Psychotherapy is primarily a talk-based therapy, where the intended outcome is to improve or maintain mental health and well-being. A client may seek out psychotherapy when they feel they are suffering, and one or more aspects of their life are being negatively impacted. Therapy can help uncover and process past hurts, challenge negative thought patterns, and develop new behavioural strategies in your life. Often our current situations are understood based on our past experiences. It is true that your perspective is your reality, it is also important to accept that there may be other perspectives. Psychotherapy will help unpack your reality while being a container for the whole truth, if you allow it to be. Here are a few things to know about psychotherapy.
Therapeutic alliance – The most important tool will be the relationship you form with your therapist. It is within that relationship that healing and change will take place. Your therapist will work with you to develop a safe, non-judgemental, and supportive relationship built on trust. You contribute to this relationship by being honest about what your needs are, and sharing openly about the issues that brought you to therapy.
Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours – These things are very important to the healing and change process, and not just under the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) model. Your therapist may often ask you what you are feeling, and dig a little deeper to uncover what your thoughts and behaviours are revealing about how you feel.
Goals and Outcomes – You may not initially know what you want to achieve by choosing to see a psychotherapist. Your therapist will work with you to establish one or more outcomes, as well as a plan to help you there. Since this work happens within the therapeutic alliance, it’s important to determine what your goals are together with your therapist, and if you don’t like the plan you and your therapist come up with, tell them, so you can find a plan that will.