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The word “psychotherapy” is a broad term for many psychotherapeutic approaches of all kinds and is often used interchangeably with other words such as, “therapy” or “counseling.” It is important to note that only a licensed professional can provide psychotherapy.
Essentially, it involves a therapeutic process – one based on sound scientific theory - that helps people resolve past and present challenges. Issues that result in unhealthy behaviors and patterns cannot be changed until the underlying causes are identified and dealt with. These issues often stand in the way of individuals’ own health and happiness and keep them from getting what they want in life.
In other words, people experience events that take them out of their “natural” state of being and cause them to act in ways that they otherwise would not. Thus, they’re aware that they’re fighting an internal battle, but seldom have the wherewithal to overcome the conflicts. What they may not understand is their behaviors usually result from ingrained and out-dated belief systems – ones that have never been updated to reflect who they presently are, or want to be.
Therefore, many suffering men and women naturally seek advice from family members and friends who are not trained to deal with their challenges and may even be contributors to their core issues.
This is especially problematic since over the last several decades the subject of psychotherapy has been a hot topic of conversation in the media and elsewhere, and even the butt of countless jokes in movies, TV shows, newspapers, and magazines. Thus, many people mistakenly believe that hit shows like “The Sopranos” accurately portray psychotherapy as an indulgent, trivial, and sadly, an ineffective process. Unfortunately, this widespread misinformation means that individuals who might be helped do not seek treatment or remain secretive when they do.
Consider this ...
In November 1995 Consumer Reports published an article with their conclusions after conducting an extensive independent survey of psychotherapy clients. A startling 90% of the 4,000 respondents reported that they were doing substantially better after treatment. What’s more, researchers found that individuals who were treated with psychotherapy alone achieved the same results as those treated with medication and therapy. (A copy of the article can be read at: http://horan.asu.edu/cpy702readings/seligman/seligman.html)
By: Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LSCW, BCD