What Is Therapy?

By Lee Horton, Ph.D | | Categories: Counseling , Counselor , Marriage Counseling , Psychologist , Relationship Counseling , Stress Management , Therapist

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Therapy is short for psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is talking therapy, meaning that you are being helped through talking about yourself. The relationship with your therapist is an important part of that help. The therapist strives to gain a deeper understanding of how you experience your world, how you feel and how you react. Therapy also sets goals for treatment outcome. Talk becomes increasingly directed toward change toward accomplishing your goals.

As you share your experiences, thoughts, and feelings with your therapist, you will gain greater insight into how you can improve and what barriers to change lie ahead. Change does not happen overnight and it is easy to become discouraged. Therapy helps to keep discouragement from turning to hopelessness. Hopelessness is the enemy of change. Therapy can shine a light on how effort can pay off to improve your mood and daily life.

Therapy sounds abstract, even confusing. Learning about Freudian theory and imagining laying on a couch talking to a therapist who says nothing is intimidating to say the least. Contemporary therapy has little resemblance to Freud’s therapy. Therapy is a much more normal relationship in which you conduct a discussion face-to-face and you can expect the therapist to actively respond to what you share.

But therapy is different from talking to friends and family. Your time with the therapist is for you. The therapist is there to listen and understand you. This does not mean you will not know anything about your therapist, but the focus is on you. At first this can be awkward for some people who typically are in the role of giving and are uncomfortable being given to. It can also be difficult for those who tend to keep their views, feelings and desires to themselves.

Ultimately, therapy is an opportunity to reevaluate yourself. The therapist becomes a mirror in which you can see yourself more clearly. While it can be difficult to look at yourself, it is also rewarding to learn that you can change. Improvement is possible even if that improvement comes in small steps taken daily. Therapy can help!