What is the purpose of talk therapy?
When individuals are stuck in a repetitive emotional or behavioral cycle, talk therapy can help in reducing obstacles to having a happier and more satisfying life.
In talk therapy, an atmosphere that facilitates a feeling of safety is generated by offering individuals the opportunity to say everything at their own pace without fear of shame or embarrassment. Talking not only provides an outlet for closely held frustration, anger, or fear, but also allows me to understand the obstacles that are blocking individuals from attaining their goals. After all, when individuals are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, there is nothing more comforting than having someone who will really listen without being critical or judgmental.
For young children and those who are reluctant to speak, nonverbal methods (i.e. play therapy) may be utilized. A well trained professional can learn a great deal about what is troubling from observing children and watching them engage in play.
Can’t I just talk with my family or friends?
Of course. Talking with a therapist does not preclude talking with significant others. What makes talk therapy different, however, is that an atmosphere of safety where saying everything is encouraged is established without the attendant fear of making the family members or spouses angry or worrying about reprisals. Research and experience has repeatedly demonstrated that the therapists’ ability to foster an alliance with those seeking assistance is the vehicle by which talking becomes a powerful tool in making corrective life changes.
In medicine, an imaging test can be done to see if something is broken. With emotional concerns, the only way a clinician can really know what is causing a difficulty is through talking. No one is forced to say anything they do not wish to say and no one is rushed or pressured.
What can I expect at the first meeting?
The initial meeting is an opportunity for gathering information that individuals/parents/families want me to know. This may include the reasons for seeking help now, and the assistance being sought. This information is utilized to collaboratively develop a plan going forward with specific goals and how to reach them. The latter involves a discussion of how often meetings will be scheduled, how long therapy may take, and the cost of therapy.
What kind of help can parents expect when they bring their child for therapy?
Collaborative work with parents is an essential part of every child’s therapy. Parents know their child best and I know how to do therapy, making us natural partners in the process of helping them to help their child. Regular meetings are scheduled with parents to not only discuss the progress of the therapy, but also to consult about how to solidify gains and address obstacles to further success. Parents are encouraged to ask any questions they may have about their child, and the therapy.
How do you know when therapy is complete?
Therapy is goal driven. At the initial visit some goals were set and at subsequent meetings progress toward those goals were discussed. Through regular consultation with the child and the parents, timelines for completion of therapy are developed and implemented.