Often people who would like to seek for psychotherapist’s assistance are not sure what it really means. Such an uncertainty forces them to delay this important step. They may confuse physicians with psychiatrists, remember some scenes from movies about Freud or episodes from TV shows about AA support groups. A lot of myths and inaccuracies hover around psychotherapy. I will try to formulate answers to the most frequently asked questions briefly and clearly and explode a few myths.
- Why do we need therapists if we can go to our friend and complain about life?
It’s not that simple. Psychotherapy is not listening to complaints. It is a systematic work on clients’ personal qualities study, control over their own lives and self-acceptance. The skilled specialist will be an assistant in this work. Therapist will follow the process security, ensure progress in goals achieving and provide all the necessary support.
- So you want to say that psychotherapists are such trained people who know how everyone has to live? Sorry, but I can hardly believe this.
No one, except maybe you, knows how to live your life correctly. Psychotherapy is not lectures on how to do right or wrong. It is rather a tool for making changes. With the help of exercises, analysis of behavior, feelings, thoughts and perceptions clients learn more about themselves. The get to know their conflicts reasons, fears, unconscious decisions made in a childhood and behavior patterns. And only after understanding the internal processes clients may decide to change something out of what they have learned.
- You mean, I can just come in and say that I want to change my life, and the therapist will help me doing this?
Like that. Of course, for ethical reasons or according to personal working conditions, therapists don’t work with all requests. But we also may think over therapy objective, it can change depending on therapy stages and duration. To find out what exactly makes somebody unhappy – may also be a request in psychotherapy.
- Ok, I got it. I am still wondering how the session goes on. Do I have to lie on the couch and talk about my childhood?
Of course, it also can be like this. But it all depends on the personal style of the therapist, area in which he or she works, therapy objective, exercise and, of course, client features. There are lots of different tools, exercises and programs. Client can draw, play the internal dialogue, reproduce scenes from own life, listen to useful messages, write stories and letters, make lists, imagine future, analyze sensations in the body, beat pillows or just talk about anything. In general, there are lots of options.
- Ok. But who may need psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is to change something you’re unhappy with. Think about what might be different in your life to make it better? It’s not necessary to continue living the old way. If there is something that will make you happier and your life more fulfilling, you can try to change your life with the help of a psychotherapist. Especially you have to think about such tool as psychotherapy if:
- You often find yourself in a similar unpleasant situations
- You have insomnia or trouble sleeping
- You often feel sick, but doctors can’t adequately explain this
- You often feel guilty or ashamed
- You fail to build good relationships with close people
- You often feel anxiety, loneliness, fatigue, lethargy or too much tension
- You can’t resolve issues which are important to you
- You return to the same disturbing or unpleasant thoughts all the time
- You feel powerless
- You think that success is not for you
- You can’t make an important step
- You may feel a great irrational fear
We can continue this list, but it is important to understand that psychotherapy is a space where you change your life for better. If you feel that you are ready for it – sign up and make this first step.