Psychotherapy involves the use of talk, conducted and guided by a professional in the field. The purpose of psychotherapy is wide-ranging and depends on the condition(s) being treated and the goals of the treatment. Psychotherapy can address troublesome thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and functional problems that may arise from these issues.
Psychotherapy has been proven effective for most mental health conditions. There are many types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic and interpersonal therapy. The types used may depend on the problems and goals for treatments, and very often, a mix of therapy types are used together.
One of the key aspects of psychotherapy is the relationship between therapist and client. A strong bond is associated with better outcomes. A solid therapeutic alliance is important for exploring both present and past experiences and concerns. Psychotherapy is like a journey: you can go as far and as deeply as you want, or you may prefer short-term, focused work.
Psychotherapy can be successfully combined with other types of treatment, including medications. And it does not have to take forever! In some cases, a course of 6-12 sessions of weekly therapy can successfully meet the treatment goals. Other cases may take much longer, and in many instances, can be utilized off and on as needed and determined between the therapist and the client.
The quality of therapist training and education can make a huge difference in therapy outcomes. We are very fortunate to have a team of outstanding therapist clinicians here at NeuroPsych Center.
Your progress in therapy should not be ambiguous or hidden. At the start of your work together, the therapist needs to collaborate with you to develop a treatment plan that will guide care. The treatment plan should be reviewed regularly to evaluate progress. There may be times that this guide needs to be rewritten or updated based on new or changing concerns. You should have open and transparent conversations about how you feel progress is going, and your therapist should invite your feedback on how they are meeting your needs.
Every person’s treatment plan is unique. Many factors are considered, starting with a strong understanding of the underlying condition(s) being addressed. Once that is established, the actual treatment options are discussed with you, including the risks and benefits of each. Other factors should also be weighed, including the severity of the condition(s), the potential response time to each treatment choice, and the success rates of each choice.. A combination of psychotherapy and medication may offer the highest success rate in some cases, as they can be synergistic. For instance, an antidepressant can improve concentration, energy, and sleep, which then improves a person’s ability to engage in effective therapy. A referral to one of our psychiatrists or psychiatry nurse practitioners can always be arranged for further evaluation, at your request or on the recommendation from your therapist. Ultimately, you are always in control of your treatment choices. Remember, there may be other treatment modalities to be considered in conjunction with psychotherapy, including EMDR, TMS, or even combinations of therapy (individual, group, couples/marital).
One of the biggest misconceptions is that talking cannot really accomplish anything. This may stem from stereotypes found in popular media, or hearing about others’ poor experiences in therapy. Effective therapy takes effort from both the therapist and the individual and should be goal-oriented. It may include homework, practicing new ways of thinking and doing, writing exercises, role-playing, and other activities.
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and a psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but in the therapist’s office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team, but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission. State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
• Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
• If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threatened to harm another person.