Psychotherapy is a highly effective form of therapy aimed at restoring client's lives to a place where the feel happiest and most themselves. Psychotherapy takes a client centred approach and the therapist acts as a sounding board to listen to the patient and offer advice. Psychotherapy is broad in scope and offers help for multiple disorders and problems, often making it the first resource clients reach out to.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a collaborative process that the client and therapist embark on together. The mental health professional is firmly committed to helping the client find solutions to their problems. A good psychotherapist sees the client for who they are and understands what they’re dealing with. They can offer solutions that wouldn’t be available if the client was to try and solve their issues themselves. The main objective of psychotherapy is to help clients develop coping skills and induce positive changes in their thinking process that supports a healthy and productive lifestyle. The therapist’s role is also to create a non-judgemental, safe, and compassionate space for each individual client to talk about their problems and to coach them in a way that is beneficial to their personal transformation. There are many different approaches to psychotherapy. Most psychologists use one of them as a foundation, and often combine several other approaches to create their own unique style of therapy and ways of developing solutions. The personal approach adopted by your psychologist will determine, to a great extent, what you are going to be experiencing during a therapy session.
Man Sitting in a Psychotherapy Session with a Therapist. From “Regis College”, https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/define-behavior-therapy/
Why go to therapy?
Considering the fast-paced and often stressful world many of us live in, the benefits of psychotherapy are far reaching. We don’t need to be in a crisis and wait until we are forced to see a therapist before reaching out for help. Seeing a therapist may be a valuable way to contribute to the quality of our lives, and an effective method to maintain balance and a sense of fulfillment. We may seek therapy when we’re faced with an urgent problem, when we have interpersonal problems, or when we feel generally down. The treatment can sometimes consist of a one-time visit, or a client can work with a therapist for a few months to explore the root causes of their issues and find ways to change their thinking and behavioural patterns that don’t serve them. It may also be beneficial to view therapy as an investment in your future self. By addressing issues that you are facing presently and even issues that have been brewing for a long time, your future self will likely be happier and better able to cope with the inevitable struggles of everyday life.
1) Crisis situations
Most clients seek the help of a therapist when faced with a crisis. A crisis can be defined as a situation that represents an immediate threat to our lives. When a crisis unfolds, we tend to feel fearful, suicidal, or unable to live our life in a healthy and productive way. A crisis can occur when: one of our loved ones has died, we experience a breakup or a divorce, we are in danger or have been harmed in some way, or we feel low and depressed, as though all hope is lost. The reason why one seeks the help of a professional therapist in a crisis would be to stabilize their situation and eliminate or reduce the immediate threat to our psychological well-being. In some cases, a single session with a therapist can help. However, in many cases, when viewing ourselves analytically, we may discover deeper, underlying reasons why the crisis occurred in the first place. The possible causes that led to a crisis may require our attention. The therapeutic work undertaken with a skilled therapist can help to efficiently resolve this conflict and provide tools to properly deal with one’s reality. Long term therapy may provide practical solutions to your problems and help combat new issues.
2) Non-crisis problems
There is a whole range of non-crisis situations that may affect our lives in negative ways. Some of the common reasons people seek professional help include sleep difficulties, procrastination and laziness, relationship problems, feeling down, or feeling anxious or afraid. These issues and more can be resolved or significantly improved when working with a skilled psychotherapist. This type of therapy, referred to as “counseling” can be a valuable tool for discovering and treating underlying causes of one’s problems, issues, or conditions.
When Should We Consider Psychotherapy?
We don’t need to be experiencing a major problem or wait to be in crisis in order to see a therapist. Psychotherapy can be a valuable tool to help us deal with stress, anxiety, depression, traumatic or critical incidents, lack of focus and concentration, sleep difficulties, pain management, relationship issues, or family problems. Sometimes, the act of confiding in someone and venting emotions and thoughts can help alleviate the negative symptoms we are faced with. The number of people dealing with these issues is growing but a skilled therapist can help alleviate and resolve these issues. Often, trying to deal with these issues on our own without the expertise or training of a professional can prove to be quite challenging. Certain signs that indicate we might benefit from using the services of a professional therapist include, but are not limited to:
- Experiencing anxiety and prolonged periods of sadness
- Overwhelming feelings and inability to perform everyday tasks
- Having an unstable mood
- Suffering from a chaotic emotional state
- Being on edge all the time
- Having poor concentration and lack of focus
- Being unproductive at work
- Participating in self-destructive behaviours and self-negating patterns
- Feeding into behavioural patterns that are harming us and/or others (e.g., using drugs, drinking too much alcohol, being aggressive, being co-dependent)
- Observing that the problems seem to be getting worse despite our best effort to remedy the situation for us and our family & friends
Does therapy really work?
The work we do on ourselves and the shift of consciousness that we undergo affects our everyday lives and the way we confront issues. Whether we are going through a crisis in our life, or just want to deepen our understanding of ourselves and explore ways to enhance our lives, therapy can assist us in finding healthy outlets for our emotions. Therefore, the decision to work with a therapist may be one of the most important decisions we ever make. Indeed, deciding to see a therapist may directly impact our quality of life and allow us to reclaim our personal power. In turn, having personal power is essential to shaping our present reality and future destiny in a way that is aligned with our personality and ambition. To a great extent, our expectations shape our experience of reality. For instance, if we see ourselves as successful, we are more likely to succeed. Approaching therapy with the mindset that it can provide solutions to your situation is the most beneficial approach to obtaining the results you seek. Overall, the benefits of psychotherapy are well documented and supported by strong scientific evidence.
Is going to therapy a sign of weakness?
Unfortunately, even though things are certainly improving due to recent anti-stigma initiatives, there are still many misconceptions about psychotherapy. Many individuals who make the decision to initiate counselling feel like they have been defeated; they perceive themselves as being weak for seeing a mental health professional, even though they do this to get the help they need to deal with their problems. From an impartial point of view, these assumptions don’t make sense. Just as we would most likely visit a specialist to cast a broken arm, seeing a mental health professional is a reasonable decision when tackling psychological issues. By right, seeking help through therapy should be an empowering step for clients. A visit at a therapist’s office can be one of the most helpful and enlightening experiences that one can take. It has the potential to open a new chapter in your life and to relieve you of suffering after having struggled on your own for a long time.
References: Mental disorders and mental illness. (2020). https://psychcentral.com/. Ching, J., Londoño-McConnell, A., Ducharme, E., Gock, T., Lonning, B., Molitor, N., … Ritz, M. (2020, July). Understanding Psychotherapy and How it Works. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-psychotherapy.
Roy Psychotherapy offers a wealth of dedicated mental health professionals with experience and training in various therapeutic traditions. Because of the abundant assortment of therapists at Roy Psychotherapy’s disposal, patients receive a more holistic approach to treatment than they might with other clinics. It is not uncommon for those suffering from mental illness to have a complex set of mental, biochemical, physical and perspective-based issues which compound one another. Our clinic offers interactive healing and can create a treatment program that is tailored specifically for each client. The following is a brief overview of many mental wellness therapies offered by Roy Psychotherapy.
Self –Regulation Therapy
When the nervous system is resourced, it does what it needs to do, e.g., release emotions that have been held inside; or make a shift in a desirable direction. We look for the best resources for you, which may include a person, a spiritual being, an animal, a special place, a nice memory, etc. When you remember an experience or imagine one, your nervous system responds as if that is what is happening in the moment; it then does what it needs to do. Emotions that are released move through the body; this is experienced as heat, tingling, tears, etc. The release of emotion/sensation from the nervous system creates room for positive feelings and coping. Working in this way, you free yourself up from unresolved feelings or experiences; and/or develop resources to deal with issues. For example, by virtue of its plasticity and ability to develop new neural networks, the brain can develop alternate sources of pleasure to reduce dependency on substances/behaviours, or release pain. Providing the best resources to the nervous system facilitates the regulation of stress or fluctuating mood, and helps with the resolution of trauma. We can develop alternate, healthier ways of dealing with other people. Parts of the brain which are over-functioning (anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, social anxiety) or under-functioning (depression) can be normalized, decreasing the need for medication.
(Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
EMDR, through the bi-lateral stimulation of the brain, helps with resolution of trauma, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. When the brain is stimulated with a side-to-side movement of the eyes, or a side-to-side movement of sound, the left and right sides of the brain work together to resolve an issue. But care must be taken that the stimulation not lead to overwhelm, dissociation, and only an apparent reduction of symptoms.
Some couples have conflict because they do not know effective ways to communicate. Others, because they are reacting to characteristics in their partner that are similar to characteristics of their parents ("I married my dad!"). Joint sessions focus on learning appropriate and respectful ways to communicate feelings and needs; and productive ways to resolve conflict. Sessions may focus on resolving some of the family of origin issues that the spouse/partner is triggering. Healing past hurts reduces the chances that issues will be projected onto the spouse/partner by, e.g., blaming the other person, which can lead to defensiveness and escalation.
Family sessions can help with parenting issues such as inappropriate child or adolescent behaviours (verbal abuse; alcohol/drug consumption; sexual behaviour; etc.); bullying (perpetrator or victim); or other symptoms such as insomnia; anxiety; school issues, etc. Other difficulties that can be helped with family counselling include 'blended family' issues; dealing with aged parents; and issues related to separation and divorce, including 'high conflict' divorce.
Bioenergetic therapy uses awareness experiences (attending to muscular tension, posture, breathing patterns, etc); physical intervention (grounding, stretching, stress reduction tools, deepening the breath to charge the body or create states of relaxation, etc.); and direct expression (understand, release, and integrate traumatic material from the past through body movements, exercises, and experiences that deepen emotional expression) to bring about the conscious integration of mind and body, reduce emotional stress, and help with the problems of living.
Energy therapies use techniques such as tapping and alternating sound; or technologies such as soft lasers, to rebalance energy flows that are too weak or too strong. It is imbalance in energy flows and blockages that cause symptoms and disease. Stimulating the acupoints or balancing the energy in the chakras helps to alleviate symptoms and support greater health, harmony, and well-being and other physical exercises to help a patient become aware and capable of healing their emotional state. Body Oriented Psychotherapy is effective precisely because it uses multiple entry points into understanding the human psyche and moving toward total integration.
Inappropriate behaviours from a supervisor/manager including demeaning statements, sexually inappropriate behaviour, favoritism, etc. Inappropriate behaviour from co-workers such as 'cliques'; unwanted comments; dual relationships, etc. Psychotherapy can help with developing strategies to deal with inappropriate behaviours. It can help with developing assertiveness and the communication skills needed for the workplace. Work/life balance issues can be addressed.
We look at how spiritual resources can help with the resolution of issues and provide support when we have done all we can do ourselves or are feeling overwhelmed. We explore how spiritual practices can bring hope, strength, perspective, better values, more balance, etc.