When someone learns that I’m a psychotherapist, I’m often told that they think they should “talk to someone,” but that the whole idea is overwhelming and scary. I understand their fear and hesitation. Talking to someone that you don’t know about personal things is complex, and that’s after you’ve gone through the process of finding someone. If you’re still on the fence about the benefits of talk therapy, consider this: About 75% of people who participate in talk therapy experience some benefit, according to the American Psychological Association.Our goal is to answer some of the frequently asked questions hoping that contacting us or any therapist will be less intimidating, and you will be able to find the right therapist for you.
Why would I want to talk to a therapist?
Talk therapy encourages open and honest dialogue about issues that cause you distress. People usually decide to talk to a therapist when the pain of what they are trying to cope with becomes too big for them to handle on their own and they recognize they need help. Through your relationship with your therapist, you’ll work to identify and understand how these stressors are impacting your life, plus develop strategies to manage the symptoms.
What should qualities should I look for in a therapist?
There are lots of very good therapists out there–doing all types of therapy. However, studies show that more important than the type of therapy, the biggest indicator of client success is the therapeutic relationship that develops between the therapist and client. In other words, there needs to be a ‘good fit’.
If possible, have a phone or email conversation when you first make contact with a potential therapist. For that reason, we offer a brief consultation via phone. This is where you get to ask if this person has experience in helping people navigted your specific area(s) of concern. If that goes well, then schedule the initial (intake) session.
How long will I be in therapy? Do I have to go forever?
While therapists learn various types of therapies (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Emotionally Focused Therapy, etc.), therapy is also an art. Every client is different, with different needs for the amount of time they will be seeing a therapist. I operate from the perspective of ‘this is your therapy,’ and you get to choose. If a client is in crisis, then I suggest meeting weekly until things become more stable. Once the crisis has passed, we move to bi-weekly or even monthly sessions. It depends on what the client chooses as well as what is in their best interest therapeutically.
Ethically, a therapist shouldn’t want a client to have to come forever. The overall goal is that people feel better and go back to their lives with tools and new ways of coping with the challenges that might come their way because life will continue to happen. While we cannot control every possible outcome, we will work together to equip you better to navigate such challenges.
Consider the 10 reasons below why some people choose to seek therapy:
1. Change happens. Life's transitions occur. Therapy provides a companion for the journey.
Sometimes things happen that we’re not comfortable discussing with our friends or family. To be completely honest, there are some things that should NOT be shared with friends or family. A therapist is an impartial listener that provides a safe sounding board–someone to look at pros and cons of possible choices. Often we need to talk to someone to help us get some perspective on life events.
2. Brain health
For many people, anxiety and/or depression is a current experience. Psychotherapy has been shown to be helpful in working through anxiety and/or depression by providing support to discuss underlying issues that may be contributing factors, as well as teaching coping skills to help lessen the side-effects.
3. Improved ability to regain balance faster after a life-altering event such as grief and loss.
Grief and loss are a part of life, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, job, pet, relationship or physical ability. Therapy is a way to work through the grief process with support.
4. A therapist is an impartial person to talk to about negative emotions/thoughts/etc. care giving (new infant, elderly parent or spouse).
Taking care of a loved one can be difficult–especially over a long period. As caregivers, we are human and can sometimes experience feelings of frustration and anger as we become tired and overwhelmed. Talking to a therapist about any opposing thoughts or feelings can provide a place to release and normalize these feelings and help you to be able to return to your caregiving role.
5. Therapists can provide perspective (normalize events in our lives).
Most people wonder if the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors they are experiencing are "normal" at some point in their lives. Because of the wide variety of people and their situations that therapists have encountered, they can provide a sense of perspective about your experience. If there is some concern about what is happening, a therapist can support you as you move in the right direction.
6. Therapy provides an opportunity to heal from past trauma.
Everyone has ‘stuff’–those past events in our lives that affect how we cope in the present. We often think of trauma as ‘big’ things–the sudden death of a loved one, a car accident, an assault–but trauma is highly personal and could be something that may appear to be small to some people and is a stumbling block to others. A therapist can help you cope with and/or move beyond your trauma and see positive changes in your life.
7. A key person in your life is concerned about you and suggesting that you talk to someone.
It is sometimes the people that are closest to us that can see when we need help. Often we become so used to our negative (maladaptive) coping strategies that we don’t notice them anymore. Getting help may make all the difference in taking control of your life.
8. You are suffering from body symptoms that are not helped with physical treatments (stomach aches, headaches, muscle tension).
Our bodies are amazing things. Sometimes, they tell us what our minds are choosing to ignore. The body holds on to negative emotions and past trauma, and when physical treatments are not working, it may be time to look elsewhere.
9. You are self-soothing using inappropriate methods drugs, alcohol, shopping, etc.
Most of us will resort to ‘comfort’ food after a bad day at work or an argument with a friend. However, when we are doing this daily or our self-soothing behavior has moved on to activities that hurt rather than help, it’s time to get help.
10. An important relationship is going through a rough patch or falling apart.
Relationships are tricky things. They require work and sometimes get off-track. Seeing a therapist can provide tools and a forum to help get a relationship past the rough patch and provide support if a relationship is ending.
While these are ten reasons to see a therapist, there are as many reasons as individuals, couples, and families. Everyone who comes to counseling does so with their own story and situation. If you see yourself for any of these reasons, seeing a therapist may be the next step.
Copyright © 2021 Denise M. Newton, LCSW, LLC. - All Rights Reserved.
Phone: (203) 941-1884 | Fax: (203) 712-7718
Mental health is governed by many internal factors—like anxiety, fear, depression, and worry—and, external forces such as sickness, hardship, and loss. Mental health is just as important as keeping the rest of your body in good health. Our mental health influences how we move through life, how we view ourselves, and how we relate to others; that’s why it is crucial to cultivate a positive and healthy mindset by discussing our mental health concerns with a professional. Our bodies, minds, thoughts, and feelings need to be cared for frequently and purposefully.