How Does Psychotherapy Help?

Psychotherapy is also frequently referred to as talk therapy. This is a crucial part of the treatment for bipolar disorder or depression. The therapist works with the patients to cope with their symptoms and feelings, and also change behavior patterns that can affect the illness. Psychotherapy is more than just talking about the problem. The process also involves working to reach a solution and completing homework like writing about thoughts, tracking moods, or even joining social activities.

How Does Psychotherapy Help?

Psychotherapy allows patients to better understand their ideas, emotions, behaviors and certain life events that lead to their illness. During psychotherapy, the therapist will help the patients understand what part of these problems they can improve or solve. The therapy will also help the patient restructure their attitudes, negative attributes, and ways of thinking that may contribute to the problems. Psychotherapy even teaches patients problem-solving and coping skills that help them regain the sense of control.

How does psychotherapy help? It may also help you in the following ways:

  • Better understand the illness you have.
  • Identify and avoid the triggers which can worsen the symptoms of your illness.
  • Deal with stress and anxiety.
  • Overcome insecurities and fears that are related to previous traumatic experiences.
  • Stop habits that have negative influence on your mental and physical wellness, such as taking drug or heavy drinking.
  • Develop a more dependable and stable routine.
  • Set plans to handle crises.
  • Improve your relationship with other people.

Types of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can come in several variations. Different types of psychotherapy help people with different problems. Individual therapy will be strictly between the therapist and patient. Group therapy involves at least two patients. This method lets the patients share experiences and learn that they aren't alone. Marital or couples therapy tries to solve problems between couples, or helps partners better understand the illness of their loved ones and how they can help.

When Should You Consider Psychotherapy?

Now that you get a positive answer to "how does psychotherapy help", you may wonder when to try it. In fact, when to try psychotherapy largely depends on how you feel about yourself, and if your feelings interfere with your emotional and physical well-being. You may also seek help from psychotherapy when you're suffering from some traumatic life events such as bullying, divorce or a recent death in the family.

Here are more signs, indicating that you could benefit from psychotherapy:

  • Prolonged and overwhelming sadness and helplessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or completing daily tasks
  • Worrying excessively or always expecting the worst
  • Thoughts about suicide
  • Your aggressiveness, drug and/or alcohol use is hurting you or others.

How to Find the Right Therapist

Although it requires a bit of effort, you will notice the biggest benefits from finding the right therapist. You need someone you can trust and feel comfortable with to begin your psychotherapy.

1. Look for Experienced Therapist

Always opt for a therapist with overall experience as well as experience helping patients with problems that are similar to yours. If, for example, you have depression, you may want to visit a therapist who specializes in this condition while someone with an eating disorder would select a therapist with experience helping people overcome anorexia or bulimia. Experience provides more insight and helps the therapist treat your issues more effectively.

2. Learn About Types of Treatment

Take the time to learn more about the various types of treatment the therapist offers. Some will combine treatment types, but you still need to know their preferred method and treatment length.

3. Check Credentials

Although non-licensed therapists may help, you should make sure yours has a current license according to the state regulatory board. Make sure they don't have any complaints filed against them as well. This will ensure that you are getting the best treatment possible.

4. Trust Your Instinct

Make sure that you can feel a connection with the therapist you are considering. The right therapist won't cast pressure on you and will make you feel comfortable, giving you a feeling of security.

Types of Therapist and Counselors

The exact answer to "how does psychotherapy help" also depends on the type of therapist or counselor you choose to see. Each one has a different specialty, so it helps to understand the variations before choosing your therapist.

  • Psychologist

A psychologist will have a doctoral degree within psychology and a license for clinical psychology.

  • Social Worker

A licensed clinical social worker, abbreviated as LCSW, will have their Master's degree for social work, known as an MSW. They should also have extra clinical training.

  • Marriage and Family Therapist

As the name implies, marriage and family therapists, known as MFTs, will have clinical experience dealing with family and marriage issues.

  • Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are physicians who choose to specialize in the area of mental health. These are the only types of therapists that can prescribe you medication since they are actual medical doctors.

How Do You Know If Psychotherapy Works?

To track your progress better, make a list of goals with your therapist when you begin. Later on, you can see how close you are to achieving them. You can also journal your feelings every day and your coping methods for difficult situations to see how these change over time. If you aren't sure how to analyze the changes, bring your journal to your next therapy appointment and discuss it with your therapist.

If you have been undergoing psychotherapy for a while and still don't feel like you are making progress, consider getting a second opinion. You may need to switch therapists or combine psychotherapy with another treatment method.

Some signs that you should consider switching therapists include:

  • Not feeling comfortable discussing something
  • Your therapist dismissing your concerns or problems
  • Your therapist talking more than listening
  • Your therapist having a personal agenda
  • Your therapist giving you very specific instructions about how to live your life
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