What exactly is Psychotherapy?

Imagine you have earphones in your pocket. The wire gets tangled up, like all earphones do. Try as hard as you might, you are unable to untangle the wire, but you really want to listen to music. Tired, you decide to ask for help. You go to a person who is really good at untangling knots. They guide you in sorting out the mess, and you walk out with tangle-free earphones. Not only do they help, but they also give you a few tips and tricks, just in case something similar happens again. And true, you can buy wireless earphones, but that’s just a temporary solution. What if they run out of battery or stop working or just aren’t up to par?

The earphones are your thoughts, listening to music is living a peaceful life, and the person is a psychotherapist. This is what psychotherapy is.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people to deal with mental illnesses or emotional difficulties. Some of the problems that psychotherapy helps in solving are mental illnesses like anxiety, depression; unhealthy coping mechanisms; dealing with the consequences of trauma, loss of a loved one or diagnosis of a serious or terminal medical condition. It involves talking to a trained therapist, either one-to-one, in a group, or with your partner. Psychotherapy allows you to look deeper into your problems and worries, and deal with troublesome habits and a wide range of mental disorders.

How Does Psychotherapy Work?

There are several approaches to psychotherapy — including rational emotive behavioral, cognitive behavioural, interpersonal, psychoanalytic and other kinds of talk therapy — that help individuals work through their problems.

Psychotherapy provides a safe, supportive, judgement-free and confidential zone to open up and talk about one’s problems, fears, and unhealthy behaviours. You and your psychotherapist work together to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.By the time you’re done, you will not only have learned how to solve your problem, but also you will leave equipped with tools to help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for future challenges.

Does Psychotherapy Work?

Research shows that most people who receive psychotherapy experience symptom relief and are better able to function in their lives. Psychotherapy has been shown to improve emotions and behaviors and to be linked with positive changes in the brain and body. Using brain imaging techniques, researchers have been able to see changes in the brain after a person has undergone psychotherapy. In most cases the brain changes resulting from psychotherapy were similar to changes resulting from medication.

Signs You Should See A Therapist:

Though there isn’t a particular set of boxes you need to check in order to know it’s time to see a therapist, there are a few pointers that you should be looking out for:

  • You always feel an immense sense of helplessness and sadness, sometimes for no identifiable reasons.
  • You think there is no point to your life, or you keep having intrusive or suicidal thoughts.
  • No matter how hard you try, your problems don’t seem to go away.
  • Everything starts to feel a little too much, and you feel like you cannot handle it and should just give up.
  • You find it challenging to concentrate in school, while doing homework, in the office, or just going about everyday life.
  • You always focus on the worst-case scenario.
  • You have been through something traumatic and cannot stop thinking about it.
  • You feel disconnected from everything and everyone around you, no longer enjoying the activities you previously did.
  • People around you have told you that they are concerned about you.
  • You develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking, using drugs or being aggressive, harming yourself or others.

How To Find ‘The One’?

Now that we’ve established what psychotherapy is, how it works and when you might want to see one, let’s see how to pick the right psychotherapist for you.

Since the psychotherapists and the patients interact and work together, finding ‘The One’ for you is essential. Good “‘chemistry” with your psychotherapist is important. Also, don’t be afraid to assess psychotherapists based on training, clinical expertise and experience in treating problems like yours. Check their website for qualification, specialisation and preferred method of therapy. Always look for a therapist who makes you feel comfortable. You should be able to confide in your therapist without the fear of being judged.

How To Get The Most Out Of Therapy?

Psychotherapy isn’t about a psychotherapist telling you what to do. It’s an interactive session between you and the psychotherapist. Be an active participant. If you don’t think a session went well, share that feedback and have a dialogue so that the therapist can respond and tailor your treatment more effectively.

Changing your unhealthy thought and behavioural patterns can be difficult, so practice is important. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns, so keep an eye on yourself. Try to apply whatever you have learnt in therapy in real life. Actively try to change unhealthy coping mechanisms. If needed, maintain a log of what you have learnt, how you have applied it and if you’ve slipped between sessions.

There are several misconceptions surrounding psychotherapy, which tend to make a person nervous about trying it out. Overcoming this nervousness is worth it. Psychotherapy is relatively new, and there is still some stigma attached to it. It is important to realise that this stigma is dangerous. Do not let it stop you from getting the help you might need.

To learn about the differences between psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, click here.

If you think you need a little nudge or some help in improving the quality of your life, feel free to reach out to us at +91 96078 88833 or email us at [email protected].