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Why Psychotherapy?

by Karen A. Solomon, LCSW, BCD, CGP, CHt

People often ask how talking to a psychotherapist could help in dealing with emotional distress. Those who are especially skeptical even think they could just as easily talk to a close friend or relative. So what is different about psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a process involving intimate communication between a client and a professional who is trained to listen in a very unique way. We pay attention, not only to the content of the issues presented, but also to both verbal and non verbal communication. A skilled therapist is attuned to tones of voice, facial expressions, gestures and body language which enable him or her to pick up clues about what the person may be feeling. Therapists are highly trained to explore the ways in which people behave, communicate, cope and express themselves. Additionally, unlike having a conversation with a friend, therapy sessions are all about the client. The therapist is a non-judgmental, objective listener who provides a safe place for discussion of all things.

Why is this important? Frequently in our interactions with others, we may do and say things that we regret or that seem irrational. We may even say, “I don’t know why I did or said that”. We may also misinterpret comments made to us and react inappropriately. Much of this is based on unconscious material that we are not aware of. Bickering and hostility are often expressions of underlying unexpressed feelings.

According to an article in the February 2005 issue of U.S. News & World Report, “most of what we do every minute of every day is unconscious.” “Brain scanning shows that there is a life of the mind beyond what is apparent.” Activity in the brain has been correlated with making choices, thought processes and even reactions to others’ facial expressions.

Based on this exciting science, we now understand that bringing the unconscious to consciousness permits us to have more control and understanding in our life choices and interactions with others. The implications of these studies lend significant validity to the power of psychotherapy.

Gaining personal insight, learning to evaluate situations from different perspectives and linking some of our emotions to early life experiences shifts people’s emotional lives in dramatic ways. In addition, the better we understand ourselves, the more we begin to understand others. Not only individual, but couple, group and family sessions can all be extremely valuable.

Finding the “right therapist” is crucial to successful treatment. In addition to being licensed and credentialed, therapists should evoke a sense of trust in the patient. One’s comfort level with the professional provides for sharing deeply personal feelings and life experiences as well as faith in their objectivity and feedback. Unfortunately, some health insurance plans limit our choices in healthcare. You may want to ask a health provider who is not on your plan about their fee policies.

Karen A. Solomon
Office : 631 - 543 - 2050

Commack, New York 11725

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