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Is Psychotherapy For Me?


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help eliminate or control troubling mental illness symptoms and emotional difficulties so a person can function better. Despite evidence that most people who receive psychotherapy experience relief and are better able to function in their lives, many people are hesitant and have reservations about beginning psychotherapy. Let’s address some of these concerns.


"I don’t want to talk to a stranger about intimate parts of my life."

It can seem awkward to share intimate details of your life with someone that you don’t know well. But delving into deep issues and emotions is perfectly fine within the therapy environment, which is there to help you with vulnerable topics. For example, when we go to see a doctor concerning our physical health, we engage in vulnerable situations. But, knowing that it is a safe and professional environment with trained and respectful people, we are able and willing to be vulnerable. The same is true in a psychotherapy session, a place where you can become emotionally vulnerable with a trained practitioner that is dedicated to helping you get well.

Ensuring confidentiality is an important part of a psychotherapy practice. What you discuss in a psychotherapy session is between you and your therapist and protected by law.

"I don’t have anything to talk about."

If you do talk therapy, there’s no need to be anxious about coming up with things to talk about—your therapist is there to guide the discussion. You are welcome to talk about anything that comes to your mind.

If sitting and talking is not for you, there are other options. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use different types of therapy. It’s not uncommon for therapists to combine elements from different approaches. Art therapy, music therapy and sand play are a few examples of methods that can help a person express themselves in nonverbal ways.

"I had a poor experience with psychotherapy in the past."

Finding a psychiatrist or other therapist with whom you work well is important. A bad experience in the past does not need to prevent you from getting helpful treatment now. Some therapists specialize in different topics, such as particular stages of life, eating disorders or trauma. If you have an idea of what you’d like to work on, this may be a way to help find the right therapist. Be sure to ask about their methods and types of therapy as well.

There is a wide range of professionals who provide psychotherapy, so finding the right person to work with is possible. You can find referrals by contacting a primary care physicians, local psychiatric societies, medical schools, community health centers, workplace Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and online resources.

Psychotherapy is a collaborative effort, requiring commitment from both parties involved to have the best outcome. Be open and honest and follow your agreed upon plan for treatment. Keep your primary care physician aware of what treatments you’re using with your psychiatrist or therapist and let them know about the progress you see in your treatment.

Learn more about psychotherapy.


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