What is Psychotherapy or Counseling?
Almost 20 million American adults in 2017 had received some type of mental health services in the past year, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Some of these mental health services include some form of psychotherapy or counseling.
Psychotherapy is also known as counseling or talk therapy, because it involves talking with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other type of therapist. Psychotherapy also may involve learning healthier habits under a therapist’s guidance.
People use psychotherapy to help cope with many different challenges. These may include learning to manage a mental disorder, such as depression, ADHD, or schizophrenia. Others use counseling to help them address other difficulties, such as the death of a loved one, job loss, anger issues, weight loss, or addiction.
What happens during psychotherapy or counseling?
Therapy may be one-on-one, family or couple sessions, or group therapy. Most counseling sessions start out on a once a week basis and range between 30-60 minutes long.
Psychotherapy may involve just a few sessions on a short-term basis to address an immediate issue, such as the loss of a loved one. Psychotherapy may also last months or years to address more complex issues, such as trauma or addiction.
Some of the things you may talk about during psychotherapy include:
- Current problems or symptoms that concern you
- Past challenges or symptoms you have experienced
- Your thoughts and feelings about different things, events, or people in your life
- Past or current relationships
- Previous treatment you may have tried
- How you are currently coping with problems
- Past decisions and experiences
- Ideas or people that are important to you
Psychotherapy sessions are intended to help you understand how some thoughts or behaviors may be troubling, ineffective, or dangerous. Your therapist can help you develop personal goals and better habits, which can help you feel more in control of your thoughts and behavior.
What kinds of psychotherapy or counseling are there?
There are many different types of psychotherapy. Two of the most common and effective types used at Carolina Partners include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):
- Focuses on the relationship between an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Explores thoughts that may be behind a person’s disruptive behaviors
- Teaches individuals to identify and change inappropriate or negative thinking and behavior
- Addresses specific behaviors associated with a person’s mental illness
- Recognizes negative or harmful thoughts or mindsets
- Replaces negative perceptions, memories, decision making, and problem solving with more positive approaches that can lead to more appropriate, beneficial behavior
- May involve “homework” in-between sessions to help an individual practice new habits
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT):
- Was originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan at the University of Washington to treat people with borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Incorporates some standard CBT techniques for regulating emotions and thinking objectively
- Is meant to increase a person’s acceptance, tolerance of distress, and mindfulness
- Is experimentally demonstrated to help treat BPD
- May also be effective in treating patients with different symptoms and behaviors associated with spectrum mood disorders, including self-injury
- May also be effective for sexual abuse survivors and those with chemical dependency
Are there side effects to psychotherapy or counseling?
Psychotherapy or counseling does not have side effects the same way that certain medications might. However, some people may experience discomfort from the challenges of counseling.
You may find some things difficult or painful to talk about. Your therapist may ask questions that make you uncomfortable or uncertain. Your counselor may challenge you to try something new in your thinking or behavior.
You may feel nervous or fearful about the things you tell your counselor. However, like physical healthcare providers, counselors are committed to confidentiality. They will not share the things you tell them with others.
Does psychotherapy or counseling really work?
Not every type of psychotherapy or counseling is suited for every person, but with the right approach, psychotherapy can be highly effective.
- One study found that 10 weeks of either interpersonal psychotherapy or psychoeducative group therapy was significantly effective for adults with major depressive disorder.
- With the right therapist, psychotherapy can be more effective long-term than medication for many people with anxiety or depression.
- Specifically, CBT is considered the “gold standard” of psychotherapy because of its effectiveness. Research has demonstrated that CBT has long-term effectiveness for anxiety disorders in youth as well as adults.
It is important that both you and your therapist are committed to the process. Therapy is only truly successful if both you and your therapist fully participate in working toward your goals.
How can I get psychotherapy or counseling?
Contact MindPath Care Centers at 919-792-3940, ext 963, to schedule a consultation. You can also check out our lists of specialists who focus on CBT or DBT.
MindPath Care Centers may recommend a psychiatric evaluation before counseling. In some cases, this may be done online through our free, downloadable Telehealth app. Telehealth also can help you schedule and manage routine follow-ups and stay in touch with your provider.
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health symptoms, help is available.
At MindPath Care Center, we believe that each person has a right to compassionate, thorough, personalized care. Since 1994, we have made your empowerment our priority, and are committed to providing the resources and knowledge you need to thrive.
Providing individual, patient-centered care, including psychotherapy and counseling, not only benefits the individual, but strengthens our families and communities. MindPath Care Centers is committed to being an accessible, comfortable, safe place to receive mental health care from over 120 experienced, professional associates. This diverse network allows our experts to collaborate to provide the best care possible.
Call now to be matched with a specialist near you. Take your first step to living to your full potential!