Common misconceptions about psychotherapy

Based on my experience with patients who are considering whether to receive psychotherapy to improve their mental health, the way to make this decision is as different as the people who go down this path.

Sometimes, the worries of a friend, partner, or family member are the tipping point for an individual to seek help. In other cases, teachers, schools, colleagues, or employers insist on putting mental health first so that a person can return to school (or work) on a better psychological basis.

Usually, adults themselves are aware of the way they want their relationship to be better, their emotions or anxiety are easier to manage, or the specific behaviors they want to help change; in these cases, people are for personal growth, to reduce symptoms and Choose to seek treatment for overall improvement of quality of life.

No matter how you make the decision to try psychotherapy (or the type of talk therapy you choose), you will have a set of expectations during your first treatment, which may include some misunderstandings about the psychotherapy process.

Why is there a misunderstanding about psychotherapy?

If you do not work in the field of mental health, you may benefit from improving your mental health literacy (ie knowledge about mental disorders). This of course makes sense, and is not unique to the field of mental health. After all, non-lawyers usually don’t know much about litigation. However, it may be difficult for you to know whether you or the person you care about has reached the point where you need to seek treatment. (See this related post to distinguish “normal” anxiety from generalized anxiety disorder). It can add barriers to successful initiation of psychotherapy or willingness to persist in treatment.

The easiest information about psychotherapy comes from media descriptions. Studies have shown that people do form a conceptualization and expectation of psychotherapy based on the illustrations they see on TV and movies. While you may be able to balance between fictitious and sometimes destructive descriptions of other professionals such as doctors or teachers and your real life of receiving medical treatment or education, fighting the stereotype of mental health clinicians may be more challenging , Or the process of overall psychotherapy.

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What can’t be expected from psychotherapy

understand what no The expectation of experience can help you with the treatment, as I thought, Educated and open-minded consumers.

Here are some important things to know about psychotherapy. They address a few common but misguided expectations that you should try to stay at the door before entering treatment:

Don’t expect a quick fix

The number of problems that require a session of psychotherapy is very limited (exceptions may include single exposure therapy for certain specific phobias of adults, adolescents, and children.).

Psychotherapy can be a short-term or long-term commitment.

The first few appointments are usually used for you and your therapist to determine if (and which) treatment will help. You will be asked to talk about the specific issues that led you to seek care, as well as elements of your broader medical, social, and family medical history, which will help the therapist understand you better.

For some people, it is uncomfortable to talk about their symptoms and medical history publicly. For others, this in itself is a powerful relief experience. In any case, it is extremely unlikely that in a few appointments, meaningful and lasting changes or solutions to long-term thinking, relationships, or behavior patterns can be fully realized.

In other words, there are reasons to expect structured, present-focused methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, or acceptance and commitment therapy, to be time-bound. On the other hand, psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis focus on exploring unconscious desires and processes, which may require more time investment.

In most cases, the process is not easy

Psychotherapy is work. This will require you to examine yourself carefully. You will not be alone; your therapist will also work hard.

You will work together (1) to better understand the exact cause of your problems (for example, the specific way of thinking, the way you avoid worrying, expressing or coping with various emotions or communication methods), (2) understanding your current How the model will serve you, and how it will serve you, and (3) try different ways of thinking, behavior, association, and coping.

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In the process, you may feel worse before you feel better. For example, talking about traumatic experiences may disrupt sleep. Confronting the way others treat you badly, or the way you abuse others, can lead to sadness and anger.

Facing the things you fear—whether it’s a roller coaster, raising your hand in class, or deciding to divorce—will create more anxiety in the short term. It also feels bad when you “feel worse” remembering the old model. Maybe it’s worth giving it some time to see if this difficult time will give way to better things in the long run?

Talking to your therapist is different from talking to friends

The therapeutic relationship is different from other relationships. It is not reciprocal, not a “two-way street”. You may share your own private details with your clinician, and he or she will not respond in the same way. This is not deliberately harsh or concealed, nor is it any indicator of your trustworthiness or goodwill with the clinician.

Instead, your therapist will limit whether they will share personal information in order to focus on where it is needed—you and your goals—and in certain types of treatments to help you understand your assumptions (or predictions). ) Get to know him or her as another way to get to know yourself. In some cases, the boundaries set by the therapist can also model the way you set boundaries with others.

Your therapist usually won’t tell you exactly what to do

Because your therapist will not directly experience the consequences of your choice, he or she will usually avoid public guidance. Of course there are exceptions-that is, if you are concerned about your or anyone else’s safety-this may make your therapist be more frank and guide you than usual.

Your therapist will not tell you what to do, but will ask you questions to help you determine what to do you Want to do-and why.

He or she will reflect on what you said to help you hear it “freshly” and facilitate a thorough inspection. Your therapist may guide you to consider other options that you did not think of, or to consider the positive, negative, and “between the two” consequences of taking a particular path.

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If you work with the same therapist for a long period of time, your therapist may remind you of previous decisions (and their consequences) or mark repeated patterns. This may tell you how to make the decision that is currently before you, or how you respond to its results.

Don’t expect to “click” with the first therapist you see

Although the therapeutic relationship is unique, what it has in common with other relationships is that two people come together.

You are obviously your expert, and you come to your therapist’s office with a special temperament and personal style, views on active issues, and ideas for treatment goals. Your therapist is a mental health professional. He or she will greet you with their own unique treatment style, field of clinical experience (including the type of treatment performed, the age or the diagnosis group they usually serve, etc.) and temperament.

You may not “click” with the first therapist you see, or you may need to make multiple appointments to determine if they are suitable. You may need to consult more than one clinician multiple times before you find the right therapist.

Find the best therapist for you

The most suitable person varies from person to person, but please consider the following questions as a useful starting point for your own evaluation of a good therapist:

  • Did the therapists answer your questions about your diagnosis, their clinical experience, and possible treatment methods to your satisfaction?
  • Did the therapists express their professionalism (in conversations, in an office setting, in their descriptions of cancellation, emergency, etc. practices)?
  • Is the therapist asking thoughtful questions?
  • Considering any challenges you encountered when starting psychotherapy, how did it feel to talk frankly with the therapist?
  • Do you like their style, including the level of their interaction with you, the use of humor, and the ability to perceive and resolve your emotional state during meetings?

To learn more, consult the American Psychological Association for more information about what to expect and what not to expect from psychotherapy.