Why Psychotherapy?

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.

A varied range of factors lead a person to weigh the option of a therapy. Sometimes, there is a prolonged sense of hopelessness and void that forces them to lose all hope in life. They have a tendency to give up on life and become extremely vulnerable. The emotional distress becomes an obstacle to their everyday lives and their performances in the various fields deteriorate. Their way of living becomes extremely aggressive and they may resort to drinking alcohol on a regular basis, which, in turn, is detrimental to their health. Such aggressive behaviors can pose a threat to others including family and friends.

The next question that arises is that to what extent is the therapy effective. Many studies and researches have shown that psychotherapy is effective to a considerable degree and consequently helps to reduce one’s depression and anxiety levels. There is a decrease in the symptoms as well, which generally include pain, fatigue, and nausea. It has also been seen that therapy results in a higher survival time in heart surgeries and among cancer patients. It has a positive effect on the body’s immune system, which helps in motivating the patient in a positive manner. Studies also assert that the emotional and physical health are intertwined and psychotherapy can have a positive effect on the overall health of a patient.

There are other studies that indicate that people who undergo treatment are far better off than the untreated individuals. One study showed how 50 percent of the patients showed an improvement after eight sessions whereas 75 percent of them showed a positive change at the end of six months. Facts related to the effectiveness regarding children’s therapies are also the same.

The subsequent problem that the patients face is the dilemma of how to find a good psychotherapist. Selecting a therapist is a personal choice as a psychologist who has a very good rapport with one patient might not have the same impact on another. At such an instance, one might get references from family or friends who have had a good experience with a particular therapist earlier. Many state referral services also help patients get in touch with good and licensed psychologists. One’s primary care physician can also help in recommending a good therapist. Lastly, one might check the phone book or the surf the Internet for a good therapist.

One might also take the help of American Psychologists Association’s Psychologist locator. One might end up with more than one lead in such a case. So, to ascertain who to go to, the patient can call up the psychologist and have a chat over the phone. This will help him or her to realize whether the therapist will be helpful to him or her.

Once the patient chooses the therapist, he should now look forward to benefit the most from the therapy. To yield the maximum results, one might keep in mind to communicate very well to the therapist as the relationship between the two is the most important factor. It is a two-way process. The outcome is highly based on the relationship between the two. The therapy will be successful when one attends the sessions regularly. The therapy might include individual, group, or family therapies, too.

Lastly, patients also worry about how to analyze whether the therapy is working well or not. The very first step is to establish one’s goals clearly to the therapist. This will also enable the therapist to understand the problem in an intrinsic manner. The client should state his distress clearly so that the therapist can work toward it. However, the client should keep in mind that some issues take a longer time to become resolved and hence, he should not lose hope.

If, after a few sessions, the client feels alleviation in his mood and state of mind then it can be interpreted as a sign of positive results. However, if the feeling of hopelessness continues then one should directly confront the therapist. At such a point, one might also think of consulting another therapist. But even then, the patient should talk to the initial psychologist first.

Patients undergo a variety of emotions during the therapy. The therapy helps the patient in exploring the inner thoughts and behaviors. One should regularly review the progress with the therapist as reaching one’s primary goal is the most important part of the therapy.