What is Therapy?

Talk Therapy, what is it and how does it help some people?

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or simply therapy is an important tool in healing from trauma. Human beings are just that, human. There is no reason not to seek help when you need it. Therapy is not simply talking about your problems, or your past, it is much more and it can help you not only express yourself and your experience, it allows you to work with your therapist to create a game plan for healing and recovery.

Therapy, specifically talking therapy, can be brief and focused on your current thoughts and experiences. Although focusing on the past can help you understand yourself, adding the tools to help you focus on the present and prepare for the future is vital as well.

Talk therapy can help you:

  • Understand your mental health condition
  • Define and reach wellness goals
  • Overcome fears or insecurities
  • Cope with stress
  • Make sense of past traumatic experiences
  • Separate your true personality from the moods caused by your condition
  • Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms
  • Improve relationships with family and friends
  • Establish a stable, dependable routine
  • Develop a plan for coping with crises
  • Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them
  • End destructive habits such as drinking, using drugs, overspending or unhealthy sex.

Source: http://bit.ly/2IQ4weWtherapyforanxietyfamilypanic

How much does therapy cost?

Dr. Meiland works to agree at a fee that is affordable to the patient, and thus he has a sliding scale. This scale does not slide below $120 per session. Insurance often pays a considerable amount of the fee, and Dr. Meiland arranges to bill insurance directly (rather than bill the client for the entire amount, and have them collect from their insurer). Dr. Meiland only accepts Medicare Part B, and is not on any insurance panels or other lists of in-network clinicians.

Do people take medication and go to therapy at the same time?

Most people in my practice do not take medication, but simply utilize “talk therapy”. At the same time, certain symptoms and conditions are best treated with a combination of talk therapy and medication. A psychiatrist once pointed out to me that, “at the end of your life, you don’t get a prize for taking fewer medications”, and this is a useful quote, because it seeks to reassure people in need of medication that this need is not a personal failure of any sort, and because it works in opposition to the deeply held distrust many people feel (as well as the cultural messages against taking psychiatric medications). Referrals to a psychiatrist for medications are easily done, and must be handled by a clinician with an M.D. degree (not a psychologist or social worker).

How long does therapy last?

This is a question that is left to the client to decide. The person I’m working with can tell me when they’ve reached their goals, or simply want to take a break for a while. While many people benefit from brief therapy (which is often defined as less than 10 meetings), other people stay in therapy for a longer period. Usually, there is a point where the first layer of problems have been handled. Then one can choose to stay and work more deeply on questions that may have been the foundation of the initial problems, or work on new concerns that may emerge. Therapy is not endless and is entirely voluntary. If you decide to leave, you can always return in the future.

My problems aren’t going to go away. Is it reasonable to talk about them anyway?

Some problems go away, and some problems you have to live with. Therapy is a detailed but non-judgmental talk about what is going on in your life. Sometimes, there is a clear agenda, and sometimes the exploration of therapy has less of a road map. But therapy is a process that allows us to understand patterns in our lives. The knowledge of these patterns allows us to make new choices and have new ways of feeling about ourselves. When this process emerges, even problems we have to live with can feel very different.

How do I know therapy is helping me?

Research clearly shows that therapy helps most people, and often people feel relief and benefit after only a few meetings. There are different ways of assessing, or measuring the benefits of therapy. While researchers and insurance companies tend to focus on reduction of symptoms, patients often rely on more subjective ways of assessing whether therapy is helping them. Simply, the client’s perspective, it helps because it feels like it does.

How do I know a therapist is right for me?

Just as in any relationship, there is “chemistry” in psychotherapy. Usually, a person coming to a therapist for the first time will feel comfortable with their therapist, but it is perfectly fine to consult with a few therapists before choosing one. Most times, a therapist will be happy to work with you, so you don’t have to fear judgment or rejection in coming to the first session.

I feel like I already know what my problems are. How could therapy help me?

Knowing what your problems are is important, but it can be helpful to know if these problems are a pattern that marks your life. You may know your problems, but feel “stuck” about how to cope them, or you may struggle to make risky and painful decisions about change. These are things a therapist can help you with. I am fond of saying that therapists don’t know how to live life better than other people, but they do have certain skills to listen, to clarify, and to make things more comfortable to talk about and act on Because a therapist is not a friend or family member, their ability to “unpack” life’s baggage is unique. Nobody leaves my office for the last time “problem free”, since life doesn’t work that way. But people enter therapy feeling troubled and leave therapy with a clarity and sense of power they are grateful for.

Why do people go into therapy?

People go into therapy for different reasons. They talk about difficult relationships, medical conditions, anxiety and depression, the process of getting older, and the desire to meet life’s goals. It is probably impossible to list all the reasons, but new clients often come to me in a state of transition. Their lives are changing, and changes of many types can be very stressful and confusing. Most of us have family and friends we can talk to, but a “neutral” therapist allows a person to go deeper than they would in other relationships, and discuss things in a safe and very private setting.