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Perhaps you’ve never met with a therapist before and are unfamiliar with psychotherapy – or maybe you have participated in therapy and still have some questions about it. Let’s dive into what therapy is all about…

What Is Therapy?

Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy” or just “therapy,” is a form of treatment designed to help people with emotional difficulties and mental health problems. Psychological problems are treated through communication which is grounded in dialogue and relationship factors between a client and their therapist. The trusting relationship between an individual and their therapist is essential to working together effectively and benefiting from therapy. Therapy provides a supportive environment that allows a therapeutic relationship to develop where you can talk openly with someone who is understanding, objective, and nonjudgmental. The purpose of therapy is to help the individual increase a sense of well-being and eliminate or control distressing symptoms so they can function better in their life. 

Some of the problems that can be helped by therapy are life problems: coping with losses such as a death, divorce or loss of a job; adjusting to life transitions such as the ‘empty nest’ when children leave home; dealing with a serious physical health problem;  recovery from abuse; to resolve conflicts with your partner – and specific mental health disorders, such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, to name a few.

Therapists can engage in various approaches or types of therapeutic treatment. The type of therapy may depend on the presenting problem of the client as well as the therapist’s preference and training. There are many types of psychotherapeutic treatment. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people identify and change thinking and behavior patterns that are problematic and replace them with more accurate thoughts and functional behaviors.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of CBT that helps regulate emotions by teaching new skills to help people take personal responsibility to change unhealthy or disruptive behavior.

Psychodynamic therapy is based on the idea that our current behavior and mental state is influenced by our past childhood experiences and thoughts or feelings that are outside the person’s awareness. Working with the therapist, a person begins to increase self-awareness and change old ways of behaving to more fully take charge of their life.

Oftentimes the therapist will use an eclectic approach, incorporating a range of proven methods from a variety of disciplines to best help the client. This approach customizes the therapeutic process for each client.

For those times when you may need some additional assistance in dealing with life’s challenges, JFCS is here for you. Call 609-987-8100 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed therapists.

Teri Cheresnick, LCSW, LCADC