Does talking about problems really help?
Sometimes your quality of life might be lower because you tend to have strong emotional reactions, or maybe you take action without thinking carefully, or you are tend to spend a lot of time alone. A therapist can suggest ways to control your emotions, or be calmer in stressful situations, or build a support network of trustworthy people. If you’re at college or graduate school, then an on-campus Counseling Center is probably the best place to start.
Maybe you are overwhelmed or stressed out. A therapist could help by suggesting ways to relieve stress, solve problems better, or improve how you cope with situations that won’t change.
Past trauma can also be a problem. A therapist could help you work through the emotional aftermath of trauma.
Therapy might help someone learn to be less self-critical, self-loathing, self-defeating, or self-threatening (AKA feeling suicidal).
Basically, therapists help us figure out how to deal with problems so that we can enjoy life better. Two general resources for finding a therapist or other professional are the Psychology Today directory (therapist, psychiatrist, treatment centers in US and Canada) and HelpPro.com (which is also developing a specific search for professionals who are comfortable working with suicide issues).
Types of Therapy
There are many options for therapy, and thus there seem to be endless ways to categorize therapy types. Let’s start with who’s in the room with you:
- Individual therapy: just you and a therapist
- Couples therapy: you, a significant other (boyfriend, girlfriend, wife), and a therapist
- Family therapy: a whole family and a therapist
- Group therapy: a group of people who come as individuals, couples, or families to work with a therapist
Different professionals provide therapy. Just make sure the person you see is licensed:
- Psychologists have advanced training in mental health issues, they might do therapy or testing. Find a psychologist.
- Psychiatrists mostly work with medications, but some do therapy. General psychiatry or child & adolescent psychiatry.
- Psychiatric nurse practicioners (NPs) can also prescribe medications. Find a nurse practitioner (scroll down to locate NPs that specialize).
- Clinical social workers often provide therapy and can make referrals. Find a social worker.
- Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists (LMFT) also specialize in therapy. Find a counselor or find a LMFT.
There are also different types of therapy:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Focusing on how your thoughts and behaviors influence how you feel. Find a behavioral therapist.
- Interpersonal therapy: Focus on relationship issues that cause problems.
- Problem solving therapy: Focus on how to think through various problems.
- Solution focused therapy: Focus on behavior changes to reach your goals.
- “Eclectic”: A therapist who uses techniques from more than one type of therapy
- Psychodynamic: Analysis and exploring current relationship dynamics.
- Psychoanalysis: The oldest talk therapy for exploring deep issues in your past. Find an analyst
Also see the Wikipedia article on Therapy