Archives for Psychotherapy
When searching for and interviewing a prospective therapist, ask him to tell you about his rate of successful outcomes. A therapist should be able to tell you what percentage (approximately/in the ball park), of his patients with problems similar to yours (for example, clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, addiction, and so on), have achieved successful outcomes with his help. If you don't have a diagnosis, it still may be helpful to hear from the therapist how his patients have improved.
Some of the insights gleaned from treating the disease of addiction can offer benefits for those in recovery from mental health issues, too.
Q. I want to leave my therapist and maybe find a new one. She wants to talk about why I want to leave. I don't want to pay for another session. Should I schedule a session to fire my therapist or not? A. It depends. The one absolutely rock-solid reason to avoid another session
Is therapy not working for you? Do you feel disappointed in how your therapist and you interact? Do you not seem to be getting to the root of your problems? Do you feel that something is missing? Sometimes in these cases, patients don't know what to do except let therapy drag on until they find a new therapist. Or, they let the feelings of dissatisfaction build up until they reach the point of total frustration and then suddenly quit. Either right away or after a time, they search for someone new. Is there anything you can do to stop this vicious cycle and get the help you want? If you are dissatisfied, you might consider discussing with your therapist the problems with how therapy is going. Tell your therapist why you aren’t happy with therapy or with him (or her). Your genuine feelings should be validated. Your therapist should not be defensive. Give your therapist the chance to correct issues that are alienating you. (Sometimes, your therapist might offer an explanation of why certain processes are in your best interest. Try and stay open to this. You can always discuss anything questionable with a friend, mentor or another therapist.) Remember, you can be your own best advocate.* Preventative Measures One of the best ways to thwart problems is
Your Belief System: The Longer-Shorter Path In the last post, we focused on coping skills and strategies, which are the emotional scaffolding upon which your life reconstruction can begin. In this post we'll discuss your general belief system. This may include beliefs about who you are, how much self-determination you believe you have, spirituality/religious beliefs, what your life is truly about, and so on. These are the foundation upon which your life actually rests. A dysfunctional belief system is a set belief or group of beliefs that impair an individual’s ability to function in a mentally, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and physically healthy manner.
Your Emotional Scaffolding: Developing Coping Skills The systematic, yet personal approach that I believe really works is a combination of the use of proven treatment methods and the therapist’s techniques. Effective therapists primarily use proven treatment methods supported by their own studiously developed personal techniques. Whenever possible (and that is the vast majority of the time), it's important for your therapist to first help you improve—or, if necessary, develop from scratch—your emotional scaffolding comprised of your coping skills and strategies, before digging up and exploring your past.
*Let's begin answering this essential question: What is therapy, really? By definition, psychotherapy is “The treatment of mental or emotional problems by the use of techniques that are tailored to the unique problems and backgrounds of the individual and that may include talk therapy, behavioral modification, medication, and other treatments.” The goal of psychotherapy is to help resolve an individual’s mental and emotional problems and, at the same time, teach that individual how to attain the skills needed to deal with life on life’s terms. Therapy is also an inner journey with the therapist as guide. With a good therapist assisting you, your emotions (what you feel) begin to get in sync with your intellect (what you know). When your head leads and your heart follows, the world becomes an easier, more meaningful place in which to live. Therapy is not about
A therapist I supervise came to me with a case: F. struggles with relationships and socializing. The sensory processing and cognitive issues she's struggled with since childhood cause her to misunderstand or miss social cues. Therefore, her responses to people's words, gestures, or tone of voice often were often wildly inappropriate and misfire. One of the biggest issues for her used to be her inability to read when someone was belittling or bullying her. Her social awkwardness made her an easy target. With the guidance of her counselor as well as support in developing a healthy response to bullying, she began to be able to assert herself and even stand up for herself, too. She learned about healthy boundaries and in cases where she used to get overly involved in other people's lives, especially people who were using and/or abusing her, she began to be able to recognize
Your thoughts and feelings are not, as some suggest, your interface with reality. They are your reality. That's why understanding that you can change your thoughts and feelings is so important, because once you believe you can change them, you give yourself the freedom to do so. Gaining mastery over your thoughts and feelings changes your life. Of course, this is easier said than done.