Let's talk about feelings while I lay on a couch! Chances are most people think this is what happens in therapy. While feelings can be a part of therapy, and many people want to talk about them, therapy is much more than that.
To start off with, what is therapy? Therapy is a means by which one person tries to help another with a problem, an issue, or just a hard time. Everything else beyond that is decided between the therapist and the client.
Do you want to talk? Do you want to draw? Do you just want a list of things to do? There are hundreds of ways to approach therapy meaning that a therapist should have different ways to help the same problem. Being open and honest with the therapist is the best way to make sure the best approach is used.
Who should I see? A therapist, a counselor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a social worker? Psychiatrists are medical doctors and generally focus on the medication side of treatment. Psychologists have a PhD and tend to do more testing.
Therapists, Counselors, and Clinical Social Workers have a Master’s degree and tend to be the ones who people think of as the people that hold weekly sessions, talking with a client, to make change. However, Psychologists and Psychiatrists might also do what Therapists, Counselors, and Clinical Social workers do.
Whoever a person sees for therapy must be licensed by the state the session will be held in. Otherwise it is not therapy, and that person may not have the necessary training or skills to conduct therapy.
The first few sessions are spent with the therapist coming to understand the client’s past, what the client wants from therapy, and how to approach it. However, it is also a time for the client to come to understand the therapist. Think of therapy like buying a car.
Sometimes the first one is the right one, sometimes a test drive is needed, and sometimes it takes going to a few different car lots before finding the right car. If the first therapist does not feel like a good fit, there are other therapists who might be a better fit. No client is stuck with a therapist.
In the end, therapy is what a client makes it out to be and the client has a say in the treatment. Make sure the therapist is licensed by the state, and make sure the therapist is a good fit. If not, do not give up, there are other therapists out there.
When a person is ready to find a therapist, a good place to start is Psychology Today’s website (/www.psychologytoday.com). For a therapist to be listed on this site, Psychology Today must be able to verify that the therapist is licensed, and therapists are able to list their approach and the problems that they work with. Clients are able to email or call the therapist through the site as well.