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The various levels in getting help from a therapist

Psychotherapy today comes in many varieties: The psychoanalyst will probe your unconscious ; the behaviorist will rearrange your reinforcement contingencies; the cognitive therapist will challenge your irrational thoughts; the humanist will provide a safe space within which you may activate your self actualization tendency; the existentialist will encourage your find meaning in the desert of existence; the reality therapist will guide you toward choosing behaviors that facilitate your connection to others; the feminist therapist may show you how your personal problems are manifestations of political patriarchal oppression, and so forth, on and on.

In this rich ecology, no single therapy theory or technique holds a monopoly on healing. Depending on the particular context—when, where, how, and with whom they are used—multiple approaches, explanations, and interventions may prove effective and helpful, or, alternately, ineffective and harmful.

Given this, and the endless array of choices, how can potential clients tell good therapy from bad? Well, just as all wines—despite their great diversity in taste, price, and presentation—share the same active ingredient grapesso it is with therapy: Underneath the surface diversity all good therapies share several underlying principles. The various levels in getting help from a therapist common factors are in fact responsible for most of the healing that takes place in therapy.

Good therapy is not friendship. There are several differences between friendship and therapy. First, you may have multiple relationships with your friends. You can go into business with them, borrow money from them, have sex with them. With your therapist, you can only do therapy. Your therapist may be friendly, but she is not your friend. If your therapist is your friend then she is not your therapist. You can hang with your friends for no good reason other than that you enjoy it, are used to it, or have nothing better to do.

Therapy is purposeful and pragmatic, moving deliberately toward one or more mutually negotiated goals. Therapy is not an end in itself. Third, you and your friends have a mutual, equal claim on your encounter. Therapy is not like that. By design it is one sided. It is about the client. Every action of the therapist can legitimately be directed only toward one goal—helping the client. The therapist cannot use therapy time, or the therapeutic relations, to take care of their own needs.

Good therapy is evidence-based. Good therapy involves keeping good records, connecting anecdotes into patterns, generating hypotheses and testing them.

Good therapy is responsive to new knowledge. It admits and corrects its mistakes. While good therapy seeks to foster hope and nourish the expectation of change, its promises are tethered to facts. If your therapist guarantees success or promises to change your personalitywalk away. There is art to good therapy, since it is an intentional human encounter, and as such is inherently dynamic, creative, and unique. But the art of good therapy must align with science in the way that the art of architectural design must align with the principles of sound engineering.

What the therapist suggests to the client—the course of action, the explanations and interventions—should be based on scientific research, to the extent that such research exists. Good therapy does not contradict or ignore sound scientific data, knowledge, or evidence.

Thinking of a career in therapy? Here are your options

Good therapy recognizes the simple truth—simple yet not easy it took the Catholic church 300 years too long to figure it out regarding Galileo —that the evidence wins out in the end. Good therapy looks to facilitate sound mental health.

Mental health, however, is not a destination, not an end in itself, not a place you arrive at, pearly-gates style, to be ushered into bliss.

  1. This takes up to three months, but it can be waived if you have some previous experience. Getting into counselling Professional counsellor training takes three to five years and can be diploma or degree level.
  2. Underneath the surface diversity all good therapies share several underlying principles.
  3. First, you may have multiple relationships with your friends. This profession also provides assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of severe psychological symptoms.

Rather, mental health is a process you adopt and use in the pursuit of your chosen goals. In other words, mental health is your driving skill, not the destination of your trip. The therapist, therefore, is not a chauffeur but a driving instructor. Good therapy concerns itself with judgments, but it is not about judging people, in the same way that a church must concern itself with finances, but should not be about money.

Most people who come to therapy have been judged harshly enough for their troubles—by themselves, their peers, spouses, employers, neighbors, and, often, society at large. They have also been given plenty of advice.

The Difference Between Counseling, Therapy, and Psychology Careers

Therefore, unlike media therapists, good therapists go light on both judgment and advice. They come for an experience—a healing, corrective experience. What they require is understandingempathy, attention, acceptance, and encouragement. And needless to say, good therapy does not condescend, patronize, abuseabandon, manipulate, lie, or cheat.

Good therapy encourages and models accurate, honest, and timely feedback and communication. Video games are hugely popular. One reason is because people who play a lot can improve a lot. They improve because the video game environment provides timely, consistent, unflinching, and accurate feedback: You kill the bad guy, you move to level 2; the bad guy kills you, you repeat level 1.

  • Therapy Careers Therapy in the mental health field can be considered an overarching term that includes different types of approaches to meeting with clients;
  • Mental health, however, is not a destination, not an end in itself, not a place you arrive at, pearly-gates style, to be ushered into bliss;
  • The therapist, therefore, is not a chauffeur but a driving instructor;
  • There are many other specialties, certifications, endorsements, and licenses that are available to those seeking to become a mental health professional.

Likewise, clients improve when they receive timely, accurate feedback in therapy. Many of our encounters with people outside the therapy room are mannered, circumspect, or shallow.

Many are touched by deceit, or plagued by inattention. Our communications in the world often seek to obscure rather than reveal our true intents, to avoid the truth rather than confront it.

We are often afraid to say what we truly feel and think; afraid to hurt and be hurt; afraid that our secrets will leak out and be used against us. Truth may set us free. What is the right to privacy, if not the right to withhold truth, to maintain a distance between how we present ourselves and who we are, to keep our truths to ourselves?

Out there in the social world, truth is dangerous. Truth is safe in good therapy. Therapy creates a space that invites, expects, and is quite purposely designed for frank, probing, and revealing dialogue.

Types of Mental Health Professionals

Generally, the best predictor of success in therapy is rapport—feelings of trust and respect between the participants; a therapeutic alliance. Thus, while a therapist may look good on paper—experienced, well trained, etc. If the therapy process is not moving in the direction of improving client resilienceindependence, decision-makingand life competence, then therapy is not taking place. Some therapy approaches focus mostly on the here and now, or on the future, while others focus mainly on re-envisioning past experiences.

  • There are several differences between friendship and therapy;
  • However, the term is not definitive of the level of competence a mental health professional will have;
  • In reality, there is a huge overlap and in practice you will see counsellors and psychotherapists doing both;
  • Two or three, but the light bulb has to want to change.

Either way, good therapy makes room for biography. The past is not the only key, but is often one key to the present. We may not focus on it, but acknowledge it we must. We all come from somewhere. And where we come from has implications for where we are and who we are.

The past may not determine the present, but it certainly informs it.

  1. It's usually offered to people who have mild to moderate depression and have already tried other therapies, such as guided self-help. There are several differences between friendship and therapy.
  2. MBCT is one of the options that may be offered to you after a course of treatment for depression to help stop it coming back. In theory, counsellors work shorter term with life issues, such as bereavement and relationships, while a psychotherapist works over a longer period of time with more complicated or enduring mental health issues.
  3. For some courses you may have to attend therapy throughout your training. Good therapy is not friendship.
  4. You may be offered IPT if you have severe depression or depression that hasn't responded to other talking therapies, such as CBT. Most people who come to therapy have been judged harshly enough for their troubles—by themselves, their peers, spouses, employers, neighbors, and, often, society at large.
  5. Feeling comfortable with the professional you choose is very important to the success of your treatment.

And it informs good therapy. People experience life through their senses. Our individual sensory experiences—while rooted in the common soil of our evolutionary heritage—are shaped by our genetic makeup and life experiences, both of which are unique. Thus, while on some level we are all in this together, on another, to paraphrase Lilly Tomlin, we are all in this alone.

Which is to say, how you represent and process the phenomena of the world may be quite different from how I do so. Good therapists know that to understand the client, they must understand her subjective experience. Not just her circumstances, but what the circumstances mean to her.

In other words, good therapy accepts that while, for example, your mother is in all likelihood an average person by objective measurements, she is special to you, because of how she is represented in your subjective world. Good therapy happens when the client does the work. In fact, both parents and therapists are less powerful than they and the world believe they are.

  • The psychologists typically work alongside psychiatrists, who are the only ones allowed to make diagnoses or prescribe drugs, when assessing clients;
  • If therapy is to work for the client, the client has to work for the therapy.

All therapy, in a fundamental sense, is self-therapy. If therapy is to work for the client, the client has to work for the therapy. As the old joke goes: How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Two or three, but the light bulb has to want to change. And yes, humor belongs in good therapy. Good therapy offers support, requires learning, and facilitates action. Good therapy engages clients on multiple levels. Then, good therapy will also facilitate learning—new insights, new ways of thinking, of communicating with others, and managing emotion.