1) How do I know if I need therapy, or just to talk to someone?
Answer: It's a hard question to answer, unless you think you are really losing control or others have recommended you do so. Sometimes we simply need to be reassured and listened to. It doesn't hurt to talk to someone who is both experienced, educated, and objective.
2) What happens in therapy sessions?
Answer: Nothing very scary, if that's what you might be thinking. Those of us with the experience of knowing how to listen and keep one's narrative in perspective, are able to work slowly and compassionately without an alarming experience.
3) Do psychotherapists prescribe medication?
Answer: No. Medical doctors, such as one's primary care doctor, or for psychological issues, psychiatrists are the only professionals able to prescribe any medicines.
4) What about confidentiality between family members or outside authorities?
Answer: Anyone over the age of fourteen has a right to complete confidentiality. Exceptions to this are: a) If the client has been or is planning to hurt, abuse, or do something illegal, the therapist is obligated to tell both the police and the person from which the client is planning on harming. b) If the client is suicidal, and that means contemplating self-harm, it is again the responsibility of the therapist to contact the proper people and have the client hospitalized.
5) What about symptoms like depression, short term or long term, anxiety, or past trauma that won't go away? â€œIf a psychotherapist can't prescribe medication, why shouldn't I just go to a psychiatrist"?
Answer: Good question! Medications can help, and help significantly, but they don't deal with the root causes. Medications are able to level one's moods and temperament, but it takes in combination with psychotherapy to improve the root causes.
6) What is CBT, that we keep hearing about. And, is it a cure-all therapy?
Answer: CBT is cognitive behavior therapy, which is a treatment that's been around for 40 years or so. Simply put: It deals with how someone thinks about things and then reacts or behaves toward those thoughts. Many of us, if not all of us, during frustration or anxiety, can think negative thoughts about ourselves, then do something in response, that we regret later. It is being human, but some of us think too many negative thoughts and our life is unhappy, etc. CBT is a learning process in which we are able to work our way through too much negativity, and level off to more reasonable thinking.