Tag Archives: choosing psychotherapy

The Emphasis on Diagnosis in Mental Health

Prior to the turn of the 20th century mental health disorders weren’t viewed as something that belongs to the medical domain. Then came the work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and other notable psychiatrists. This triggered what some call the modern era of mental health. As a result of this paradigm shift, mental health conditions came to be viewed as a part of the spectrum of medical conditions.

With this view of mental health conditions came the application of the standardized medical model which includes:

  1. Observation: The collecting of pertinent information regarding the bio/psycho/social aspects of the patient.
  2. Assessment: A review of observations, including interviews and testing results in a collection of data.
  3. Diagnosis: Based upon the data collected a systematic process the most appropriate diagnosis is made.
  4. Treatment: Usually driven by diagnosis, treatment for the condition is introduced.

As treatment begins, typically one of the most common questions asked by a client is, “What do I have Doc?” For many the answer comes quickly and often easily. Others can present as a moving target, making it difficult to establish a diagnosis.

On a more cautionary note, it must also be acknowledged that there are mental health professionals who prefer not to communicate the diagnosis to clients. For some it is viewed as labeling the client and depersonalizing them to being a symptom rather than a person. They feel that applying standardized medical model of doctor-patient relationship to mental health conditions is detrimental for therapeutic effects. That is why mental health patients most often called “clients”. Whether you agree or not the diagnostics remain a critical part of treatment, whether it’s communicated to clients or not.

Why Psychotherapy?

Millions of Americans have benefited from consulting a psychologist and going through therapy. It has helped them overcome depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. However, in spite of the positive results provided by psychotherapy, many people still find it uncomfortable to consult a therapist or in some cases, to continue and sustain the therapy.

The most important question revolves around the fact as to why one should consider consulting a therapist. To understand this, one must first understand what the therapy is all about. Therapy is a partnership and a professional relationship between an individual and the therapist, who aims at dissolving the client’s distress. The therapist is usually a trained individual who is licensed to help people. He is trained to understand the client’s feelings and help them in altering their behavior in a positive direction. Facts provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration show that about one-thirds of the adults in the United States suffer from substance abuse related problems from a very early age, and, consequently, face emotional distress.  Almost 25 percent of the population suffers from anxiety and depression at one point or another.

How Effective is Psychotherapy?

According to the American Psychological Association, ‘Psychotherapy’ includes any of a group of therapies used to treat psychological disorders, focusing on changing faulty behaviors, perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that may be associated with specific disorders. People sometimes question the necessity of consulting a psychotherapist at a point when they can easily talk to their friends or family members about it. This query can be simply satiated by the fact that the therapists are trained professionals who handle situations in novel ways unknown to common people. Rather, untrained individuals can unknowingly cause more damage when trying to provide help.

“Psychotherapy Research” journal quotes a number of studies that have been successful in proving the effectiveness of the therapies. They have indicated that a successful therapy brings about positive changes in people’s lives. This, in turn, facilitates the patient to overcome his distress. The studies indicate that 75% of the patients undergoing psychotherapy show a positive signs of improvement. Some researchers also refer to the fact that an average person who undergoes treatment is in a better state of mind than 80% of those who do not undergo psychotherapy at all. Yet, it is very difficult to evaluate effectiveness of psychotherapy due to variety of mental disorders and individual conditions of patients.

How to Find a Psychotherapist that You Can Trust?

Assuming you have decided to try out psychotherapy, you now need someone who can help you cope with your predicament and how to eventually get out of it. This certain ‘someone’ is called a psychologist. He or she is a trained individual in the field of not just psychotherapy but also other kinds of treatments related to psychological disorders.

Can you trust a psychologist? Yes. Psychologists and psychotherapists undergo intensive training after completing  undergraduate and graduate studies. It is imperative for many to earn a doctoral degree. Overall it takes up to 10 years of studies to become a psychologist or psychotherapist.

Thereafter, they are expected to gain some professional experience for which they could either enroll as an intern at a hospital or in any other supervised health setting. These are the basic requirements that need to be met if they plan to really practice psychotherapy independently. Sometimes, one could also work after obtaining their doctorate. Such a rigorous and dedicated training sets this individual apart from the other types of “well-being experts”.

Psychotherapy: Things to Keep in Mind

In this fast-paced world, where everyone is vying to be on the top, the feeling of depression and anxiety is rather common. A survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that over 30 million Americans seek therapy for various issues beyond their control, such as personal relationship issues, health issues, stress from workplace, some tragic accident, substance abuse, etc. Such losses can be of terrible nature and can ruin the mental health of a person. In those situations, a licensed professional is needed to sort out the problem and bring back the situation to normalcy.

When is therapy necessary?

  • Feeling of helplessness and despondency in spite of social support.
  • Inability to perform daily activities and problem concentrating on work.
  • Intense feeling of anxiety and dreadfulness.
  • Indulgence in self-harming behaviour, like drug abuse or behaviour considered dangerous to others.

How to Choose a Psychologist or Psychotherapist

There are always times when things might not feel right. You may be perplexed, you may not like what is happening around you and you might be disturbed by what happens in your life. This is when you would want an expert to listen and discuss what is plaguing you.

Sometimes, everyday problems can seem beyond the control of a person. People become overwhelmed because of the death of a parent, spouse, or a friend, losing a pet, work and career-related troubles, and many other issues. In such a case, a person needs an outlet; he or she needs to talk to someone to let out these feelings. If such an issue is left untreated for long, there may be chances that a person may be left depressed, anxious, and disturbed. This is when such a person will need help from a trained professional, someone who would listen to them and someone who would be able to give them advice on how to deal with such a situation when they are confronted by it. Someone who will empower them to resolve the problems and take their lives back.

Appointment with the Psychologist

            The very thought of going to a psychologist can be intimidating. You’re about to literally confess almost, if not all, of your intimate thoughts with someone you’ve never met before. You have every right to feel uneasy and skeptical. However, remember that you are not the only one to feel this way. Your sheer will power to conquer this anxiety will help you tremendously and later on in life, you will pat yourself in the back for having taken the bold step. All you have to do is start by making a phone call.

            Psychologists are aware of the turbulent emotions within someone who is yet to make the initial contact. They are used to this and therefore, know how to tackle this situation effectively without making it difficult for you. Once you leave behind your name and contact details, the psychologist would call you. Thereafter, the two actors would discuss the needs of the client and whether or not the psychologist will be capable to help meet them. If he or she can, then an appointment will be set.

Psychotherapy – Movies vs. Reality

Someone suggested that you see a psychologist… Psychologist? No way! After watching all these movies and TV shows, you know what a psychologist is and what this person does. Who doesn’t?! Isn’t he the crazy doc with German accent wearing a large shiny disc on his forehead and an insane grin on his face? Think Jack Nicholson type. Of course, there is also a “boring version” of a psychologist repeating “tell me more about it” and watching the clock… No, I don’t need this one either.

Let’s start with surprising statement that media slightly distorts how psychologists work. Let’s have a look at movie inspired wisdom and reality.

What movies make you believe?

Mentally unstable and deranged people wearing straightjackets are the only ones to go to psychotherapy.