Therapy or psychotherapy or counseling is simply treating mental health disorders while keeping the person's individual relationships and environment in mind. It doesn't matter if you call me a therapist, a psychotherapist or a counselor-I'm fine with all three titles. 'Mental health disorders' sounds really harsh, but what that simply means is some type of psychological problem one has which is causing him or her distress. Depression causes distress, so does anxiety, so does anorexia, so does OCD, and so do schizophrenia, phobias, PTSD, insomnia and Bipolar disorder. Some mental health disorders are very severe and people struggle with them for a lifetime. While others last for a few weeks or a few months at a time. Some are recurrent and come back after a while, and some show up for a few weeks and never return. A mental health diagnosis does not make you 'crazy.' In fact millions of people work and raise families while living with a mental health disorder.
Think of it this way-there are also millions of people around the world who struggle with physical health disorders and who live fruitful lives. Would you call them crazy? I'd hope not.
When you are on the lookout for a therapist, expect that each therapist you talk to will be very different. Don't expect to instantly form a connection with every therapist you call- simply because they have a master's degree or a doctorate. Some people will talk too slowly for you, some will be too pushy and then one will be just right.
Different therapists work from different perspectives. Some work from a cognitive perspective, which means they focus on the way you think. Others work from a behavioral perspective-they are more concerned with how you act. Still others work from a systemic perspective- taking into account your family background, your upbringing and your environment. Some rely heavily on helping you tap into your emotions, while others will never even mention the word 'emotions.'
Some therapists will take notes as you are talking, others will use a tablet or a laptop and still some will not take any notes. Typically when you walk into a therapist's office, expect him or her to ask you lots of questions about your medical history, childhood history and mental health history. This information is golden for us as we use it to figure out how best to help you. The more honest you are, the easier it will be for us to get you to your goal.
So therapy isn't this weird mysterious thing. It just looks very much like 2 people sitting across from each other and having conversations until the other person begins to feel better. You are free to ask questions and your therapist is your ally.
For a free 15 minute phone consultation with me, click here to email me or call me at 951-905-3181. You can ask me all the questions you want so we can figure out how therapy can help you. And if you decide I'm not the best fit for you, that's okay too. It's all a normal part of the process. But give yourself a chance to be free of anxiety and find the calm you deserve.