People come to therapy for many reasons. 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, unresolved childhood issues, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Other people 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. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges.
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 an important step by accepting where you're at in life and by making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides support and long-lasting benefits, giving you the tools you need to cope with triggers, change damaging patterns, and address the challenges you face.
Therapy can provide a number of benefits. A therapist can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as anxiety, depression, unresolved childhood issues, relationship troubles, grief & loss, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be helpful in facilitating personal growth as well as managing interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. A therapist can help you find new perspectives on a difficult problem and work with you to create and test out new solutions. 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:
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.
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be a different experience for every person. 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), where each session lasts around fifty minutes.
It is important to understand that for therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. 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, keeping records to track certain 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 to take responsibility for their lives.
Confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of the relationship between client and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is very often discussed only in the therapist's office. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information with someone on your healthcare team (your Medical Doctor, Chiropractor, Naturopath), but by law your therapist can only release this information with your written permission. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement (called “Informed Consent”), and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone.
It is important to note that State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except in the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection 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.