Psychotherapy: An Overview

Psychotherapy: An Overview

If one really thinks about it, the 21st century is riddled with all kinds of psychological problems. You hear of depression, suicides, cutting, substance abuse, and the like, running rampant in the world. Every individual has faced some kind of complication more than once in his life, be it troubles at home, in the workplace, or within any other site of social interaction. Sometimes such issues are intensified so much that one cannot help but feel as though the light at the end of the tunnel is but a mere fallacy. You feel lonely, betrayed, and above all, develop a cynical perspective of life. There seems to be no hope left.

The belief that you are the only one with insurmountable burdens is not true. You aren’t alone!

Various statistics can give a broader understanding of the prevalence of such troubled individuals. The National Institute of Mental Health, for example, has stated that more than a quarter of the adults living in America suffer from mental disorders such as depression or anxiety, just to name a few. Other than these, a variety of common, everyday life issues, like unemployment, peer pressure, death of a loved one, relationship break ups, and perhaps something as superficial as appearance and weight may acquire a level that could be crippling to the very person’s well-being. This wide array of difficulties may have varying time scales. Some could be short term hindrances whereas others could be occurring for a long time.

This is where psychotherapy steps in. It enables people of all ages to lead happier and more constructive lives. The person who helps you overcome such problems is called a psychologist. This particular individual employs a variety of scientifically validated methods and approaches, which he or she finds most apt to your current situation.

The field of psychotherapy, in a nutshell, is a strictly confidential treatment centered on the relationship between the patient and the psychologist. The latter is unbiased, neutral, and creates an atmosphere that supports and encourages you to openly talk and share your problems without hesitation. The two actors in this setting then work together toward identifying problem areas and developing coping mechanisms that would best help the client. It sets you on a path of holistic healing.

The surfeit of myths and misconceptions can prevent one from seeking the help they need. One becomes hesitant to even broach the topic. However, if you truly desire to overcome your plight, it is important to shed your inhibitions and get past them.

Let’s assume someone is depressed. It is as though this particular individual has died. That word, however, does not have the same connotation as the one we are aware of. It means that their spirit has been crushed to death and the person’s very essence has been destroyed by the social expectations we so casually burden one with. He or she falls down into this state of sadness, that is so difficult to climb out of and if left unchecked, may just lead to dire consequences. If someone ever finds themselves in this kind of a desolated state of mind, it is so very important to seek psychotherapy. It is not only depression for which help is needed. If you are facing any kind of difficulty, in any aspect of either your professional or personal life, and cannot seem to find any resolution of the problem, it is worthwhile to go to a psychologist and ask for aid.

To efficiently help one’s client, a psychologist needs to devise a strategy. This is provided by the various methodologies in the field of psychotherapy. This provides a template, which is then followed but its execution can differ for various reasons. For example, a psychologist’s area of expertise vastly influences the kind of therapy he or she imparts. Cognitive behavioral therapy entails a practical approach in solving problems. In this, one is told to directly face the thing or event that causes discomfort. A man experiencing a fear of elevators may be asked to overcome his phobia by pressing elevator buttons as an initial step to overcome the hurdle. The psychologist can also assign you an assortment of tasks like maintain a diary and jotting down your reactions and thoughts to the issue at hand as and when they occur. This helps the patient know more about his problem and how to affectively cope with them.

On the other hand, psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches emphasize on talking rather than on hands-on activities. Here, the client indulges in the method of free association, i.e., he or she speaks freely without interruption, which enables both the person and the psychologist to pin-point the root causes of the problem.

In common practice, psychologists do not stick to just one particular approach. Instead, they opt to combine certain elements of the various known psychotherapeutic methodologies. This they do according to what they believe is apt and fitting to the needs of the client.

However, before seeking any kind of help, some background checking and research would help immensely. It is important to know whether the psychologist will be able to help you and whether his or her area of specialization within the field of psychotherapy is most suitable. Ultimately, the answer lies in the fact that the healing process begins the very moment you accept your limitations and realize the need to move forward.


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