Why do people engage in therapy?
People enter into therapy for many reasons. Some need to respond to unexpected changes in their lives while others seek self-exploration and personal growth. When coping skills are complicated by guilt, doubt, anxiety, or despair, therapy can help. Therapy can provide support, improve problem-solving skills, and enhance one’s ability to cope with difficulties such as depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, bereavement, spiritual conflicts, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work toward changing themselves, and creating greater awareness in their lives.
What can I expect in a therapy session?
During sessions, you are expected to talk about the primary concerns and issues in your life. A session lasts 50 minutes, but some people request longer sessions. Usually, weekly sessions are best. Some people who are in crisis or extreme distress need more than one session per week, at least until the crisis passes. During the time between sessions, it is beneficial to continue to think about and work on what was discussed. At times, you may be asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or recording your thoughts and observations about the issues you are dealing with because activities like these can lead to greater insight and self-awareness. For therapy to “work,” you must be an active participant, both during and outside of the therapy sessions.
What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Often it is helpful just to know that someone understands what you are feeling. Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you toward a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. 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:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself and your personal goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Finding new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications skills – learning how to listen to others and how to speak so others hear you
- Getting “unstuck” from unhealthy patterns – breaking old behaviors and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence