Tag Archives: understanding psychotherapy

Understanding The Benefits of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy has often not gotten the respect it deserves, but this method of healing mental health disorders proved to be very effective owing to the way it takes in the full scope of the human experience and encourages the authentic change in the way client relates to the world and people around him.

Psychotherapists work not only on their patients’symptoms, but on their characters, understanding that character coalesces from both our genetic temperaments and the experiences of our formative years. Psychotherapists understand that when those formative experiences are negative (involving things like abuse and deprivation), our internal environments and our predictions for the future become similarly negative and flawed, leading to the development of mental illness.

Psychotherapy effectively analyzes the mental “play”that the patient has (involving people as “characters”, imagined scenarios, plots, etc.) finding where it is problematic and why, and encouraging the patient to mourn the original pain that caused these problems. Once this pain has been mourned, the patient can dismantle the problematic play and write a new, more positive one in its place—something which medication alone cannot ever accomplish for the patient.

Too many mental health professionals treat mental illness as simply a medical problem, not taking into account that it is, like all human suffering, also a human problem. This is an inherently narrow and incomplete way of looking at psychiatric symptoms; no human suffering can be properly understood without also examining the human condition and the human experience, including everything from relationship struggles, to parental abuse, to questioning the meaning of life, to toxic coping mechanisms, and much more.

Why Psychotherapy is Not a Quick Fix

We live at a fast pace. We want it fast and done with immediate results. We want easy solutions that come in the form of a pill. And when it hurts, we just want it to stop or feel numb until it disappears. But it doesn’t work like that in psychotherapy. Why can’t psychotherapy be a band-aid like everything else out there?

Last month I took professional training on psychological and educational testing from Dr. Tali Shenfield, so I asked her this question. Her answer: Sometimes, you can “stop the pain” and fix apparent problems in just a couple of sessions but it wouldn’t last. Because you just can’t sweep the dirt under the rug and not expect it to blow up in your face one day.

The diagram “Being Defensive” at the bottom of this post is the best visual representation of psycho-therapeutic view of the person, looking at this diagram you can immediately understand why the path to “real you”  takes so much time.

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.