In modern society, people experience distress daily from multiple sources, including work/study stressors, family conflict, health concerns and even changes to our everyday environment.
This distress can affect anyone, across all ages. They can manifest in behavioral changes, such as difficulty sleeping, a loss of appetite, constant worry and a sense of worthlessness/hopelessness. Some even experience suicidal thoughts.
Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy”, is a process where the Clinical Psychologist or Therapist works together with you to address your concerns, symptoms and distress. Very often, therapy can help you understand yourself better, identify patterns of thinking or behavior that underlie many problems, deal with them using various techniques, and improve your quality of life.
The Therapeutic Process
At its most basic, Psychotherapy provides a non-judgmental environment in which you can feel connected, supported, and understood. In this safe and empathetic environment, you are free to discuss issues that have been troubling you or going through your mind. Importantly, you will quickly feel that you are not alone in this and that you will have a professional that you trust to guide you along in the process of self-discovery and recovery.
In the initial phase of exploration, your therapist will get to know you better, uncover some of the difficulties and symptoms that you have been experiencing, and understand the issue or issues that you are looking to address. It is often a collaborative process, with rapport and trust being built during the therapy sessions. Along the way, your therapist will also discuss with you about the goals of therapy – for example symptoms that you’d like to address, goals you’d like to achieve, or even just to feel better in general.
The process of therapy allows you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself. For example, someone coping with anxiety may have developed certain unhelpful thinking styles or interpretations of events that can contribute to these symptoms. Therapy can help you understand these connections, and subsequently work together to improve your symptoms and even change some unhelpful thinking styles to build your resilience to stress.
What conditions can benefit?
Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective at helping clients of all ages overcome a range of conditions such as depression, OCD, anxiety and trauma. It has also been effective at helping people deal with stress, grief, and relationship problems.
If you are already seeking help from your doctor or psychiatrist, check in with your doctor to discuss if you can possibly benefit from therapy. Very often, a combination of medical and psychotherapy has been shown to be superior to either alone for many mental health conditions.
"Thinking about Therapy makes me anxious!"
Many people feel nervous or apprehensive about starting therapy. After all, it is never intuitive or easy to confide in a complete stranger, giving him/her the trust and privilege to share in issues or symptoms that have been troubling you for some time. Some of these may be things that make you sad, angry, anxious, afraid or embarrassed about. You may even be apprehensive, or skeptical, about the effectiveness of therapy, how it works, or if it would help you.
However, remember that therapy creates that safe, non-judgemental space for you to voice your thoughts and troubles – even your anxiety over therapy! Your therapist will be able to address this anxiety and any concerns that may have arisen. By addressing this anxiety and being open about your concerns over therapy will go a long way in building up a trusting therapeutic relationship.
Many techniques, with the same goals
You may have read about many different types of therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy and the likes. Many therapists incorporate different techniques in order to cater to your particular situation. Nonetheless, it is useful to know about some of these techniques in order to better-understand what you and your therapist may be working towards.
Join us at the next installment of Mind Care News as we take you through an introduction to some of these therapeutic techniques!