Is Therapy Right for Me?

When making a commitment that involves the financial, emotional, and time investment that psychotherapy does it makes sense to ask whether therapy is the right choice for you. Below are a few factors that might be helpful to consider.

Therapy is Effective

Research has consistently shown that psychotherapy is significantly helpful in alleviating distress and symptoms, and in improving quality of life.  In addition to achieving short-term gains in these areas, many people not only maintain the benefits of therapy after treatment ends but also continue to see growth.  The relationship with the therapist, also known as the therapeutic or working alliance, has consistently been found to be the most significant predictor of the effectiveness of treatment. It is essential for your success in treatment that you find someone with whom you feel comfortable, safe, and connected. A therapeutic relationship built on mutual trust, respect, and authenticity is the foundation of healing and growth.

The Many Purposes and Uses of Psychotherapy

People come to the process of psychotherapy at different stages.  Some are coming in a state of crisis, some less urgent though they are experiencing significant disturbances in their life.  Other patients wish to do exploratory or preventative work, and yet others want to build on performance and well-being already in place.  Psychotherapy is an opportunity to develop new ways of understanding and being.  Chrysalis psychologists bring knowledge and experience in the psychology of human emotions, thoughts, and behavior, while you bring expertise in the knowledge of your own unique personal experience.  Your therapist will be invested in understanding who you are as an individual and will help you better understand your own needs, desires, and direction in life.   This in-depth and complex understanding of your experience will provide a rich psychological formulation that guides intervention.

But Do I “Need” Therapy?

It is quite common for someone to ask “Do I need therapy?”  While it’s true that it is often the presence of some difficulty, pain, or suffering that brings someone to psychotherapy, at Chrysalis we are also committed to growth and development.  Estimates suggest that about 20% of adults will meet criteria for a psychological disorder at some point each year, and 57% of people will meet criteria over the course of their lifetime.  People without a mental health diagnosis still benefit greatly from psychotherapy. In addition to the relief of unwanted symptoms, people in therapy often report better understanding of themselves, better decision making, improvements in relationships, and increased meaning and purpose in their lives.

To use an analogy, sometimes someone begins a course of physical exercise because of immediate, dire need.  This is the case when someone has experienced a physical illness or event like a heart attack and might be engaging in cardiac rehabilitation.  Others have joined the gym to address chronic physical poor health that is not an immediate risk for death or illness but will eventually cause problems if not remedied.  Others still are in relatively good health but are seeking to improve some specific area such as strength or conditioning.  They might have even developed some physical compensations due to previous injury that require them to temporarily train the less developed parts of their functioning to better themselves in the long-term.  All of these can be true of psychotherapy.  The better question might be “can therapy be helpful for me?” rather than “Do I need therapy?”

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