Individual therapy is a joint process between a therapist and a person in therapy. Common goals of therapy can be to inspire change or improve quality of life. People may seek therapy for help with issues that are hard to face alone. Individual therapy is also called therapy, psychotherapy, psychosocial therapy, talk therapy, and counseling.
Therapy can help people overcome obstacles to their well-being. It can increase positive feelings, such as compassion and self-esteem. People in therapy can learn skills for handling difficult situations, making healthy decisions, and reaching goals. Many find they enjoy the therapeutic journey of becoming more self-aware. Some people even go to ongoing therapy for self-growth.
WHEN IS IT BEST TO SEEK THERAPY?
Some people may avoid treatment, and there are many reasons for this. Some of these reasons include:
Worry about the stigma that can come with mental health care
Feelings of shame when speaking about past hurts
Not wanting to acknowledge that anything is wrong
Fear that discussions in treatment will not stay confidential
However, statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) show mental health issues are common in the United States. In fact, 1 in 5 adults may be affected. It may help to remember that therapists are trained professionals who provide support and maintain confidentiality. They are used to helping people work through painful or embarrassing issues. Some therapists also offer sliding scale fees or other financial assistance to people in need. And, although the stigma surrounding mental health can still come up, more people are becoming comfortable with talking about their mental health options with those they trust.
A trained therapist can help people make lifestyle changes. They can also help identify underlying causes of symptoms and provide strategies for changing unwanted thoughts and behaviors. Therapy can equip people with the skills to manage symptoms, reduce stress, and improve their quality of life.
WHAT CAN PSYCHOTHERAPY HELP WITH?
Therapy can help treat mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral issues. Concerns that may be discussed in therapy include, but are not limited to:
WHO PROVIDES INDIVIDUAL THERAPY?
Many kinds of mental health professionals provide therapy. The standards for becoming a therapist usually depend on a state's licensing board. Therapists often have a master's or doctoral degree. They may also have specific training in psychological counseling. Students working toward an advanced degree may provide therapy with direction from a licensed supervisor.
Therapists can have many titles. These are based on their level of education, training, and role. They can work as licensed professional counselors (LPC), psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), psychiatric nurses, or psychiatrists.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING INDIVIDUAL THERAPY
The first session of therapy often focuses on gathering information. A therapist speaks with the person in treatment about their past physical, mental, and emotional health. They also discuss the concerns bringing the person to therapy. It can take a few sessions for a therapist to have a good understanding of the situation. Only then can they address concerns and determine the best course of action.
The person in therapy can also use their first session to decide if the therapist’s style is a good fit for their needs. Finding a therapist you are comfortable with is vital to successful treatment. It is important to talk about the type of therapy to be used, treatment goals, session length, and how many sessions are needed.
Many therapists encourage people in treatment to do most of the talking. At first, it may be hard to talk about past experiences or current concerns. Sessions may stir up intense emotions. It is possible to become upset, angry, or sad during treatment. However, therapists can help people build confidence and become more comfortable as sessions progress.
Therapists might assign “homework” to help the people in their care build on topics discussed in therapy. Individuals in treatment can also ask questions at any point in the process. As time passes, people in therapy may develop a more positive mood and healthier thinking patterns.
People in treatment can expect confidentiality during therapy sessions. But, a therapist may break confidentiality if someone is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others. Therapists may also do this if required to by federal or state law. Many therapists explain the limits of confidentiality and provide written guidelines during the first therapy session.
HOW PSYCHOTHERAPY WORKS
There are many forms of therapy. Some types of treatment work better than others when handling different issues. It is common for therapists to combine ideas from different approaches when addressing a person's needs.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular and effective types of therapy. This approach helps people look at the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Then, people can replace negative thinking patterns with positive ones. The belief behind CBT is that healthy thoughts often promote positive feelings and productive actions.