Psychotherapy is a process that helps people resolve their emotional problems, usually through the self-awareness that is gained in a therapeutic relationship.
As there is no primary or independent profession of psychotherapy, psychotherapists enter and practice it from one of several related disciplines or fields – medicine, psychology, clergy, psychiatric nursing, social work, education, MFT, mental health counseling, clinical pastoral education, among others.
Each profession approaches psychotherapy with different natures and degrees of expertise as well as with different perspectives (e.g. medicine through the physical body, psychology through the personality, social work through social dynamics, clergy through spirituality).
The choice you make of the type of psychotherapist to work with can determine the fulfillment of your needs and outcome of psychotherapy.
People with a wide range of problems — from depression to marital strife to simple phobias like the fear of flying — can reap the benefits of psychotherapy.
The common reasons you might seek therapy are listed below.
Significant or Chronic Emotional Distress
Most people seek therapy — or any professional treatment, for that matter — to relieve pain or distress. Experiencing emotional pain is part of being human. But sometimes this distress is severe or long-standing and it could impair your daily life. Therapy might be appropriate for you if you feel emotional distress — sadness, anxiety, grief — that is persistent and troubling.
Often, emotional distress comes from difficulty in relationships. Troubled relationships may involve a spouse, parent, child, coworker or significant other. Therapy can help you understand the root of the problem and provide you with the tools you need to correct it.
Some emotional distress or relationship problems are associated with the lack of a particular skill. Such problems can include excessive shyness, poor communication, lack of assertiveness or poor anger control. Many types of psychotherapy enable people to acquire or improve these skills. In these cases, the treatment focuses on teaching people to be able to do what they need to do to feel better.
Sexual dissatisfaction and dysfunction are common problems that can be embarrassing to talk about. Over the last several decades, therapists have made substantial progress in helping people obtain the most enjoyment out of their sexual functioning.
Powerful attachments to others are uniquely human experiences. Enduring breaks in these attachments — through death or separation — can result in great emotional pain. Psychotherapy can help you cope with the loss.
Victim of Trauma or Abuse
Being the victim of physical or sexual abuse, or another form of violence, such as being in an automobile accident, can overwhelm your capacity to cope and leave scars that impair your ability to live a normal life. Psychotherapy can provide a confidential arena to discuss these issues with a caring, supportive person. By focusing on healing the wound caused by the trauma, psychotherapy can help you move forward with your life.
A Clinical Disorder or Addiction
Persons with certain disorders or conditions can benefit from regimens that include psychotherapy and other forms of treatment, such as medication. For example, research shows that individuals with conditions such as major depression or bipolar disorder benefit from a combination of psychotherapy and medication. One type of treatment without the other might produce inadequate results.
Though you might not have clinical conditions or symptoms, psychotherapy can help you learn more about yourself and others and teach you how to control your life more effectively. It can help you overcome obstacles that have kept you from reaching your goals and becoming the person you want to be.