What is the difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist?
A therapist is a person who specializes in understanding how people see themselves and their issues from the individual, family and society perspectives. My specific purpose is to help support you to improve the quality of your life in a way that is unique to you.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood disorders interact with the body and other medications you may be taking.
Should I take medication or go into psychotherapy?
Working closely with both your psychiatrist and your therapist, you can determine what’s best for you. Sometimes a combination of both medication and therapy is the right answer. First it’s important to rule out that your symptoms are not caused by the alcohol or drugs themselves. Depression and alcohol problems can look identical while someone is still drinking. You may start to feel better once the alcohol or drugs are gone. Any doctor will tell you medicines don’t work when alcohol or drugs is interacting with them. The same thing is true for anxiety disorders. This is especially true for people with a trauma history. Therapy addresses the root causes of distress and the behavior patterns that block progress. You can best achieve a greater sense of well-being with a holistic approach to wellness. Long term, complicated problems don’t resolve themselves by themselves. Find out what’s right for you by finding people who know their stuff and whom you can trust.
Speaking of medications…Ask yourself if you are taking PRNs every day? Are you seeing more than one doc for pain killers? Tranquilizers? Sleeping pills? ADHD? Are you taking someone else’s prescription or taking lots of over the counter drugs to feel better? If so, there is a better way. Let’s talk. Soon.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
No! The opposite is true. People who ask for help are not only smart, they have guts. Everyone needs help now and then. You already have some strengths that you’ve used before, that for whatever reason aren’t working right now. Perhaps this problem feels overwhelming which is making it difficult to connect to your strengths. In our work together, we will identify what those strengths are and reconnect to them in a new way.
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
A family member or friend may have strong feelings about your situation and will readily give you advice and opinions whereas a licensed psychotherapist like myself will listen without telling you what to do. I will help you come to your own best conclusion after exploring all the information available. A mental health professional can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, and if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life or they could even start avoiding you.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my therapeutic approach to your specific needs. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session or in the real world.
How long will it take?
Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular weekly sessions initially, and then space them out as you see progress.
If I commit to therapy, what can I expect? How can I get the most out of therapy?
The ultimate purpose of therapy is to incorporate what you learn in therapy and move on with your life…without therapy. It’s all about you. To get the most out of therapy give it 4-6 sessions. Allow the process a chance to work.
How will I know treatment is working?
If people start to tell you they see a difference…it’s working.
You may find that you sleep better, find your sense of humor returns, and have a more positive attitude. You will be less likely to over-react to ordinary situations and old thoughts and feelings will give way to new ideas. In other words, you will accumulate positive experiences; or grow.