Psychotherapy & Counseling

What is Psychotherapy and Counseling?

Counseling and Psychotherapy are used interchangeably, however, while it can be used as one in the same there is a distinct difference.  Counseling is an interaction utilized to deal with issues on a day to day basis between one or more parties.  It is a skill building process aimed at reducing conflict and improving quality of life in the here and now.

Psychotherapy is a more intricate and deeper personal process.  It is aimed at identifying and changing dysfunctional patterns to a more functional set of adaptive processes.  It is like opening up an onion one layer at a time where more of the self is revealed to the patient for the purpose of rewriting the program for long lasting and permanent change.

People like to think that issues can be resolved easily and quickly.  That is part of the “fast food” mentality we carry in society.  However, it takes often years to develop poor patterns of self defeating thinking, negativity and an inability to meet one’s needs.  Thus, it takes time to overturn this thinking and developing better ways to meet one’s needs.  Otherwise, the patient sees positive change only temporarily– slipping back into the old pattern of dysfunctional thinking.

The research overwhelmingly shows that long-term therapy for significant issues (e.g., major depression, abuse history, anxiety disorders) is the only solution for long lasting change.  The so called “brief therapy” procedures have largely been shown to be ineffective and are only supported by the insurance companies whose only purpose is to serve their profit and not the patient’s needs.  The best analogy would be if one wanted to become an engineer.  Do you become an engineer after a six week course?  No, only after years of training does one begin to look at the world like an engineer.  It takes time to change thinking and create new patterns of thought.  The same applies to psychotherapy, six weeks only reduces symptoms and eliminates crisis.  Long term treatment successfully changes the dysfunctional thinking and negative patterns necessary to successful life.

Psychotherapy and counseling are not mysterious.  It is an alliance with the therapist aimed at organizing and changing your thinking– to a more positive and rational pattern.  It is dealing with your unique history of successes and limitations for the purpose of living a life that is success driven and able to meet your needs.  The therapist develops treatment plans with the patient/client and progress is measured on a 6 to 8 week basis.  Some people take the journey with the therapist to its conclusion, others take a break at various stages of their development.  Regardless, it is a rewarding process that improves functioning as you move toward happiness.