Psychotherapy is a mental health treatment that uses talk therapy instead of medication to help people overcome obstacles, change their way of thinking, and process their emotions. Many people turn to psychotherapy because they don’t want to take medications or mood changing drugs but they need a little help processing things, or changing unhealthy habits, or they just need someone to talk to during times of great stress. Luckily today, there are many psychotherapy providers available to help people through chronic mental health problems or simply just a rough patch in their life.
How Psychotherapy Works
This type of mental health treatment is solution focused and aims to help people understand why they think the way they do, act the way they do, and have the beliefs that they have. Once you understand the thought patterns that are influencing your behavior and decisions you can work with a psychotherapist to change those habits and thoughts patterns to healthier and more productive habits and beliefs.
Talking through your problems can also improve your communication skills which can make all the relationships in your life better. Developing healthy thought patterns and good communication skills can set you up for success and to have a life that will give you the kind of happiness and fulfillment that you have always wanted.
Why It Works
Talk therapy may sound simple but the change it will make in your life is profound. Being able to identify, name, and talk about your unhealthy habits and the beliefs that have been holding you back throughout your life is a powerful tool for change. You will start to notice your thoughts and your life changing swiftly after starting this kind of therapy. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to try and figure out where your negative patterns and beliefs came from and it can be difficult to start new habits but the changes that will occur in your life as a result of therapy are worth the struggle.
Ultimately psychotherapy works because it isn’t a quick fix. When you are engaged in meaningful therapy with a professional you are making slow and steady changes that will change the way that you think and act forever. Those healthy habits will become part of your life and those new thought patterns will stay with you long after you have stopped therapy. This type of therapy may last for a few sessions or it may last for months depending on the depth of the issues that you want to cover but it gives you the tools that you need to make healthy and permanent changes in your life that will set you up for successful relationships and good communication in the future.
What Psychotherapy Is Used For
This type of therapy is behavior based and won’t change things like a chemical imbalance in the brain. That type of condition requires drug therapy to manage. But psychotherapy is very useful for treating:
- Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder
- Addictions, such as alcoholism, drug dependence or compulsive gambling
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia
- Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder or dependent personality disorder
Psychotherapy can also help people develop and maintain better personal and interpersonal skills like:
- Conflict resolution
- Stress management
- Anger management
- Coping with major life changes and stresses
What to Expect
In your first therapy session you will just talk with your psychotherapist and get to know one another to see if you are a good fit to work together. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your therapist and feel like you can comfortably open up to that person. Don’t be afraid to make appointments with several different psychotherapists to see which one you think you will work the best with.
At your first appointment your therapist will discuss with you what your goals for therapy are, why you are seeking treatment, and how committed you are to making big changes in your life. This is a good time for you to ask questions about therapy and find out if your therapist has experience dealing with the types of issues that you want to work on. Don’t hold back anything from the therapist. Their job is to help you and in order to do that job they need to know everything that you’re dealing with, what you want to get out of this type of treatment, and if you’re willing to do the work that’s necessary to change your way of thinking and your behaviors.
Your therapist won’t be able to give you a time frame for how many sessions you might need because that will depend on your progress as therapy continues so don’t be alarmed if the therapist doesn’t want to give you a firm time frame for treatment. Instead of worrying about how long treatment will take just focus on getting the most that you can out of each session and taking what you learn in therapy and applying it to your daily life so that you can make healthy and positive changes in your life.