Therapy can help people live healthier, happier and more productive lives. The therapist provides a safe environment for you to discuss your problems. There are many different approaches to treatment that your therapist may utilize depending on your needs and goals. These approaches will help resolve the issue that brings you to therapy and provide you with new skills so that you will be better able to cope with similar issues in the future.
When should you consider going to therapy?
You may be nervous about trying therapy; many people are. But any time your quality of life is not what you'd like it to be, seeing a clinician may help. There are different life circumstances that may prompt you to go to therapy. These circumstances can vary from person to person, but there are certain things you can look for to know if you could benefit from therapy.
According to the American Psychological Association, the following are signs that you could benefit from therapy:
You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness or sadness.
Your problems aren't improving despite assistance from your family and friends.
You find it difficult to complete tasks at work or to carry out everyday activities.
You're usually worried, expecting the worst, or always on edge.
Your actions are harming you or others.
What should you expect?
Don't worry if you're feeling anxious or nervous about your first session; these are normal feelings to have during the first few sessions. Your clinician will know how to get things started and will guide each session and the clinician, or our front office staff, will go over any questions you may have, such as those pertaining to scheduling, fees, and confidentiality. Then the clinician will begin the session by asking about why you decided to come in. This will help to identify any problems you may want to discuss and focus on during your sessions.
Your clinician will want to know some personal information as well, including personal history of psychological problems and how any problems you may have are affecting your everyday life, including your appetite, sleeping habits and other behaviors. They will also want to know who is part of your support system, such as family, friends and coworkers. It may take more than one session to go through all of this information. Your clinician won't want to rush this part of the process as they are getting to know you and understand your reasons for seeking therapy.
While your clinician is obtaining a full history, you will work together to create your treatment plan. By the end of your first few sessions, you should have an understanding of your problem, a game plan, and a new sense of hope.
How can you make the most out of therapy?
Therapy is an active collaboration between you and your clinician. One of the most important parts of successful therapy is the relationship that is established between you and your clinician, also known as the therapeutic alliance. This alliance is strengthened when you work together with the clinician to achieve your treatment plan goals that were set in the beginning of your sessions. Being an active participant in the therapy process will help to achieve your goals sooner rather than later. Your clinician is a great resource for books or websites if you're interested in learning more about achieving your treatment plan goals. Utilizing what you learn in each session during your everyday life will help you to better understand coping mechanisms, get through therapy quicker, and maintain the progress after therapy ends.
How long does therapy take?
Therapy takes as long as you and clinician decide it will take. Each person's situation is different, which means that for some people it may take 8 weeks, 6 months, or longer. Length of sessions is entirely dependent upon the difficulty of the problem and your comfort level with ending therapy. You and your clinician will decide together when you're ready to stop therapy. Part of ending therapy is completing the treatment goals you and your clinician originally established.
When therapy ends, you may want to do a follow-up appointment a couple of weeks after your last session to check your progress. If all is still well, you'll be able to wrap things up with your clinician at this session. You may feel that later on in life, after facing a new challenge, the skills you learned in therapy may need some refreshing. You and your clinician can schedule a tune-up session that can reinforce what you learned last time in therapy.
Please see: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-psychotherapy.aspx for more information.
Partners in Change: Psychological & Community Services, PLC
720 W. Wackerly Rd, Suite 11
Midland, MI 48640
866-832-2165 or 989-832-2165