A number of benefits are available from participating in behavioral health treatment. Therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues and creative blocks. Many people also find that psychotherapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, marriage issues, and the hassles of daily life. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you've faced, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you're at in life and making a commitment to improve the situation by seeking treatment. Psychotherapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to more effectively live the life you want.
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life.
Since each person has different issues and goals, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you discuss the current events happening in your life, personal history as it's relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from previous therapy sessions. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals.
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of treating the symptom, psychotherapy addresses the cause of the distress and behavior patterns that negatively impact progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor, you can determine the best course of action, and in some cases, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is most effective.
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask include:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client/patient and psychotherapist. Successful therapy requires a high degree of trust with sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed outside of the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of a confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “informed consent.” There are times you may want your therapist to share information or give an update to someone on your healthcare team (your physician, naturopath, attorney, etc.), but by law your therapist cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
State law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected abuse or neglect requires therapists to report to the authorities, including child protective services and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client/patient or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to believe that clients/patients are in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.