What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy sometimes is used interchangeably with the term “counseling.” While advice can come from supportive friends, psychotherapy goes further by exploring and learning together, the underlying causes of your particular life problems and symptoms.
We know that many of our perspectives originate from early experience, feelings and thoughts, some of which are outside our awareness. Through insight and exploration of unwanted feelings, thoughts, and memories, we work in the here-and-now, to loosen long-standing patterns that have been getting in the way of living life more fully.
Working with fantasies and dreams can also provide clues about memories and experiences and the impact they have currently. Over time, therapy helps to become more aware of motivations so that gradually, you are able to grow to have greater freedom to live life on your own terms. Along the way, you also become more acquainted with the very creative, and the not-so-helpful ways in which your mind works. This kind of learning process engages cognition and emotions, opening up your potenial for eventually doing the work on your own and benefiting from greater satisfaction, contentment, and resiliency in the face of crises that may arise in the future.
Sometimes individuals achieve their desired goals in a relatively short period of time. Often, therapy is an open-ended process, especially if there are early traumas, multiple areas of concern, or long-standing patterns.
Are There Different Types of Therapy?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy and its offshoot, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is what most people are referring to when speaking about talk therapy with visits that entail frequencies of one, two, or three times-per-week. Talk therapy has evolved considerably over more than 100 years, beginning with Freud’s early theories about the complex ways in which the mind works. Today, those concepts have evolved through ongoing research leading to newer approaches, including the importance of the therapeutic relationship itself, as an important change agent.
More intensive therapy entails regular visits of 3, 4, or 5 times a week and possibly the use of the couch to aid in free association. The goals of this type of treatment are more far-reaching, and are suitable for individuals who have made multiple attempts at treatments that may have been helpful, but where the benefits have not been long-lasting or complete. The therapist who provides this type of treatment has completed specified rigorous advanced training at a psychoanalytic institute and is a member in good standing.