How can therapy help me? There are a number of benefits that may result from your participation in therapy. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, unresolved childhood issues, grief, trauma, stress management and poor self concept. Many people also find that counselors can be a tremendous asset in facilitating personal growth and managing interpersonal relationships, family concerns and the complications of daily life. Therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or guide you toward a solution.
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 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. When you seek therapy you are taking responsibility for where you are in life and making a commitment to change your situation. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, to re-direct damaging patterns and to overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me? People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition or feel that they are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing their symptoms of depression or anxiety. Therapy can help provide encouragement and help with the development of skills to meet these challenges. Others may find that they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective in moving forward toward their goals.
What about my privacy? Communications between clients and their therapists are (essentially)confidential. Information cannot be disclosed without written permission from you or your parent/legal guardian if you are under the age of 18 (referred to as "Informed Consent"). Notable exceptions include (but are not limited to):
- Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse. The therapist, as a mandated reporter, is required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person(s), the therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim(s).
- If a client intends to harm him/ herself, the therapist will make every effort to promote the client's cooperation to ensure his/her safety. If the client does not cooperate, further measures may be taken without his/her permission in order to ensure their safety.
What about medication vs. psychotherapy? It has been well documented that the most effective treatment for mental and emotional problems is psychotherapy as it does not just treat the symptoms of the problem but addresses the cause of the distress and the behavioral patterns that contribute to it. Sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being are best achieved with an integrative approach to wellness. It will be important to coordinate your care with your psychiatrist or your primary care doctor to determine what is most appropriate for you as this may include the combination of medication and therapy.