For your convenience, below are some commonly asked questions about psychotherapy and mood disorders, personality disorders, addictions, PTSD, relationship challenges, grief and anger management.

What is psychotherapy?

The word psychotherapy is derived from the Greek words psyche, translated as “soul” and therapeia, meaning “healing.” Therefore psychotherapy can be described as “soul healing.” From the time of Freud psychotherapy has been described as talk therapy, or “the talking cure.” Psychotherapists are social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists or psychiatric nurses who are trained and licensed to treat emotional and behavioral issues using specific techniques. The all-important relationship between the psychotherapist and the client is based on trust, safety, non-judgement and confidentiality.

Are there different kinds of psychotherapy?

There are many different approaches to treating emotional and behavioral concerns. Over the years I have used many approaches, from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), which addresses the ways in which our thinking influences our emotions and behavior, to so-called psychodynamic approaches, rooted in psychoanalysis, which look to peel back the layers of our defenses to look at core issues and conflicts, to the “bottom up” somatic approaches, which begin with what the body has to tell us about our emotional challenges. There is no “one size fits all” psychotherapy treatment approach. The treatment or treatments used over the course of therapy depend on what is most suitable for you and your difficulties.

What is the average length of psychotherapy?

This varies widely from person to person depending on the severity or chronicity of the presenting issues. There are some treatments that can start producing positive outcomes after a few months, others methods which involve exploring underlying motivations and conflicts can go as deep as one wants to go for as long as one is willing or able to stay with the process.

What is the frequency of sessions?

Generally psychotherapy is most effective when the therapist and client can meet once per week for about 50 minutes per session. There are exceptions to this based on the severity of the client’s presenting issue

What is the difference between a clinical social worker, a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Clinical social workers like me have master’s degrees and usually some post-graduate training in psychotherapy. Some social workers also have doctorate degrees. Psychologists have doctorate degrees and are generally more versed in research and psychological testing. Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD’s) who are able to prescribe medication, and may also provide talk therapy.

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