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How Does Psychotherapy Work?

Clinically speaking, psychotherapy is a form of intervention between a trained psychotherapist and a patient with a goal to aid in the problems of living. Psychotherapy is simply talking about your problems with a therapist to resolve issues like anxiety, depression, and other mental health ailments.

Psychotherapists use a variety of techniques to help improve a patient’s quality of living and mental state. The National Institute of Mental Health states that one-third of adults experience an emotional or substance abuse problem or disorder in their lifetime. Almost 25 percent of adults will experience depression or anxiety. When this happens to you, don’t go it alone – get help.

How does psychotherapy help? Why do people consider psychotherapy an option?

By talking with a mental health professional, many people have found that their quality of living has improved. This can be a small increase or completely transformative — the spectrum of help provided through psychotherapy is vast and can be long-term.

The most common reasons someone might look to see a psychotherapist include

  • Feeling overwhelmed and in despair for long periods of time.

  • Experiencing emotional difficulties and problems which make day to day life a chore and seem impossible.

  • The behaviours brought about by these emotions damage relationships, either through withdrawal or aggression.

  • With no one else to turn to an outside source of help is the safest option.

Is psychotherapy effective?

Many studies have shown that psychotherapy is an effective form of treating and managing mental illnesses and other emotional disorders. Many see an increase in their quality of life, as well as the potential for a total transformation.

The positive effects of psychotherapy can also be found in physical illness. Psychotherapy can increase the survival time of those who have gone through heart surgery, transplants, and cancer treatments because of the positivity and support it gives them. This means that psychotherapy effects both a person’s physical and mental well-being.

It is true, however, that no one can be cured overnight. The positive aspects of psychotherapy can be both short-term and long-term, but effort on the part of both parties is required for at least several sessions – possibly even years.

How do you get the most out of psychotherapy?

First, be willing. It’s imperative that you both cooperate with your psychotherapist and follow any at-home instructions they offer you.

Next, remember that therapy is a two-way street. Your therapist has responsibilities to treat you competently with approved therapy methods and understanding. You also have a responsibility to follow instructions, not be combative, and be open to what your therapist has to say.

How do I know the therapy is working?

Remember to take a baby steps approach to psychotherapy. You won’t see instant results, so don’t be downtrodden when you aren’t magically cured within a month. Any progress is good progress.

You’ll also know your therapy is working when you have a good rapport with your psychotherapist. When you’re both putting in a positive effort, you both know you’re succeeding. When you feel stuck or like you aren’t moving forward with a therapist, they may not be a good fit for you so be sure to raise this with your therapist.

Remember to look at your therapist’s opinions and observations objectively. Consider them with as rational a mind as possible. Being immediately combative and dismissive isn’t a great way to get better.

Don’t be afraid if you’re having a lot of emotional moments and breakdowns in and after therapy starts. You’re likely tackling a lot of tough subject matter, and this can make your emotions run high. Crying is usually a good sign. Often, the more emotional you feel after therapy, the more proof you have that you are getting somewhere.

Never forget — psychotherapy treatment isn’t easy, but the results you’ll see are worth working for.

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