Psychotherapy seems like a catch-all phrase. What kind is right for me?
Psychotherapy is the treatment of emotional, behavioral, personality, and psychiatric disorders based primarily on verbal or nonverbal communication and interventions with the patient, in contrast to treatments using chemical and physical measures. Simply put, psychotherapy aims to alleviate psychological strife through communication between a patient and therapist, rather than drugs.
Psychotherapy is often sought for problems that have built up over years. It is effective if a client (or patient) and therapist can develop a rapport and a trusting relationship. Psychotherapy begins with developing a new, unique type of relationship, which grows over time as you and your therapist get to know each other and work together to address your concerns. As the relationship progresses you will feel increasingly safe and secure, understood, and respected for your perspective and goals, and will develop greater trust in your therapist and the process.
Psychotherapy can be for individuals, groups, couples or families. Usually psychotherapy sessions occur about once a week and last from 45 minutes to one hour, although there are some types of therapy that require more frequent treatment and longer sessions.
There are many types of psychotherapy, each based on its own theoretical premise. To find out which may be the right kind of therapy for you, it is worthwhile to do your own research on therapies and therapists, and to interview therapists, much as they would interview you.
How do I know if I need therapy?
If you are thinking about seeking therapy, it is likely because there is something that has either shifted in your thoughts, feelings or behavior that is uncomfortable for you or you have decided to explore a long-standing problem. People often find that although they have successfully handled many challenging situations alone or with the help of family, friends or clergy, there are those problems that may “tip the scales” and cause them to seek help. This commitment to feeling better and attaining greater peace and happiness is a sign of strength and commitment to one’s self.
What about Medication?
There is a good deal of research that has found that psychotherapy and medication both work on changing the brain in different ways and are often very effective when used concurrently. The combination of medication and psychotherapy has been effective in alleviating symptoms in a number of mental health conditions, particularly depression and mood fluctuations, anxiety and panic. Medication, however, should not be used as a substitute for therapy. While there may be therapeutic advantages to combined treatment, there are considerations for the impact this recommendation may have for the therapist – patient relationship, and it must be discussed carefully.
Can you prescribe medication?
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Johnathan is not licensed to write prescriptions. If during your time with Johnathan, you express a need for medication, he can refer you to a psychiatrist, and you may inquire about medication with your primary care physician so that he/she and Johnathan may collaboratively give you the level of care that suits your needs.
Do you provide a free initial consultation?
Yes, the initial consult is a 10-minute phone consultation. This is a time for you to ask questions, explain what is motivating you to therapy, and to get a feel for me as a therapist. If, for any reason, you decide Johnathan is not a good fit, or the reason behind your seeking treatment is beyond the scope of his practice, Johnathan can refer you to another professional that may better suit your needs.
Why weekly sessions?
You and Johnathan begin your therapeutic work with weekly sessions to assist in building rapport to develop comfort and trust, as well as maintain consistency of your work together. Eventually, following your months/year(s) of progress together, your weekly schedule may become biweekly or monthly to tailor to your needs and preferences. Johnathan does ask that if you decide to work with him, that you initially meet weekly for the first few months to maintain consistency and traction in your work.
How long should I stay in therapy?
Your involvement and participation in therapy is voluntary, and you can decide your duration of treatment, whether long term or short term. You can terminate whenever you are ready, with a recommended termination process of 2-4 sessions to ensure proper closure of your work together. Long-term work does have the benefit of an even stronger therapeutic relationship, increased opportunity for further personal growth, as well as, improved relationship dynamics.
What if I’m not sure about coming to therapy?
It’s okay and completely natural to be ambivalent about therapy. That’s actually the beginning of the therapeutic process- sharing the discomfort and fears involving therapy and the therapist. It’s hard to divulge private, precious information to a person you barely know. Sometimes, people also have negative experiences with therapists and naturally generalize and develop an aversion to therapy overall. It’s essential to acknowledge those feelings and express them. Johnathan encourages you to discuss them more with him. He believes once you feel heard and validated, you can begin to develop a trusting relationship and become one step closer to building a strong therapeutic foundation.
Now what do I do?
Call Johnathan at 660.372.1663 to discuss options and to ask questions about individual, couple, and family counseling. As an alternative, he can also be reached via email at Johnathan@olivetreecounseling.net