Frequently Asked Questions About Psychotherapy, Psychology and Counseling.
How do I know that I need psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy can be a powerful experience. Usually your intuition and feeling will tell you that it’s the right time for it, and you don’t need any external indicators.
If you are still uncertain about it, below you’ll find some examples of situations that suggest that starting therapy can be very beneficial for you in this moment of your life.
Are you experiencing any of the following?
- I have problems in my relationship, I feel I repeat patterns and don’t know how to change this.
- I feel hurt and misunderstood by my partner, often feel alone in my relationship and I don’t know how to address that with him/her.
- I’ve changed countries I’m struggling to find my own place in the new environment.
- I would like to organize my thoughts and understand my current life situation.
- I have potential and ideas, but I cannot accomplish or even start doing the things I feel passionate about.
- I struggle with anxiety, fears and insecurity.
- I have low self-esteem.
- I experience frequent mood changes and I’m emotionally unstable.
- I’m experiencing some obsessive thoughts or behaviors that I can’t control
- I’m experiencing significant emotional pain or struggle and I cannot overcome it by myself.
- I feel that just ignoring the pain, and trying to go on, without addressing it, means losing an important part of myself.
- I came to this city with hopes and expectations to change some things in my life, but the old difficulties keep reappearing and I’m experiencing new challenges.
- I need a person to help me understand my emotions and to find meaning in my life.
- I feel that I have difficulties with my anger management.
- I’m experiencing sleeping problems.
- I often have nightmares or upsetting dreams.
- I experience fear of speaking in public.
- I feel the need to develop more self-knowledge and awareness in order to unfold my potential and resources.
- I need someone to help me understand what has happened or what is happening in my life.
- I’ve experienced a significant loss and I need a secure place to process the grief and regain stability in my life.
- There are aspects of myself that I feel are out of my control and directly affect me and my surrounding.
How many sessions does psychotherapy last?
Psychotherapy is a unique and very personal process. Depending on the type of therapy and the objectives and needs of each person, the process may vary in the number of sessions.
The goal of the Solution-focused brief therapy is to help people find tools that can be immediately used to cope with their problems and difficulties. This type of therapy might last up to 15 – 20 sessions.
Couple counselling tends to focus on the current patterns and dynamics of the relationship. It helps the partners to better understand the real conflict that lies behind their difficulties. It gives them tools to get disentangled from dysfunctional patterns and to start relating in a more satisfying and mature way. The estimated time of this type of therapy varies depending on couple’s needs. Similarly to solution- focused therapy, it usually takes around 10-15 sessions.
The individual depth psychotherapy is a more profound encounter with one’s own self. It allows the individual to work with the unconscious patterns and dynamics that determine their life. This enables the person to make deeper changes in their personality, in the way they relate to other people and in their life in general. In this process the individual gets a closer connection with who they are and what they really need. The frequency of sessions and the duration of therapy is unique for each individual and there is no limitation in the number of sessions.
Is it normal to feel hesitant and anxious before contacting a therapist?
Calling or writing an e-mail to an unknown person and talking to them about our deepest concerns might be a challenging and even a scary experience. Feeling anxious before starting something new, that potentially implies changes, is very human and natural.
It’s also important to have in mind that establishing a therapeutic relationship requires time. The ability to trust and open-up to a new person is not always immediate. It naturally develops along with the process of mutual work.
A responsible therapist is going to respect your boundaries and help to create a safe space of mutual trust and understanding.
What is the difference between a psychologist, a depth psychotherapist and a psychiatrist?
Many people are confused by the use of those words. They sound very similarly, which sometimes creates a lot of confusion. Eventually, it might result in a difficulty in deciding which professional to contact.
Psychologist is a very broad professional description. There are many different types of psychologists, like organizational psychologist, sports psychologist, social psychologist, marketing psychologist etc. It’s important to have in mind that many psychologists who have just a general university training in psychology are not prepared to provide psychotherapy or to help people with their psychological problems. Therefore, a psychologist can become a psychotherapist, but it’s important to know that not all psychologists are psychotherapists.
Depth psychotherapists are professionals who help people with their emotional problems. They profoundly study psychological theory and accomplish many hours of supervised work with clients before graduating. Their long-term professional training includes individual psychotherapy for themselves over a period of 5 or more years. In that process they learn a great deal about themselves and the psyche. This allows them to establish a more profound and meaningful therapeutic relationship with the client. The depth psychotherapy process helps the person develop a deeper connection with themselves and enables them to understand and resolve their real problems.
A psychiatrist is a doctor specialized in mental disorders who treats patients primarily through the use of medication. Many psychiatrists provide only prescriptions and pharmacological management and don’t use psychotherapy.
How to choose a psychotherapist?
Choosing the right therapist is not that easy. A therapist is a person that you need to connect well with- it enables trust and mutual respect.
While choosing a therapist, beside reading their personal descriptions, take a look at their photos. A picture tells a lot of information! Intuitively feel if this is a person that you would cooperate with. Most people have also an instinctive idea on gender they would prefer to work with. Try to also think where does your choice and preference come from.
Another aspect is the theoretical orientation. If you have no idea about what theoretical orientation might work for you and reading about that doesn’t help, feel free to ask the therapist! Call the person that you think you might like- a conversation might help you to make your final decision. Ask him about his experience and find out if it’s related to your area of interest.
Do I need individual or couples therapy?
In individual therapy, the focus is on the development of a one-to-one relationship with the therapist. It enables the creation of an accepting atmosphere along with the use of techniques for the desired purpose. The person is involved in a self-reflective process on his or her emotions and behaviours.
In couples therapy, the focus is mainly on improving communication and relationship patterns between two people. It involves the therapist entering couple’s way of life more directly. After observing and analyzing the couple, the therapist makes suggestions about changes in their roles, habits and routines.
How can I benefit from psychotherapy?
Therapy can definitely help you to handle emotions, problems and stressful factors, even if they are dramatically life- changing or traumatic. It’s a great tool for overcoming anxiety, depression, addiction or relationship problems. It is a very helpful way to look for meaning in the disturbing events and establish emotional stability and wellness in life. Whether you’re struggling in a professional life, going through conflicts or trying to modify your everyday habits, therapy can be a great support in making a significant, satisfying change in your life.
Is psychotherapy only for people with psychiatric disorders?
There is a common thought that psychotherapy is often related to mental disorders and psychiatric conditions, but the benefits of undergoing a psychotherapeutic process are not only limited to this specific group. It is also beneficial for any person who wants to overcome their emotional conflicts, as well as to strengthen the positive aspects of their life and to develop their own potential.