There are many options when it comes to psychotherapy, and it isn’t always easy to know which one is right for you. The schools of thought regarding therapy vary greatly and choosing the right method of psychotherapy can be challenging. From psychiatry to couples counseling to sex therapy, each of the numerous different fields comes with a unique set of benefits and limitations. And, if you want to improve your life and your relationship, it might take more than one approach. Consider the following guide to the best therapy resources out there:
The science of the psyche. Psychologists work with their patients to help them determine why they behave the way they do and to help them find new and better ways to manage their stress and anxiety. Psychologists use this “science of the psyche” to look for the root causes of their patients’ unhappiness and try to help them eliminate negative or destructive behaviors from their lives.
The medical option. Psychiatry is very similar to psychology except that it also examines mental health from a medical perspective. It is more comprehensive in that it allows the option of medication; however, most psychiatrists agree that medication shouldn’t be used without the additional support of therapy as well. Medication can be very useful when used correctly and in moderation; however, it can’t “cure” the real issues at hand.
Different schools of therapy. There are many different schools of therapy available to couples and individuals. Clinical social workers are social workers who are trained in psychotherapy and they can offer a variety of useful tools and resources to individuals who are seeking mental health assistances. Psychiatrists are similarly well-versed but they also trained in the field of psychiatry, including the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. They can also prescribe medicine as needed. Psychologists perform a similar function but they do not prescribe medicine.
One common therapy practice is cognitive behavioral therapy (otherwise known as CBT) IN which individuals are encouraged to deal with the most pressing problems of the moment and begin the work of changing the behaviors that create issues in their lives. Rather than focusing on all the reasons and family dysfunctions that may have impacted one’s life, CBT is short-term therapy that includes specific goals and homework to keep the client moving forward toward a specific goal.
Another therapy model is insight-oriented therapy. Insight-oriented therapy is based on the original model of psychoanalysis as developed by Sigmund Freud. According to this line of thought, many of a patient’s present issues are often related to early childhood trauma or past experiences that inform his or her current mental state. The goal is help patients understand their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and how to move past potential areas of conflict and concern.
Whatever mode of therapy you choose, don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ until you find the fit that is right for you. You can have a phone session with a potential therapist before meeting with them in order to find out if they are right for you, or you might try a couple of different therapists before you land on one that you feel is the best fit for you. It’s all about what you feel comfortable and what works for you.
Tackling issues as a family. Sometimes people seek therapy with their loved ones. From family therapists to couples counselors, it is often useful to tackle certain issues alongside your loved ones. Family and/or couples therapy will give you a safe and secure place to discuss your issues in a nonjudgmental and open environment. Your therapist will help referee and moderate arguments so that they don’t get out of hand and also give you the tools you need to discuss these issues at home as well.
Working on what matters. In the past, sex problems would fall to the wayside. Couples counselors didn’t often discuss sex matters with their clients, and if they did, it was only in passing. However, sex is the major source of discontent for many unhappy couples, and this is why sex therapy is now a hugely popular and accepted part of the therapy world. It gets couples talking about what is happening (or not happening) between the sheets and it helps them learn how to improve their love lives from top to bottom. All couples counseling should include some form of sex therapy, because marriages need sex to survive and thrive.
The role of the medical doctors you routinely see. In conjunction with sex therapy, it’s important to protect your sexual health as well, and this includes regular visits to the ob-gyn or the urologist. If you are experiencing changes in your sexual desire or pleasure, it can often have a medical side (such as a side effect of medication or shifting hormones), and your doctor can help you navigate these issues before they derail your love life. Your doctor can also look for early warning signs of serious illness, and this is why having a doctor you can trust and depend on is so important.
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