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. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one’s life such as a death, divorce or work transition. Many seek therapy as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. The therapeutic process can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by creating greater self-awareness and working towards change in their lives.
What can I expect from therapy?
Psychotherapy is a collaborative process between you and your therapist. The process can vary based on you, your particular situation, and the therapist you work with. The initial session is typically 1 hour, which involves an assessment of your situation and needs, where following sessions are usually 45 minutes. The number of sessions depends on your current needs. Together you and your therapist will develop a plan and goals that work for you.
What are the possible benefits and risks of therapy?
Therapy can be very beneficial but there are some risks. Sometimes sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, or other negative feelings may be experienced as unpleasant memories are recalled. These risks are expected when people are making any important changes in their lives. Even with best efforts, there is a risk that therapy will not benefit every individual.
The benefits of therapy have been well documented by researchers. People who are depressed may find their mood lifting. Others may no longer feel afraid, angry, or anxious. Others may find more satisfaction in social and family relationships and coping skills may improve. Individuals may discover clarity in their personal goals and values as he/she grows personally, emotionally, and spiritually. In therapy, people have a chance to explore and confront issues that impair their quality of life and self-identity by talking things out until their feelings are relieved or progress is made.
How do I tell my child or adolescent that I’m taking them to a therapist?
It is not uncommon for children and adolescents to resist the idea of seeing a therapist. They often assume that they are being blamed for problems and punished by having to meet with the doctor. There can be stigma for young people associated with going to a therapist. They sometimes assume that this means everyone thinks they are crazy and the media images of people in white lab coats come to mind!
First of all, it is recommended to be honest with your child about the appointment. In other words, don’t tell them you’re going to get ice cream or to a movie and bring them to an appointment. They will feel betrayed and will very likely become even more resistant to the idea. A good starting point can be to present some of your concerns in a non-threatening way. Secondly, parents may want to focus on the family aspect of treatment. Approach therapy as “We are concerned and we’re going to talk to somebody who can help us.”