Psychotherapy is a form of mental health treatment that is provided by licensed mental health professionals.
The goal of psychotherapy is to alleviate, or resolve symptoms from mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, trauma, stress in general, or interpersonal conflict whether it is between, partners, friends, or parents and children.
Psychotherapy intends to offer relief from emotional distress so that people can become less anxious and depressed and experience an improved quality of life and ability to handle life stressors effectively.
In psychotherapy, clients work with their therapist to find solutions to the specific problems they are experiencing.
Psychotherapists are experts in mental health who are trained to utilize research based best-practice models to help clients modify their ways of thinking and acting that prevent them from fully enjoying life and being happy.
Your psychotherapy treatment will begin with an assessment phase, which is very similar to a doctor's check-up.
In this phase, you and your therapist will get to know each other, set treatment goals and decide on the therapy modalities that are the best ways to address the problem you are experiencing.
Your therapist will also ask you a lot of questions about your background and history, childhood and significant life experiences that have shaped who you are today, and the way you view the world. This is very important part of your treatment, and will help your therapist do the best they can in supporting your healing.
At this phase, your therapist will also give you a lot of information about what types of treatments are available, their risks and benefits, how they work, and what his/her specialties are.
This process is a collaborative effort which will result in a treatment contract between you and your therapist where each of you have certain roles and responsibilities to fulfill.
Sharing about your struggles, and speaking with friends and family is tremendously helpful, however it is very different from what psychotherapy offers.
While friends and family may be able to offer you some advise and different perspectives, they are not qualified, trained or experienced in understanding and treating psychological problems.
Speaking with friends and family is a reciprocal process where people take turns supporting each other. Often times, and may I add "unfortunately", friends and family may also have their own issues and agenda that they are operating from (consciously or unconsciously) which does not align with your best interest.
The relationship with your psychotherapist is all about getting YOUR needs met, resolving YOUR problems and finding relief for YOUR symptoms.
Psychotherapists are trained to maintain professional boundaries, and are acutely aware and skilled not to bring their personal issues into the therapeutic relationship.
Finally, psychotherapy is a more formal relationship with a commitment to meet on a regular basis as long as necessary to resolve the goals that you and your therapist have identified.
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