Questions About Therapy (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy

How Can Therapy Help Me?

You can benefit in a number of ways from participating in therapy. Chiefly, you’ll receive supportive problem-solving skills and enhanced coping strategies, for issues such as depression, anxiety, anger and relationship problems. Through therapy you can obtain a fresh perspective on thorny problems, or negotiate new solutions. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend on how well you commit to the process and put into practice what you learn.
Some of the benefits available from therapy include:

  • A deeper understanding of yourself, your goals and values
  • Developing interpersonal skills for improving your relationships
  • Learning new ways to minimize stress and anxiety
  • Managing anger, grief, depression and other mood problems
  • Improving communication and listening skills
  • Changing old behavior patterns
  • Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence.

Do I really need therapy? I usually handle my problems myself.

If you’ve ever had a painful condition, you may have been prescribed physical therapy to help your damaged muscles get back to working as they should. When you’ve had a painful emotional injury, such as betrayal or depression, the principle is the same — step-by-step recovery until your emotions and psychology are functioning better. While you’ve handled other problems successfully before, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra expertise when you need it. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy.

What’s the difference between therapy and counseling?

The terms therapy and counseling are often used interchangeably, but there are some differences. A counselor usually focuses on day to day advice for specific problems, such as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, and may not have a graduate-level university education, but have a credential from a “Counseling Institute”. A therapist, or psychotherapist, usually has an education which includes at least a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, and enables them to go on for a Ph.D. and become a doctor in their field. This educational focus includes more depth and background psychology, which is often needed for personality and stubborn relationship issues. Currently, marketing has promoted the term “counseling” to reduce the idea of embarrassment or reluctance of people to engage in “therapy.”

Why Do People Go To Therapy?

People have many different motivations for coming to counseling. Some seek support and insight while going through a major life transition, such as divorce. Others need help with other issues they have become aware of, such as low self-esteem, anger, depression, or relationship problems. Therapy can provide guidance and skills to bridge the gap from where you are now to where you want to be. There’s no obligation to continue, or stay with your particular therapist, so it never hurts to have an initial session.

What Is Therapy Like?

Because people have different tasks and goals for therapy (or counseling), therapy may be somewhat different for every individual. In general, you can expect to discuss what is concerning you, personal history that may be relevant, and listen to what the therapist has to say. As a trained professional, the therapist may have insights to offer, a differently focused perspective, or suggestions for a plan of action. Depending on your needs, therapy may be short or long-term, and can be discontinued at any time. It is best when therapy is regular and consistent, at least weekly, so, just like physical therapy, you can try new responses and perspectives early on, and continually evaluate progress. The purpose of therapy is to better your life, and your therapist has been specially trained to help you with this.