Psychotherapy: Things to Keep in Mind

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 is psychotherapy useful?

Psychologists specialized in the field of psychotherapy or other types of psychological approach are highly accomplished professionals who have know-how in various domains of human behaviour and mental health treatment. They help people in changing negative thoughts and actions into positive ones.

With the help of scientifically validated procedures, thoughts, opinions, and actions are altered into more desirable ones. Psychotherapy is, therefore, a collaborative work between two individuals- the patient and the psychologist. The patient has a supportive setting to talk freely and the psychologist maintains his confidentiality.

Where to find a psychologist?

Calling the state psychological association or your area’s community mental health center would be helpful. Even consulting the local university’s department of psychology or asking close family and friends might yield useful contacts. You can also make inquiries at your synagogue, church, or APA’s Psychologist Locator facility.

Things to consider before going for one

Harmony must be established between the psychologist and his client for fruitful output. More than the psychologist’s credentials and proficiency, the degree of personal comfort is more significant.  Having a good rapport would really facilitate the process and yield quick results.

Some inquiries to be made before selection:

  • Is he or she a licensed psychologist? How long has he practiced in this field?
  • How does he mitigate feelings of anxiety, depression, and problems related to marriage, workplace, and others? What is his expertise in this niche?
  • His domains of expertise should be mentioned clearly. For instance, child related.
  • What sort of treatment does he prefer and its level of effectiveness.
  • What is his fee per session? Is there a sliding-scale fee plan?
  • What kinds of insurances does he accept? Does he seek direct billing or compensation from the insurance company? Is he affiliated to any managed care establishments? Is there the facility of Medicare insurance?


Today, a lot of insurance companies offer mental health coverage policies. It is also applicable to people registered in HMOs or other managed care policies. Therefore, you should enquire whether your company sponsors it or not and if so, how much and what limitations apply.

However, you will have to make out-of-pocket payments for psychological services if your company doesn’t offer any health insurance policy or employee assistance plan. You can go for a sliding-scale fee plan based on your income in such a situation. Another great source of mental health services is Government-sponsored care programs, such as Medicare for senior citizens and insurance plans to Government employees and military workers, in addition to their dependents. Lastly, you can seek help from community mental health centers available in your locality too.

What credentials should your psychologist have?

  • Generally, a psychologist has seven to ten years of education training as well as research experience before attaining a doctoral degree.
  • As part of their preparation, they have to finish a clinical internship in some hospital and organized health setting, along with a minimum of 1 year post-doctoral training. This combination of clinical internship and doctoral-level training differentiates a psychologist from other health care workers.
  • They must have a license from the jurisdiction of the state where they practice. These licensure laws are supposed to regulate the quantity of qualified practitioners of psychology in the state. If he/she wants to get it renewed, he/she has to demonstrate consistent competence and upgraded knowledge of the field.

Would consulting a psychologist really prove to be helpful?

According to some research conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine, different forms of psychotherapy have different effects on reducing a patients’ depression, fretfulness, and other related symptoms like agony, lethargy, and nausea. Physical and emotional health is intrinsically related and seeking psychotherapy can really mend a person’s general health.

There is also conclusive evidence that people who treated their psychological problems are much better off than people who have left it untreated. Although 50% patients were strikingly enriched after eight to ten sessions, 75% patients improved after six months of therapy.

How to know if therapy is effective?

At the beginning of therapy, the first aim should be to create clear goals with the psychologist and mention clearly what the trouble is. Although some may be trying to remove feelings of futility accompanying depression, others may be trying to mitigate some fear that is unsettling their daily life. Because goals have varying degrees of accomplishment, the points of progress should be noted down regularly.

It is always considered to be a good sign if you have feelings of relief, hope, and optimism. People generally go through wide arrays of emotions and opinions while undergoing therapy. However, it has to be accompanied by the discussion of painful and disturbing experiences so that the psychologist gains a complete view of the picture you are going through.

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