“Psychotherapy is the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people to modify their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and/or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable”
---John Norcross, PhD, 2012 American Psychological Association
Although over a thousand different psychotherapy methods exist, only a small number are empirically and evidence based. The practice of psychotherapy has been practiced over many centuries by clergy, mystics, and philosophers. However, the application of the scientific method to measure and develop effective methods of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Behavior change and symptom reduction concerns five key components: Quality of the Therapeutic Alliance between the therapist and client or patient, person’s Motivation to Change, the person characteristics of the individual(s) being treated, the specific presenting problem and best, most appropriate treatment given the preceding concerns. Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. You and your psychologist will work together to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.
Some people seek psychotherapy because they have felt depressed, anxious or angry for a long time. Others may want help for a chronic illness that is interfering with their emotional or physical well-being. Still others may have short-term problems they need help navigating. They may be going through a divorce, facing an empty nest, feeling overwhelmed by a new job or grieving a family member's death, for example.
Signs that you could benefit from therapy include:
• Why do I feel depressed and what can I do about it?
• You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
• Your problems don't seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends.
• You find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or to carry out other everyday activities.
• You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
• Your actions, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs or being aggressive, are harming you or others.
• You are fighting with your spouse, partner or children and seem unable to resolve these conflicts.
• You looking to enhance your current performance at work, school, athletics or in your personal and intimate relationships.