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Therapy Reduces Suffering
Therapy, or psychotherapy, is the process of meeting with a therapist for the purpose of resolving problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, and/or somatic responses (sensations in the body). Therapy can address and resolve a large number of specific concerns, issues, and symptoms. You can find a list of issues commonly treated in therapy, here.
Therapy Promotes Self-Actualization
Therapy is also a very effective method of self-growth and self-actualization. In addition to overcoming barriers and helping people to release extreme beliefs and feelings, therapy can help people to increase many positive qualities of Self, such as joy, compassion, peace, self-esteem, spiritual connection, and love. Many people enjoy therapy and relish the journey of becoming more conscious about themselves, their inner world, and their relationships with others.
Going to Therapy Does Not Mean You are “Crazy”
The belief that people who go to therapy are “crazy” or “damaged” is false. The most common demographic of therapy goers include everyday, ordinary people struggling with everyday, human problems, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship issues. Only a small percentage of people undergoing psychotherapy qualify as having a serious mental illness; and these folks typically find their way into programs that offer a higher level of care than the average private practice therapist can offer. If a person is afraid of being judged as crazy by others or by their own inner-critic for going to therapy, then therapy would be especially useful in building self-esteem and freeing one from the limitations of what others think.
In all modes of therapy, you will establish goals for your therapy, as well as determining the steps you will take to get there. Whether in individual, group, or family therapy, your relationship with your therapist is a confidential one, and one that focuses on not only the content of what you talk about, but also the process. The therapeutic process, or how you share your feelings and experiences, is considered to be just as important as the specific issues or concerns you share in therapy. On the whole, you can expect that your therapist will be someone who supports you, listens attentively, models a healthy and positive relationship experience, gives you appropriate feedback, and follows ethical guidelines.
Elements of Healthy Therapy
There are some common elements of "good therapy" found universally in healthy forms of therapy. If you are new to therapy or considering therapy for the first time, it might benefit you to review these Elements of Good Therapy.
Warning Signs of Questionable Therapy
It is also important to familiarize yourself with the differences between healthy and unhealthy therapy before beginning psychotherapy. To aid you in this, GoodTherapy.org has developed a list of Warning Signs of Questionable Therapy.
How to Find the Right Therapist
And for those of you who are just beginning your search for a therapist, you might consider reading this article about how to find a therapist who is right for you.
As you explore therapy, you may have opportunities to undergo individual, marriage, family, or group therapy as a primary or adjunctive approach to reaching your goals. Here are links to more information about some common modes of therapy:
Types of Therapy
For as many therapists as there are, there are just as many different theories about how people grow and achieve positive changes in therapy. With this in mind, your therapist’s approach to treatment, the “treatment model” that is used, is a very important part of your healing process. It helps to guide you, and your therapist, to reach your goals in therapy. That being said, looking for a therapist can be an overwhelming process, especially when considering the many types of therapy you may hear about. To help, we have created a long list of specific treatment models or types of therapy that you may come across. Each model or type links to a brief overview with more information, resources, and links to more information.
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