What is the difference between a psychotherapist and a psychiatrist?
A psychotherapist interacts with clients most often via “talk therapy”. The work uses various treatment approaches to discuss interpersonal relationship issues and emotional health struggles. Psychotherapists help clients gain insight and work to initiate change in the client’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior to support an improved quality of life through healing and growth.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood disorders interact with the body and with other medications a client may be taking. Some psychiatrists may provide occasional therapy but primarily focus on the evaluation of the client’s mental health, prescribing medications as needed.
Psychotherapists focus on understanding mental health through research as well as specializing in diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain, emotional disturbance, and behavioral problems. Psychotherapists do not prescribe medication.
Should I take medication or go into psychotherapy?
The long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of exclusively treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you and what combination of medication and/or therapy is the best course of action for your specific situation.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
On the contrary. People who ask for help have the ability to reach out. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have strengths that you’ve used before. For whatever reason they aren’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming and is making it difficult to draw on your strengths. In our work together, I will help you reflect and gain insight in order to draw on your strengths for growth and positive change. I believe that over the course of our lives there are times when therapy can give support and guidance when we falter, and bring our lives back into the balance and harmony we seek.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
Psychotherapists are highly trained to listen and hear what you’re saying “behind the words”. I understand how to work through emotional pain and life’s struggles at a pace that is comfortable for you. I’m trained to keep you safe in a crisis and provide the direction and referrals you may need. Family and friends may get caught up in their own emotions, making it difficult for them to guide you through a difficult time.
I help you approach your situation in a new way, teach you new skills to gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Therapy is completely confidential. You don’t have to worry about others knowing what you are struggling with. If your situation provokes a great deal of emotion, you are free to express it in the protected space of therapy which may be difficult to do with a family member or friend. Family and friends can provide support, empathy, and love, all of which have a very positive impact on healing. Allow friends and family to be that in your life, and allow me to be your therapist.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has individual issues and goals for therapy, the experience will be different depending on your needs and goals. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issues, and report progress or new insights gained from the previous therapy session.
How long will it take?
Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regularly weekly sessions initially, and then space them out as you see progress.
If I commit to therapy, what can I expect? How can I get the most out of therapy?
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in sessions back into your life. Beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, if you are receptive to homework, I can suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your progress.