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. 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 other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-directing damaging patterns, and overcoming whatever challenges you face.
How can therapy help me? A number of benefits are available from participating in psychotherapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values;
What is therapy like? Every therapy session is unique and caters to each individual and their specific goals. It is standard for therapists to discuss the primary issues and concerns in your life during therapy sessions. It is common to schedule a series of weekly sessions, where each session lasts around fifty minutes. Therapy can be short-term, focusing on a specific issue, or longer-term, addressing more complex issues or ongoing personal growth. There may be times when you are asked to take certain actions outside of the therapy sessions, such as reading a relevant book or keeping records to track certain behaviors. It is important to process what has been discussed and integrate it into your life between sessions. For therapy to be most effective you must be an active participant, both during and between the sessions. People seeking psychotherapy are willing to take responsibility for their actions, work towards self-change and create greater awareness in their lives. Here are some things you can expect out of therapy:
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
In some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what's best for you. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy uses therapeutic imagery and suggestion to achieve an alert and highly receptive state of mind that is compatible with your goals. In Hypnotherapy, you are deeply relaxed and have the opportunity to create, through therapeutic imagery, a personalized set of tools for behavioral change and well being. Hypnotic approaches have been widely recognized as effective methods for treating trauma, depression, and PTSD as well as for pain control and pain relief. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines hypnosis as an effective clinical procedure: “Hypnosis involves learning how to use your mind and thoughts to manage emotional distress (e.g., anxiety, stress), unpleasant physical symptoms (e.g., pain, nausea), or to help you change certain habits or behaviors (e.g., smoking, substance abuse, overeating). Hypnosis has been demonstrated to have a wide range of benefits, from simply improving symptoms or difficulties to eliminating them.”
What is Post Traumatic Stress?
Post Traumatic Stress is a normal reaction to a traumatic life event. Treatment for PTS should provide a strong educational component to help trauma survivors understand how the mechanisms of PTS affect their feelings. PTS related memories (nonintegrated memories) tend to be more disorganized and difficult for the brain to integrate than other memories. They can take on a life of their own so that events that do not constitute an immediate danger can nonetheless trigger a trauma survivor to have a full-fledged threat response. PTS can include symptoms such as flashbacks of what was seen, felt, and heard at the time of the trauma, a heightened sense of danger, avoidance behaviors, low self esteem, fear of the future, loss of a sense of meaning in life, irritability, nightmares, guilt, disrupted relationships, and substance abuse. Success in trauma treatment is measured by the ability to respond to a traumatic memory without anxiety and dissociation. Dissociation is a mental structure in which a traumatic life event is blocked from consciousness, resulting in disruptions of memory, awareness, identity, or perceptions. Pathological parenting causes children to dissociate, and children use dissociation to cope with shock and regulated stress.
What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?
Developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in 1974, NLP is a branch of psychology that focuses on human information processing and how language, eye-movements, and memory interact to produce behaviors. The essence of what Bandler and Grinder proposed is that people move their eyes systematically, and, in particular, the direction of each eye movement is related to the sensory content of a thought or memory. The idea of using deliberate eye movements to deactivate the emotional content of a traumatic memory comes from NLP. The developers of NLP supposed that if thoughts could influence the direction of eye movements, perhaps deliberate eye movements could change the content of thoughts.
What is Eye-Movement-Based Therapy
Eye-movement-based therapy uses directed eye movements to treat psychological trauma. The fundamental concept underlying eye movement therapy is that symptoms arise when traumatic events are emotionally unresolved but can be eliminated by fully processing the memory. Proponents of eye-movement treatment take the position that if the emotional content of thoughts can influence the direction of eye movements, perhaps deliberate eye movements can deactivate the sensory content of traumatic memories.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
Developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., EMDR is an eye-movement-based therapy. The mechanisms in EMDR are still not clear, but it is among the most actively supported modalities utilizing psychological exposure, with more than 100 peer-reviewed studies establishing its efficacy. A classic study by Bessel van der Kolk et al. (2007) showed that 76% of adult-onset PTSD patients were entirely asymptomatic six months after EMDR treatments.
EMDR (and other eye-movement-based therapies) originated with the work of Milton H. Erickson, M.D., the founders of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, and Robert Dilts. Robert Dilts is credited with mapping eye movements as accessing cues. He supposed that each eye movement (or accessing cue) was related to the sensory content of a thought or a memory. Dilts introduced the term "Eye Movement Pattern Interruption" in 1981.
Eye-movement-based therapy was further refined by Steve Andreas, M.A. and Connirae Andreas, Ph.D. when they conceived the use of directed eye movement and therapeutic dissociation as a way to reduce the anxiety associated with phobias, PTSD, and critical incident stress. The Andreas' introduced the term "Eye Movement Integration (EMI)." In "Eye Movement Integration" Therapy, eye movement cues are mapped to identify which parts of the brain are being activated (or stimulated) as the eyes move in various directions at any given moment in time. Bandler and Grinder reported that as people move their eyes, the patterns can indicate the kind of thinking or mental processing they are doing. Our understanding of Information processing, psychological trauma, and eye-movement-based-therapy has undergone extensive clinical investigation over the years, which investigation continues to date.
What is EMI?
Eye Movement Integration Therapy predates EMDR and is often compared to EMDR. The nature of the eye movements and their relationship to thought patterns is entirely different in each case, however. According to EMI developer, Danie Beaulieu, Ph.D. there is a fundamental difference between EMI and EMDR. Beaulieu explains that in EMDR there is no indication of a connection between the range and direction of eye movements and the nature of the material being processed. EMDR focuses on conscious cognitive restructuring, while in EMI the focus is on the multisensory integration of nonintegrated trauma-related memories. Also, Beaulieu explains that EMDR uses lateral saccades similar to rapid eye movement (REM), while in EMI smooth pursuit eye movement in multiple directions and patterns are used. Moreover, in EMDR, the eye movements are done as rapidly as possible, within the client’s tolerance, while in EMI the speed and range of the movements are much slower, and done at the pace that the client prefers. The underlying premise for the use of each type of eye movement is entirely different in the two therapies as well. In EMI, the client and the therapist work together to identify specific quadrants of the visual field that allow the client to make contact with either a highly resourceful state or an intense reexperience of the trauma. While this is not always the case, when it occurs the therapist can guide the clients gaze alternately into those specific quadrants (and corresponding region of the mental representation) that need to be linked to integrate the traumatic material.
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique
Developed by Gary Craig, Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of energy psychology derived from healing traditions of ancient Eastern cultures. EFT uses a series of tapping points (acupoints) on the skin that correspond to acupuncture points. Historically, acupuncture points were believed to work by influencing the body's electrical properties, altering neurotransmitters, and stimulating the release of a variety of hormones that help the body to respond to injury and stress. EFT acupoint stimulation is believed to deactivate trauma-related memories or cues (threat responses) and help to resolve a wide variety of problems, both emotional and physical. The EFT tapping points appear to have distinctive electrical properties, including lower impedance, as contrasted with other areas of the skin, leading to speculation that they are conduits for electrical signals to the brain. Clinical outcomes with war veterans and disaster survivors after receiving EFT protocols have been promising, but inconclusive. The intended effect of EFT treatment is for the trauma-related memory or cue that triggers an acute threat response to no longer trigger that response.
Is therapy confidential?
In general, the law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. No information is disclosed without prior written permission from the client. However, there are some exceptions required by law to this rule. Exceptions include:
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