When I was talking yesterday with someone who asked me about Psychotherapy and what it’s all about, I thought to start writing about the things I do to share it with everyone. Fortunately, lately there have been campaigns going on about mental health awareness like htpp://on.apa.org/1SyyN4x … But sometimes it’s difficult to understand what mental health is, how to help someone who is struggling or even what steps to take if you are suffering or simply not feeling emotionally well. Depending on what the issue is, there are many options available. From medication, to counselling, group therapy or individual therapy and a huge range of other alternatives that people find when they’re struggling.
I’m going to focus on psychotherapy, since this is what I most know about. So, what is Psychotherapy? If you’ve been to therapy before, you might know by now what it is or at least you know how YOUR therapy sessions look like, but the truth is that there are so many approaches and therapists out there, that each therapy could be totally different according to these.
Generally speaking, Psychotherapy “can assist in treatment for psycho-social or emotional difficulties, behavioural maladaptations and/or other problems that are assumed to be of an emotional nature, where a professional relationship with the client is established to promote positive growth and development”. (Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Handbook, Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers). You can also see the difference between Psychotherapy and Counselling here https://www.sfamilyservices.com/counselling-and-psychotherapy.html
One of the most important things when working on your or someone else’s issues is to feel comfortable with the therapist you choose. And I say this to my patients too. There are so many approaches and therapists available, that not all of them are suitable for everyone. So, the first thing is to find the right approach and therapist for you. How can you achieve this? Maybe asking yourself a few questions to think about what you would feel comfortable with. For example, would you feel more comfortable talking to a male or female? Do you want a short-term therapy that in a few sessions you find the “solution” to your current problem or a long-term therapy, where you can work on your underlying feelings and understanding of why you’re feeling as you’re feeling, so you can find your own way of dealing with your issues (current and future)? Do you think that you would benefit from sharing your thoughts and feelings with others that are experiencing similar issues or do you prefer to share these just with your therapist? Do you want to go to a registered professional, knowing that he/she belongs to a College like http://www.crpo.ca that regulates the profession or you don’t mind? Would you prioritize the location, fees or recommendations? Do you want online or in-person therapy?
Maybe you ask yourself all these questions and you don’t know exactly what to answer to them. That’s fine, once you find a therapist that you think might suit your needs, the next step is to “listen” to your feelings. Do you feel comfortable with the therapist? And by comfortable I mean that he/she is non-judgemental, supportive, open-minded, is able to understand you and listens to you… If so, you probably found the right therapist for you! If not, then you might want to bring this up with the therapist and analyze if it has to do with your own issues or if it has to do with the therapist’s approach.
So…this is the first part of your journey to getting help… Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you might have. I’ll continue writing about this topic to help you in the process of understanding yourself and others to feel better and better…
All the best,
Patricia A. Weinberg