Forgotten Dad's story:
Learning to trust others
Don't do it alone...
Thriving with a second chance
People with mental health conditions often find psychotherapy-or "talk therapy"-very helpful. The type and length of your therapy will depend on your personal situation and insurance, and your therapy may be part of an overall treatment plan that includes medication or other treatment options.
Talking with a therapist or counselor can help you deal with thoughts, behaviors, symptoms, stresses, goals, past experiences and other areas that can promote your recovery. Of course, talking with a therapist about personal issues can be tough, but it can help you come to grips with problems in your life. It can also offer an emotional release and a sense of really being heard, understood and supported.
Therapy can help you to:
There are many different types of therapy, including those that are most effective with families or groups of people. You can learn about your options by talking with people you trust, like your family doctor or clergy, with people who have experience with mental health conditions, or with staff at your local Mental Health America affiliate.
You might ask therapists you're considering if they use a particular type of therapy and how it works. You may get more out of therapy if you understand how the process usually works and how the therapist thinks it will help you. Some therapists will blend a few different approaches together to suit your particular needs.
The following are a few common types of therapy:
For more information on types of therapy visit the National Institute of Mental Health website at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml.
In addition to different types of therapy, each therapist has different amounts and types of training. For example, a psychiatrist is trained in therapy but also has a medical degree and can prescribe medication. A pastoral counselor will include a religious or spiritual approach to treatment. Other therapists may be trained to deal with substance use issues.
Depending on your situation, therapy can be fairly short or longer-term. Often, people see their therapists once a week for 50 minutes. Your first session will be different from future visits. The initial visit is more of a "getting to know you" session and will help your therapist get an idea of how to proceed with your treatment.
You have a right to feel safe and respected in therapy. If you're concerned, you can ask about confidentiality. Usually, though, it's understood that a therapist respects your privacy; and that group members do too, if you're meeting in a group. Therapy should address your needs, goals, concerns and desires. If you're going to be talking to someone about your most personal thoughts, you want to feel comfortable.
You can think about what traits might make you feel more comfortable with a therapist. For example, would you prefer to see:
For more information on things to consider when choosing a therapist, click here.
Therapy may not help you immediately. Over time, though, it can help you develop more coping skills, stronger relationships and a better sense of yourself.
Therapy likely will work best if there is a partnership between you and the therapist. Don't just sit there! Take an active part in your sessions.
You can strengthen your therapy in many ways.