Keep in Mind the following when considering PsychotherapyImage

Psychotherapists are different in their approaches and strategies in helping clients. However, most will provide one session per week from 45-60 minutes a session. However, sessions may be given more often depending on the situation and needs of the case. Therapy sessions may be held in settings such as a private office, clinic, hospital, agencies, nursing homes and private homes.

The first sessions are mostly geared to gather information, assess and evaluate the mental and physical health of the client to develop a treatment plan.    It is during these sessions that some of this information may be taken by another person and or by the therapist.

In the course of these sessions the client should also evaluate how he feels with the therapist and consider if he would like to continue with the therapist or look further with others until client is comfortable and can establish a necessary therapeutic bond.

Therapeutic treatment is different for everyone. The length of therapy depends on many factors. The issues to be addressed will be a factor as well as the approach of the therapy. Another important factor is the client’s resources and the desire and effort that he makes to move toward his improved well-being and change.

If time is a consideration for the client, then it should be discussed, and a starting goal to work towards and to accomplish should be established. The time frame can change as therapy moves forward and new goals are vested.

Progress should be evaluated and ongoing. Change and progress is not a smooth and straight forward journey. It may have many twists and turns and may even take some backward steps. Changing can be complicated and at times may not always go in a straightforward road.  Goals and progress will be continuously evaluated with the client as necessary.  How fast the changes happen are not as important as how persistent and constant the client maintains his motivation to change and progress. Progress should be evaluated in terms of an overall learning along the way of the journey and not on how rapid the goals are achieve. Everyone moves forward at a different pace.

Something to keep in mind is that therapy will not always be pleasant and comfortable. As treatment moves forward painful memories, frustrations, multiple feelings may surface. This is a normal process of therapy and will be guided by the therapist. If these feelings are overwhelming and make the client so miserable that he does not wish to continue therapy, the client may want to slow down and communicate these feelings to the therapist. Trust and a close communication should help provide the therapeutic relationship. These feelings should be addressed by the client and she/he should not abort the therapeutic process without understanding what is happening and how she/he should handle these stages of the treatment process.

Therapy works, but growth and change do not happen overnight. Change and growth are difficult. One cue that change is taking place is feeling more relaxed and feeling an improved mood, others noticing the changes and one noticing improved relationships with family and at work. Reactions and interactions will be noticeably different by the client and others. It is important to be aware that in the treatment process there will be setbacks and not to be discouraged as this is a normal part of the change and growth process.

In Psychotherapy it is important to note that the therapist role is not to tell you what to do. The therapist and the client are partners in the client’s recovery and treatment. The therapist guides and directs and makes suggestions for treatment, but the client is the one that must make the changes needed to move toward development and growth. In order for this to occur a commitment to treatment must be made.  The client should not skip sessions unless absolutely necessary, while in treatment.  Not wanting to attend sessions should pose the client an exploration of why he feels this way. This may be a sign of resistance to continued exploration and / or a sign that a session has touched a soft spot. This reluctance should be discussed with the therapist.

In order for the client to get the most benefit from psychotherapy, it is essential that the client share his feelings with the therapist openly and honestly. Feelings that impair sharing should be discussed with the therapist so that the therapist can work with the client to address the issues together.

Termination of treatment is a decision that depends on the client’s situation. However, ideally both therapist and client will together evaluate if goals have been met. Client and Therapist may not always agree on the discharge time. It is important to remember that the therapeutic relationship is a strong bond and the termination of treatment may be felt as a loss even in the view of a successful treatment. These feelings are normal and should be addressed.

Written and photo taken by Madeleine Pujals Maya