Throughout modern medical history, few fields of medicine garner as much initial distrust as psychotherapy. Its very name evokes visions of asylums of the past, and the horrors of experimental treatments. The truth is, psychotherapy is the utilization of dialogue and communications, sometimes paired with medication, to help people cope with everyday situations.
Schrodinger’s Box of Uncertainty
Behavioural and mental health professionals know how uncomfortable we humans are with our own emotions. We tend to repress unpleasant and painful memories, only to have them resurface with a vengeance. There is a deceptively simple approach to most psychological treatment; talk about it.
Bottled up emotions rarely stay that way, and it’s often helpful to just talk it out with someone who will listen without judgement. Psychologists are bastions of empathy. Their entire career is based on the desire to help others, and they do this by guiding patients to their own truths and helping them accept those truths.
Head Shrinking Isn’t Really a Thing That Psychologists Do
If you’ve spoken to many people about seeing a psychologist, odds are, you’ve heard the expression “getting your head shrunk”. Unless your therapist also happens to be a witch doctor from the Jivaroan tribe of the northern Amazon rain forest; he or she has probably never actually shrunken anyone’s head.
Instead, therapists help you shrink your emotional hang-ups. During sessions with patients, therapists expertly coax their charges into opening up about what is bothering them. Whether it’s a relationship hurdle, stressful financial situation, seasonal depression, or a traumatic event; psychologists remind their patients that it’s OK to feel and teach healthy ways to deal with those feelings.
Can We Talk? I Mean, REALLY, Talk.
Humans communicate in myriad ways however, we aren’t all that great at talking things out, generally. Creating a dialogue about the things that make us happy, sad, angry, or frightened makes us feel vulnerable. A therapist’s greatest skill is in making those vulnerabilities less so. An adept psychologist knows that you’re there seeking support, and they’re there to give it to you.
When we meet with a therapist, he or she will usually have two main goals. First, they’ll want to know how you’re feeling in that moment. This gives them a baseline to work from. With this information, they can better direct the conversation towards honest assessment of said situation.
Next, they will likely discuss previous sessions, and note progress made or lost in key areas of treatment. Having established this baseline of information, your session begins in earnest. By discussing our problems, we often find that we feel better almost instantly. However, sometimes psychologists recommend medication, and there’s absolutely no shame in this type of treatment.
It’s important to note that your treatment plan is created with you, not for you. Patients who assume that their therapist can magically fix them aren’t being realistic. If you want to know if therapy is right for you, you can find local psychologists online. So call and let your healing begin.