Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a divorce or work transition. Many seek the advice of counsel as they pursue their own personal exploration and growth. Working with a therapist can help provide insight, support, and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their lives.
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through some difficulties you've faced, its wise to seek out support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a well-trained ear for professional assistance. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change. "Good" therapy may provide long-lasting benefits and help you with self-awareness. It can give you needed tools to not entertain self-defeating patterns, thereby redirecting emotional energy to face your personal challenges.
What should a patient look for in a therapist? A patient should interview any prospective therapist. He/she should trust his/her reactions (feelings and thoughts) about being in the "room" with the prospective therapist. Is the therapist empathic about what the patient brings? Is the therapist listening to what the patient says? Does the therapist bring forth a genuine caring attitude with exploring in more depth what the patient may be saying? Does the therapist have an open attitude of not "jumping" to premature conclusions about anything; e.g., cutting off the patient; or making any early statements of "knowing." Can the therapist stay open with the patient to exploration of any and all issues? Has the therapist had post-Master's training beyond graduate school? Only a Certified or Licensed Psychoanalyst is required to have had personal and in depth therapy himself/herself. Such informed professional can then have a better opportunity of "tuning in" self and being with the prospective patient. One cannot take anyone further (emotionally) than one has gone oneself. Does the therapist answer questions posed by prospective patient in an open and respectful manner? Does the therapist regard any and all topics presented by prospective patient as areas of concern without dismissing such topic(s)? Can the therapist not offer advice? What is one mistake most patients make with their therapist/therapy? Patient(s) may "quit" too early if he/she is uncomfortable with the exploration of the therapist. Sometimes a therapist may be blinded by something a patient may bring up (some therapists do not have genuine "real" experiences with the issues a patient brings. Thus, the therapist sometimes kills the treatment prematurely. There are no "bad" patients. There are uninformed therapists. There are topics and issues the therapist does not want to explore (as he/she is uncomfortable). If the therapist is "uncomfortable," one can only multiply the uncomfortable feelings of the patient by 100! Other times a patient assumes a flight into health. Sometimes a patient reaches a comfortable peak in therapy and is too threatened to "go further." He/she then takes a stance where he/she tests the therapist and if the therapist is not skilled sufficiently, forces a rupture in the therapy. An example of this may be found on my web site in an article entitled Therapist to the Therapy. What is one myth in regards to therapy or treatment that you would like to bust? I would like to "bust" the myth that to look into a therapy requires a weak individual. It is just the opposite; e.g., it takes courage to explore oneself. It is a strength rather than a limitation. To put oneself into question is very difficult to do. Therapy is not for anyone who might need it - it is for anyone who might want it. To explore the truth is daring!