Although current perceptions are changing many people have the misconception that psychotherapy is only for people who are “crazy”. In fact, though psychotherapy is used effectively to treat mental illness, it is more commonly used by individuals looking for new ways to address everyday life stressors. You may have noticed that you have developed patterns of thinking, behaving or relating that are not working anymore – or maybe they never did. Psychotherapy can help you understand and change those patterns.
Another damaging misunderstanding is the belief that when you are experiencing anxiety, depression or other symptoms of stress you should just “pull yourself up by your boot straps and tough it out.” Current medical research demonstrates that untreated psychological distress can lead to hypertension, increased risk of heart attack, dementia, and many other serious physical problems. Sometimes, early detection and treatment of depression can shorten the length of treatment. In addition, depression is the second leading cause of disability after musculoskeletal problems. If you are currently taking medication for psychological symptoms, research has shown that psychotherapy in addition to the medication is more effective than medication alone.
Psychotherapy is a unique relationship between the client and therapist in which the client is the focus of both parties’ full attention. Emotions, thoughts and behaviors are reviewed in order to understand and perhaps change. Private sessions are usually held weekly at a regular time. Depending on the issues to be examined, therapy may be completed in a short or extended time period.
Do you need therapy?
Some of the reasons individuals seek psychotherapy are listed below. If you are experiencing distress from any of the following, psychotherapy may be helpful for you.
- Dissatisfaction in interpersonal relationships;
- Difficulty managing and expressing feelings such as anger, sadness, guilt, or fear;
- Giving too much and not getting enough, at work or at home;
- Dislike of yourself or low self esteem;
- Preoccupations that interfere with functioning at work or in relationships;
- Difficulty effectively communicating thoughts, feelings and desires;
- Past or current trauma such as abuse, illness, injury, or loss;
- Life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth of child, death of loved one, relocation, or retirement;
- Significant change in appetite, sleep habits, sex drive, or energy level;
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty, unable to experience joy or motivation;
- Making tough decisions;
- Difficulty dealing with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.