What is therapy?
Therapy; also called psychotherapy, is usually facilitated by a Therapist or Psychologist with an aim to resolve problematic behaviours, beliefs and feelings, interpersonal (relationship) issues and/or somatic sensations (bodily symptoms caused by psychological distress). It is a process of identifying your values and belief systems, understanding how they came into existence and choosing to release and change those that no longer serve a helpful purpose. It is a safe place to be vulnerable and honest, and to receive unconditional and genuine support.
Why is therapy important?
Through therapy you can change self-destructive behaviours and habits, resolve painful memories and feelings, learn new skills, improve relationships and generally improve mental flexibility. Mental flexibility (clinical studies show us) directly impacts your physical health! Better mental flexibility equates to better mental health which in turn equates to better physical health. 💪🏿
How long should therapy last?
As already identified higher up, therapy is a process and as such it will take multiple sessions to be able to assess psychological difficulties, identify triggers, change perceptions and assumptions and create new healthier patterns of behaviours and emotional processes that result in greater inner peace. The number of sessions will vary on the type of issue (anixety, depression etc. ), severity of the issue (how much it affects daily functioning), your individual perception of yourself and of the world (amount of work needed to improve/adjust mental flexibility).
Is therapy painful?
Therapy can be emotionally painful. Consider this, the inability to process past experiences causes us to try to anticipate anything remotely close to the pain that we felt. Thus we avoid treating with painful experiences, people and situations. If we want to break unhealthy patterns that leave us frustrated, drained and unhappy we have to undo the pattern. Essentially, we must remove the automatic reaction of running from pain as that results in mental dis-ease and confront the pain and allow it to pass creating mental ease. I always tell my clients this catchy tidbit: short term ease (avoiding or ignoring pain) = long term distress (mental unwellness) while short term distress (acknowledging and allowing pain to pass) = long term ease (mental wellness).
Do I need a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses. Their training allows them to prescribe and monitor medications for the management of mental health conditions.
Psychologists are experts in the study of the mind and its behaviors, and specialize in the evaluation and treatment of mental and emotional conditions. They are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medications. Their training is focused on treatment methods, psychological theory, and behavioral therapy.
Effects of psychiatry often alleviate the symptoms of mental distress; while effects of psychology help to alleviate the distress altogether. In some cases, both forms of treatment may be necessary.