Psychotherapy and Counseling
- What is Psychotherapy?
- What is Counseling?
- Parent Counseling
- When to seek Psychotherapy / Counseling
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is method of talking therapy that is used to help people understand themselves more fully, alleviate inner suffering, solve problems and/or manage their lives and relationships better. Psychotherapy can treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, substance abuse, relationship problems and many other painful issues.
Psychotherapy is a process of self-discovery whose goal is changing painful or troubling behaviors.
Psychotherapy often involves a diagnosed mental illness or syndrome. Diagnoses may range from schizophrenia to adjustment disorder, which includes problems in everyday living.
In psychotherapy you and your therapist work together to reveal the basis of your problems and allow you to understand and gain relief from them.
Psychotherapy is limited to conversations. It does not include drug therapy or other physiological treatment though it can be used along with other therapies and treatment methods.
Psychotherapists do not have to be medically qualified in order to provide this type of treatment but they should be clinically trained in psychotherapeutic methods.
Types of Psychotherapy
Many types of psychotherapy are available and, for the most part, no one is superior to the others. The best choice will depend on your situation and specific needs. The vast majority of therapists consider themselves “eclectic” which means that they combine techniques and approaches from several types of therapy. Some common types of therapy are:
Psychodynamic Therapy: A form of therapy based on the idea that we are shaped by unconscious conflicts, significant childhood experiences and painful feelings that are hidden behind a variety of defense mechanisms. To goal is for you to gain an understanding of how certain unhappy experiences may have left you feeling sad, incomplete and suffering from low self-esteem. With understanding, you can deal more effectively with you inner conflicts. This can be analytic (Freudian, Jungian) or have another focus.
Interpersonal Therapy: Therapy focused on the your functioning with the outside world. Common themes include grief, job transitions, conflicts between you and significant other people in your life or problems in relating to other people.
Cognitive Therapy: A therapy that is used to help you identify and change ineffective or harmful thinking patterns. It is often used to treat anxiety, depression, phobias or substance abuse.
Behavioral Therapy: A therapy which focuses on observing behavior and examining rewards, which is often used to address specific behavior problems such as smoking, overeating, aggression or anger.
Cognitive – Behavior Therapy: A combination of Cognitive and Behavior therapy, using thinking changes to try to affect behavior.
Biofeedback: Uses body feedback, through various devices, to provide feedback which allows you to alter your emotional state.
Family Therapy: Uses an analysis and restructuring of the family system to bring about change — the family dynamics are central.
What is Counseling?
Counseling can take place in all kinds of relationships — anytime one person helps another to understand and solve a life problem. However, professional counseling involves obtaining help from someone trained in providing help.
Counseling promotes growth and helps you to:
- Express your feelings in a safe, supportive and nonjudgmental atmosphere.
- Identify and sort out your problems.
- Identify longstanding patterns of behavior that keep you from solving your problems and developing new ways to look at them.
- Improve your coping skills.
- Identify and achieve your goals.
Counselors can help you recognize your internal worth and examine the way you see yourself. They also help you examine old behavior you may have learned in your family.
Parent Counseling is a more focused form of counseling that aims to resolve personal issues which interfere with parenting effectiveness, and/or parenting issues which interfere with the parent or child’s personal well-being and satisfaction.
When is it time to seek counseling or psychotherapy?
No one answer is right for everyone, but if you are experiencing some of the following feelings, then counseling might help:
- You feel as if you can’t do it alone.
- You feel trapped and as if there’s nowhere to turn.
- You worry all the time and never seem to find solutions to your problems.
- Your feelings are affecting your sleep, eating, job and relationships
- You’ve tried to change, but things aren’t getting better.
What are the kinds of problems that lead people to seek counseling and psychotherapy?
- Anxiety and depression
- Family and relationship issues
- Substance abuse and other addictions
- Sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence
- Eating disorders
- Career changes and job stress
- Social and emotional issues related to illness and disability
- Adaptation to life changes
- Grief and bereavement
- Problems with shame
- Problems dealing with anger
Both Dr. Mark Smaller and Kim Richardson provide psychotherapy and counseling and are licensed by the states of Illinois and Michigan to do so.