Treating Depression

You Need Psychotherapy

Ultilising psychotherapy for depression has helped quite a lot of people. It would no doubt help you too especially if you need help to cope or you feel too overwhelmed to deal with your problems. Here is a concise post about psychotherapy

What it is

Psychotherapy is often referred to as talk therapy, and that’s what you’ll be doing as your treatment continues. Involving counselling sessions, it provides you with a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with an expert who’s objective, neutral, and will not judge you. You and your psychologist will work together to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.

By the end of the first few sessions, you should have a new understanding of your problem, a game plan, and a new sense of hope.

As you begin to resolve the problem that brought you to psychotherapy, you’ll also be learning new skills that will help you see yourself and the world differently. You’ll learn how to distinguish between situations you can change and those you can’t and how to focus on improving the things within your control.

You’ll also learn resilience, which will help you better cope with future challenges. A 2006 study of treatment for depression and anxiety, for example, found that the cognitive and behavioral approaches used in psychotherapy have an enduring effect that reduces the risk of symptoms returning even after treatment ends. Another study found a similar result when evaluating the long-term effects of psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Soon you’ll have a new perspective and new ways of thinking and behaving.

There are several approaches to psychotherapy—including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and other kinds of talk therapy—that will help you work through your problems.

When should you consider psychotherapy?

Truth is it depends on you,what you are passing through and how much toll it has taken on your life as a whole.

Some people seek psychotherapy because they have felt depressed, anxious, or angry for a long time. Others may want help for a chronic illness that is interfering with their emotional or physical well-being. Still others may have short-term problems they need help navigating. They may be going through a divorce, facing an empty nest, feeling overwhelmed by a new job, or grieving a family member’s death, for example.

Signs that you could benefit from therapy include:

  • You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness
  • Your problems don’t seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends
  • You find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or to carry out other everyday activities
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst, or are constantly on edge

 

What kind of psychotherapy will you get?

The kind of treatment you receive will depend on your psychologist’s theoretical orientation, and what works best for your situation.

Your psychologist may combine elements from several styles of psychotherapy. In fact, most therapists don’t tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each patient’s needs.

Making your first contact

You may feel nervous about contacting a psychologist. That anxiety is perfectly normal. But having the courage to overcome that anxiety and make a contact is the first step in the process of empowering yourself to feel better.

Psychologists understand how difficult it can be to make initial contact. The first call is something new for you, but it’s something they handle regularly.

Leave a message with your name, your contact number, and why you are contacting or just sign up to a reputable site that offer these services. You might also send an enquiry.

It’s enough to just say that you are interested in knowing more about psychotherapy and they’ll lead a brief conversation to get a better sense of what you need and they’ll let you know what next to do.

Keep an open mind. Even if you’re skeptical about psychotherapy or are just going because someone told you to, be willing to give it a try. Be willing to be open and honest so you can take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about yourself.

Having your first session

It’s normal to feel nervous when you are about to start your first psychotherapy session. But preparing ahead of time and knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves.

What should I bring?

A typical psychotherapy session lasts 45 to 50 minutes. To make the most of your time, make a list of the points you want to cover in your first session and what you want to work on in psychotherapy. Be prepared to share information about what’s bringing you to the psychologist.

If you’re on any medications, jot down which medications and what dosage so your psychologist can have that information.

Should I worry about confidentiality?

Psychologists consider maintaining your privacy extremely important. It is a part of their professional code of ethics. More importantly, it is a condition of their professional license. Psychologists who violate patient confidentiality risk losing their ability to practice psychology in the future.

To make your psychotherapy as effective as possible, you need to be open and honest about your most private thoughts and behaviors. That can be nerve-wracking, but you don’t have to worry about your psychologist sharing your secrets with anyone except in the most extreme situations.

If you reveal that you plan to hurt yourself or others, for example, your psychologist is duty-bound to report that to authorities for your own protection and the safety of others.

Of course, you can always give your psychologist written permission to share all or part of your discussions with your physician, teachers, or anyone else if you desire.

Psychologists take confidentiality so seriously that they may not even acknowledge that they know you if they bump into you at the supermarket or anywhere else. And it’s OK for you to not say hello either. Your psychologist won’t feel bad; he or she will understand that you’re protecting your privacy.

Assessing psychotherapy’s effectiveness

Some people wonder why they can’t just talk about their problems with family members or friends. Psychologists offer more than someplace to vent. Psychologists have years of training and experience that help people improve their lives. And there is significant evidence showing that psychotherapy is a very effective treatment.

How effective is psychotherapy?

Hundreds of studies have found that psychotherapy helps people make positive changes in their lives.

Reviews of these studies show that about 75% of people who enter psychotherapy show some benefit. Other reviews have found that the average person who engages in psychotherapy is better off by the end of treatment than 80% of those who don’t receive treatment at all.

How does psychotherapy work?

Successful treatment is the result of three factors working together:

  • Evidence-based treatment that is appropriate for your problem
  • The psychologist’s clinical expertise
  • Your characteristics, values, culture, and preferences

When people begin psychotherapy, they often feel that their distress is never going to end. Psychotherapy helps people understand that they can do something to improve their situation. That leads to changes that enhance healthy behavior, whether it’s improving relationships, expressing emotions better, doing better at work or school, or thinking more positively.

While some issues and problems respond best to a particular style of therapy, what remains critical and important is the therapeutic alliance and relationship with your psychologist.

What if psychotherapy doesn’t seem to be working?

When you began psychotherapy, your psychologist probably worked with you to develop goals and a rough timeline for treatment. As you go along, you should be asking yourself whether the psychologist seems to understand you, whether the treatment plan makes sense, and whether you feel like you’re making progress.

Some people begin to feel better in about six to 12 sessions. If you don’t start seeing signs of progress, discuss it with your psychologist. Your psychologist may initiate a conversation about what to do. If he or she doesn’t, bring it up yourself. You could ask your psychologist about additional or alternative treatment methods, for example. Sometimes speaking up to your psychologist can be very empowering, especially since your psychologist will be understanding and nonjudgmental instead of offended.

Keep in mind that as psychotherapy progresses, you may feel overwhelmed. You may feel more angry, sad, or confused than you did at the beginning of the process. That doesn’t mean psychotherapy isn’t working. Instead, it can be a sign that your psychologist is pushing you to confront difficult truths or do the hard work of making changes. In such cases, these strong emotions are a sign of growth rather than evidence of a standstill. Remember, sometimes things may feel worse before they get better.

In some cases, of course, the relationship between a patient and the psychologist isn’t as good as it should be. The psychologist should be willing to address those kinds of issues, too. If you’re worried about your psychologist’s diagnosis of your problems, it might be helpful to get a second opinion from another psychologist, as long as you let your original psychologist know you’re doing so.

If the situation doesn’t improve, you and your psychologist may decide it’s time for you to start working with a new psychologist. Don’t take it personally. It’s not you; it’s just a bad fit. And because the therapeutic alliance is so crucial to the effectiveness of psychotherapy, you need a good fit.

If you do decide to move on, don’t just stop coming to your first psychologist. Instead, tell him or her that you’re leaving and why you’re doing so. A good psychologist will refer you to someone else, wish you lucky, and urge you not to give up on psychotherapy just because your first attempt didn’t go well. Tell your next psychologist what didn’t work to help ensure a better fit.

Knowing when you’re done

You might think that undergoing psychotherapy means committing to years of weekly treatment. Not so.

How long should psychotherapy take?

How long psychotherapy takes depends on several factors: the type of problem or disorder, the patient’s characteristics and history, the patient’s goals, what’s going on in the patient’s life outside psychotherapy, and how fast the patient is able to make progress.

Some people feel relief after only a single session of psychotherapy. Meeting with a psychologist can give a new perspective, help them see situations differently, and offer relief from pain. Most people find some benefit after a few sessions, especially if they’re working on a single, well-defined problem and didn’t wait too long before seeking help.

If you’ve been suffering from extreme anxiety, for example, you might feel better simply because you’re taking action—a sign of hope that things will change. Your psychologist might also offer a fresh perspective early in your treatment that gives you a new understanding of your problem. And even if your problem doesn’t go away after a few sessions, you may feel confident that you’re already making progress and learning new coping skills that will serve you well in the future.

Other people and situations take longer—maybe a year or two—to benefit from psychotherapy. They may have experienced serious traumas, have multiple problems, or just be unclear about what’s making them unhappy. It’s important to stick with psychotherapy long enough to give it a chance to work.

People with serious mental illness or other significant life changes may need ongoing psychotherapy. Regular sessions can provide the support they need to maintain their day-to-day functioning.

Others continue psychotherapy even after they solve the problems that brought them there initially. That’s because they continue to experience new insights, improved well-being, and better functioning.

How do I know when I’m ready to stop?

Psychotherapy isn’t a lifetime commitment.

In one classic study, half of psychotherapy patients improved after eight sessions. And 75% improved after six months.

You and your psychologist will decide together when you are ready to end psychotherapy. One day, you’ll realize you’re no longer going to bed and waking up worrying about the problem that brought you to psychotherapy. Or you will get positive feedback from others. For a child who was having trouble in school, a teacher might report that the child is no longer disruptive and is making progress both academically and socially. Together you and your psychologist will assess whether you’ve achieved the goals you established at the beginning of the process.

What happens after psychotherapy ends?

You probably visit your physician for periodic check-ups. You can do the same with your psychologist.

You might want to meet with your psychologist again a couple of weeks or a month after psychotherapy ends just to report how you’re doing. If all is well, you can wrap things up at that follow-up session.

And don’t think of psychotherapy as having a beginning, middle and end. You can solve one problem, then face a new situation in your life and feel the skills you learned during your last course of treatment need a little tweaking. Just contact your psychologist again. After all, he or she already knows your story.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for a crisis to see your psychologist again. You might just need a “booster” session to reinforce what you learned last time. Think of it as a mental health tune-up.

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