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Therapy: How to get the most out of it

Ashley J. 

Is this your first appointment with a new therapist? If this is the case, it will take a while for you to get to know the therapist and their style, as well as for them to get to know you. Therapy is useless if there’s not positive energy both ways.  Evaluate your sessions, and do not accept or stay with a therapist who imposes his/her own opinions, interest/ issues into your therapy, or establishes goals for your therapy that you don't want.

Collaboration is one of the most important issues when selecting a therapist. In order to determine the most effective route, determining who is going to be on your side is one of the essential aspects. For example, communication’s an important factor and will your therapist provide open contact with your psychiatrist. And don’t forget you are a part of the team as well!

Whether you are with a new therapist, or one that you have been seeing, preparing what to discuss from session to another is important. Thinking about things prior to your appointment is helpful. Are there specific things that are presently bothering you or causing you stress? Nevertheless, it is the therapist’s job to guide you and help stimulate discussion. However, while a therapy session usually lasts 45-50 minutes, and seems like a fair amount of time, the time goes quickly because one topic often leads to another topic, and the list you prepared prior to the appointment, most likely will only be able to touch upon a few things before the next session.

Another point is frequency, if there are many things in your life that need to be addressed, deciding how often you need to attend sessions, is important. The need to visit your therapist weekly or biweekly is not out of the norm.

Additionally, one important thing to keep in your mind is therapy is not a quick fix. It is a long process, and should never be looked at as being a “cure.”

Talking about your problems can help you to spot things which are causing difficulties in your life. A person with a different perspective of your situation can help you decide how to address the problems you are having, and how to deal with the things you cannot fix. Through discussion, you can find ways to handle your problems so that the same issues will not continually disrupt your life.

There are many different kinds of talk therapy. The two most commonly used for depression are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy. Both types of therapy can be effective in treating mood disorders, especially the depression aspect. Finding a provider that specializes in mood disorders is essential, and one of the most important aspects of treatment. It’s critical as well that the therapist is versed in the various forms of talk therapist. Mood disorders do not entail utilizing psychotropic drugs, they include coping strategies provided through talk therapy. 

Therapy in Latin means "curing, healing” and is the attempted remediation of a health problem. Below are some examples of talk therapy techniques that your therapist may implicate: 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): helps you change harmful ways of thinking. If you tend to see things negatively, it teaches you how to look at the world more clearly; it also helps on look at how negative thought patterns may be affecting your mood. The therapist helps you learn how to make positive changes in your thoughts and behaviors.

Interpersonal Therapy (IT): helps you learn to relate better with others and to focus on how to express your feelings, and how to develop better people skills. IT focuses on how you relate to others and helps you make positive changes in your personal relationships. 

Behavioral Therapy (BT): helps you change harmful ways of acting. The goal is to get control over behavior that is causing problems for you.

Group Therapy: a form of therapy in which multiple clients are treated simultaneously. Although talk therapy with a therapist is commonly performed, one on one, group talk therapy can also be effective. In traditional group therapy, the existence of the group plays a key role, and the simple act of discussing your feelings with others allows you to gain new insight and perspective.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): a cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. It’s a type of therapy designed to help people change patterns of behavior that are not effective, and developed to treat interpersonal chaos, intense emotional swings, impulsiveness, confusion about the self (identity), and suicidal behavior. Helps people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states and helping to assess which coping skills to apply. It’s a cognitive-behavioral approach that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment 

While these examples don’t include the gamut of methods, these may provide a basic understanding of what your therapist might employ. The most important factors are that you feel comfortable sitting with your therapist face to face and can communicate with him or her in a safe environment. Being able to be unconditionally understood is so important, and feeling like there is no judgment no matter what is said. Every therapist utilizes various approaches and finding the one that meshes with your personal view is essential.

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