel blessed that I had a drug problem (or a marital problem or a problem with depression) that caused me to attend therapy. It was an opportunity to feel good in a way I couldn’t have otherwise.”
Psychotherapist, Therapist, Counselor (or Mental Health Counselor)
We use these terms interchangeably.
However, the word therapist can also be used with other words connected to it like “physical therapist,” “massage therapist,” etc.
And, “counselor” can be used with other words such as “credit counselor,” etc. and is even is used for attorneys, sometimes.
Overall term for any of the following who do “talk therapy.”
I. DOCTORATE LEVEL
A. Psychiatrist – A medical doctor who can prescribe medication and usually does not do
“talk therapy” these days because insurance companies’ reimbursement
rates are too low for them to accept (though, at times, they do).
B. Psychologist – A non-medical doctor.
1. Ph.D. who does “talk therapy” and may also do psychological
testing, research and teaching
2. Psy.D. who, most likely, has focused his/her training on “talk
therapy”, but may also do what a Ph.D. does.
II. MASTERS LEVEL – Does talk-therapy only
A. L.C.P.C. – (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor)
B. L.C.S.W. – (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
Our practice has Doctorate level clinicians but mostly Masters level.