Psychotherapy (sometimes called “talk therapy”) is a term for a variety of treatment techniques that aim to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Bristol Health Associates are licensed and trained mental health care professionals who meet one on one with their patients.
Why might someone seek out therapy?
You might be dealing with severe or long-term stress from a job or family situation, the loss of a loved one, or relationship or other family issues. Or you may have symptoms with no physical explanation: changes in sleep or appetite, low energy, a lack of interest or pleasure in activities that you once enjoyed, persistent irritability, or a sense of discouragement or hopelessness that won’t go away.
A health professional may suspect or have diagnosed a condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress or other disorder and recommended psychotherapy as a first treatment or to go along with medication.
You may be seeking treatment for a family member or child who has been diagnosed with a condition affecting mental health and for whom a health professional has recommended treatment.
An exam by your primary care practitioner can ensure there is nothing in your overall health that would explain your or a loved one’s symptoms.
Evidence-based therapies” have been shown in research to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
Are there other treatment options besides therapy?
Psychotherapy can be an alternative to medication or can be used along with other treatment options, such as medications. Choosing the right treatment plan should be based on a person’s individual needs and medical situation and under a mental health professional’s care.
Even when medications relieve symptoms, psychotherapy and other interventions can help a person address specific issues. These might include self-defeating ways of thinking, fears, problems with interactions with other people, or dealing with situations at home and at school or with employment.
How can therapy help?
Therapists and therapy, can:
1. Help a person become aware of ways of thinking that may be automatic but are inaccurate and harmful. (An example might be someone who has a low opinion of his or her own abilities.) The therapist helps the person find ways to question these thoughts, understand how they affect emotions and behavior, and try ways to change self-defeating patterns. This approach is central to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
2. Help identify ways to cope with stress.
3. Examine a person’s interactions with others and offering guidance with social and communication skills, if needed.
4. Teach relaxation and mindfulness techniques.
5. Provide xposure therapy for people with anxiety disorders. In exposure therapy, a person spends brief periods, in a supportive environment, learning to tolerate the distress certain items, ideas, or imagined scenes cause. Over time the fear associated with these things dissipates.
6. Help track emotions and activities and the impact of each on the other.
7. Make safety plans that can include helping a person recognize warning signs, and thinking about coping strategies, such as contacting friends, family, or emergency personnel.
8. Provide supportive counseling to help a person explore troubling issues and provide emotional support.
It is important to note that, as with all care for conditions affecting mental health, the treatment needs to be appropriate for the condition and the individual.
What reasons would I seek therapy?
The symptoms of mental disorders can have a profound effect on someone’s quality of life and ability to function. Treatment can address symptoms as well as assist someone experiencing severe or ongoing stress. Some of the reasons that you might consider seeking out psychotherapy include:
Overwhelming sadness or helplessness that doesn’t go away
Serious, unusual insomnia or sleeping too much
Difficulty focusing on work, or carrying out other everyday activities
Constant worry and anxiety
Drinking to excess or any behavior that harms self or others
Dealing with a difficult transition, such as a divorce, children leaving home, job difficulties, or the death of someone close
Children’s behavior problems that interfere with school, family, or peers
Seeking help is not an admission of weakness, but a step towards understanding and obtaining relief from distressing symptoms.
Above information obtained from https://www.nimh.nih.gov