What Can I Expect from Therapy?
The goal of therapy is to help one address emotional and mental concerns in a healthy manner. The therapeutic process is often very painful because it opens emotional wounds that were consciously and subconsciously subdued. It also often challenges false and negative belief systems that were used to justify actions and/or inaction. Additionally, the therapeutic process addresses the unhealthy defense mechanisms used to protect one’s emotional center. The therapeutic process enables the emotional wounds to heal properly and replaces unhealthy coping behaviors with healthy coping behaviors.
The therapeutic process is similar to medical treatment for a condition. A doctor diagnoses a condition based on specific indicators. The doctor will determine the severity of the condition and then prescribe a treatment based on the best scenario for recovery and the needs of the patient. The prescription for treatment is based on what is known as Best Practices. Depending on the type of condition and the type of treatment, the patient may experience additional pain or may experience changes in the way their body functions during the healing process. The expected outcome; however, is that the patient will recover and return to their natural level of functioning or very close to their natural level of functioning.
Similarly, a clinician will review the symptoms that brought a client to their office. The clinician will also gather additional information about the client’s past mental health history; physical health; support system; family of origin and current level of functioning. The clinician will also consider issues that are critical to the situation and the negative effects on the client’s daily living. This information, which is gathered during the interview and assessment phase, is used to formulate a diagnosis and a plan for treatment. Clients often experience emotional pain; however, the pain subsides as false beliefs, negative attitudes, shame and guilt are replaced with truthfulness, empowerment and resiliency. The expected outcome is that the pain will diminish and the client will live a full, whole and emotionally healthy life.
As previously stated, the therapeutic process addresses the unhealthy defense mechanisms, false beliefs and negative attitudes that lead to unhealthy coping strategies and behaviors. Concurrently, the unhealthy emotional influences are replaced with healthy coping strategies and a positive paradigm shift in thinking.