Psychotherapy is often referred to as talk therapy or counseling and it is used to help individuals understand and cope with emotional, behavioral, or interpersonal difficulties. Meeting with a psychologist is recommended for numerous mental health concerns, with the most common being anxiety and depressive disorders. Typically, the primary goal of psychotherapy is to increase an individual’s functioning in a variety of areas of their lives, such as their occupational, interpersonal, academic, and social functioning. Individuals also seek therapy services to increase their confidence, sense of well-being, and find relief and healing.
Scheduling the Initial Appointment
It is common for individuals to experience some hesitancy scheduling their initial appointment with a psychologist. Often times, individuals admit to not understanding the psychotherapy process and report they do not know what to expect. Additionally, some may fear that the psychologist will not be a good fit; therefore, preliminary research on therapists and psychologists is important. Many individuals ask their primary care physicians or other care providers for direct referrals to psychologists who provide counseling services.
What should I expect during my initial meeting with a psychologist?
The initial psychotherapy appointment will focus on the individual and the psychologist building rapport. It is important that the patient feels comfortable with the psychologist in order to build trust and a collaborative relationship. The initial psychotherapy sessions entail an evaluative approach, where the psychologist will assess symptoms and treatment needs. The psychologist will also provide the patient with feedback and help the patient set specific treatment goals. Psychotherapy appointments are typically weekly; however, based on treatment needs, certain individuals may benefit from two sessions a week with a psychologist. The duration of therapy will depend on the presenting concerns. Psychotherapy could be short-term when the issues are immediate. More complex and long-term difficulties may require numerous sessions and it is common for some individuals to remain in therapy for months.
Psychotherapy with a psychologist requires commitment and effort. It is important for patients to take a proactive approach to their treatment in order for psychotherapy to be effective and successful. Working with a psychologist may often uncover painful experiences that may be necessary for emotional growth. The psychologist will provide a safe and supportive environment in order for the patient to process any difficult experiences and cope with their past experiences, relationships, or behaviors.
What if I need more than therapy?
It is common for individuals with mental health concerns to state that they are already prescribed medication; therefore, meeting with a psychologist is not necessary. However, research indicates that individuals struggling with certain symptoms who receive counseling services along with medication management symptoms, demonstrate overall improvement in functioning. During the therapy process, it is common for psychologist to collaborate with their clients’ psychiatrists and other treatment providers. Confidentiality of patients is extremely important; therefore, a psychologist will always request permission to collaborate with another treatment provider. In addition to possible medication management, a therapist may also help their patients incorporate other activities and healthy lifestyle choices within the therapy process.
Overall, therapy or counseling can be very effective for a variety of individuals. The majority of individuals who participate in consistent therapy do experience positive benefits and symptom relief. Speaking to a psychologist can help you identify specific treatment goals and assist you in improving your functioning in all areas of your life. Psychologists at the Miami Psychology Group are currently accepting new patients in the Miami and Miami Beach area.