Is Psychotherapy Right for Me? Seeking out psychotherapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with mood issues such as anxiety and depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected life changes such as divorce, chronic disease diagnosis, or sudden loss. Many seek the guidance of a psychotherapist as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a psychotherapist can help provide insight, support and new strategies for many types of life challenges. Below are common questions asked by those seeking psychotherapy.
I can talk to a trusted friend or family member for free- why pay someone? If you have a trusted wise and understanding friend or family member who is willing to listen to your difficulties, you may not need professional help . But often that's not enough. You may want or need a professional unbiased person to help you understand the nature of what's happening with you and guide you into workable solutions. Your friend or family member more than likely does not have the skills to do this.
Is psychotherapy for emotional and social problems effective? It is. How much primarily depends on you and your therapist. It is important to share your difficulties in a serious, sincere, and open manner. If you are honest and open you can expect to receive the best support and guidance possible and the likelihood for positive results increases.
Will what I talk about in sessions be kept between me and my psychotherapist ? Confidentiality is the cornerstone of psychotherapy and your right to confidentiality is taken very seriously. Professional associations have set guidelines in place as well as there being state/federal laws to ensure that your information is held in the strictest of confidence. If your psychotherapy will be covered by insurance than some basic information will need to be disclosed to gain coverage. All of your rights related to confidentiality in psychotherapy is explained in detail in the Client Service Agreement If you have any questions beyond this you may discuss them in person with your therapist.
Which is better, therapy or medication? Both medication and therapy have been shown to be effective in treating mental health issues. The type of treatment used depends on the nature of the problem. Generally, medication is often prescribed for conditions known to have strong biological components, such as major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or anxiety related disorders. Research suggests that use of medication and psychotherapy together may be the best approach, especially for more severe conditions. Medication can offer relief from clinical symptoms, and psychotherapy enables the individual to gain knowledge about their condition and how to manage it. This combined approach can offer the fastest, longest-lasting treatment results for those with chronic/severe conditions . If you have questions about whether you would benefit from medication in conjunction with psychotherapy you may ask your therapist but be aware that it's important to ask your PCP and/or Psychiatrist about this since they specialize in the prescribing of psychotropic medications.
How are crises situations managed when I meet with a psychotherapist in private practice? Your therapist will intervene and attempt to diminish a personal or mental health crises when possible. If the mental health crisis involves danger to self or others you may be referred to a local crisis center or the local hospital emergency room as part of the support necessary to alleviate the current crises.
Should I see a male or female therapist? Research on therapist gender and therapy outcome has failed to identify any direct relationship between the two. Factors such as warmth, empathy, and skill level are much more related to positive outcome than therapist gender. However, the nature of your particular problem as well as your own preferences may lead you to seek out a male or female therapist. Therapist gender preference is a personal choice and an issue you should raise with your therapist if it feels relevant to you.
Can an individual and therapist have a relationship outside of psychotherapy? No. The therapist ends up knowing a great deal about the client but the client will know little of the intimate details about the therapist. Because of this knowledge/power differential it's important to keep the relationship within the boundaries of the psychotherapy relationship. This does not mean a client cannot or would not have any contact with the therapist outside of the therapy relationship. This is especially true in small towns where social contact may be inevitable. However, it is generally not a good idea to seek therapy from someone you know personally or with whom you may have another relationship (e.g., business interest, friendship). In fact, the ethics of most professions prohibit their members from engaging in these types of relationships.