Guest author of this blog is Patricia Ariadne, Ph.D, MFT. Please find her information at http://www.drariadne.com. Thank you, Patricia, for your generosity!
Do Only Crazy People See Psychotherapists?
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that, every year, more than a quarter of American adults experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Ordinary people often need help coping with relationship problems, divorce, death of a loved one, serious illness, retirement, and substance abuse. Unfortunately, people are more likely to see a medical specialist when they have a physical injury than a mental health professional about a deep-seated emotional wound. Clearly, the public needs to learn more about psychotherapy: what it is and what it isn’t.
- Seeking psychotherapy does not mean that you are crazy or that you are a failure! These are deep-seated fears that some people have about themselves when they contemplate seeking a therapist. (I often say that the most interesting, self-aware, and intelligent people I know have experienced psychotherapy).
- The psychotherapist does not have a magic bullet. The client needs to do the work. The psychotherapist creates a safe environment to work through issues and responds to the client’s efforts (journaling, reading, dreaming, writing autobiographical material, making changes in daily living).
- Psychotherapy is not instantaneous. It’s an organic process, meaning that it may take time for healing to occur (just like a physical wound) or to change long-standing dysfunctional patterns.
- The past is not dead! In psychotherapy, certain early traumatic life events are examined and “deactivated” so that they no longer unconsciously affect your present life experience.
- The psychotherapist will not tell you what to do, but may make suggestions or recommendations. Psychotherapy is a collaborative relationship during which the therapist will help you find your own answers.
- Psychotherapy is not mind-reading. The therapist may understand elements of your situation because of professional expertise and experience working with similar issues, but s/he does not have magical powers (yes, some people really do believe a therapist can instantly analyze them).
Signs that you could benefit from therapy include:
- You are facing a major life change/transition and you are feeling overwhelmed.
- You are experiencing a long-standing sadness or sense of helplessness.
- You are not able to focus on your work or your family because of your problems.
- Despite all your own efforts as well as help from family and friends, your problems are not improving.
- You are anxious, excessively worried and distracted, and constantly on edge.
- You are self-medicating with alcohol or drugs in an attempt to relieve yourself of your problems without solving them.
- Because of your state of mind, your actions might hurt yourself or others.
A few of the benefits you may gain from psychotherapy:
- Communication skills
- Relationship skills
- How to deal with negative thought patterns.
- New perspectives on past and present roadblocks in your life
- Resilience boosters
- Healing of childhood wounds
- Resolution of trauma
- Depending on the therapist, a better understanding of your dreams
- Again, depending on the therapist, a greater connection to your spiritual center
If you would like to try out the experience of psychotherapy to handle an difficult issue in your life, call Patricia at 760.445.0805 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about her work by visiting her website at http://www.TransitionTherapist.com
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