How do you feel today? Is everything ok? Are you worried about something?
As psychologist, I have been helping people to achieve a better understanding of why they feel like they do, why they think in a particular way, as well as how to modify some insane and unproductive thoughts and behaviors in order to achieve their goals.
Probably you remember Bob Wiley, a Bill Murray’s character in the film What about Bob. He has been suffering multiple phobias and after initial session with Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), he felts “better”. Then, follows Dr. Marvin to his vacation home and get him lose his mind.
This hilarious film reveals too little what really happens in a therapeutic relationship. Psychotherapy has been mythologized for years not only at movies, but in real life. So, I would like to explain in this post why you should see a psychologist, what exactly psychologists do, what benefits you can obtain, why you should visit the psychologist office several times (once a week at least) before you notice some positive changes; why is not the same thing to talk to a friend in a coffee restaurant, and why you wouldn’t expect for medication as the unique source to alleviate anxiety, depression, guilt, and pain.
1. The good news: You are not crazy! If you have heard from people around you some expressions like: What is wrong with you? You must have a severe problem! You must be crazy! Far from it, normal people is going to the psychologist office to solve their problems, to make some adjustments and improve their knowledge about themselves. I think of my clients they are smart guys that proactively are looking for opportunities to improve their lives and careers.
2. Psychologists are trained to help people like you. Having been recognized as science, couple of centuries ago, Psychology has been emerging in a variety of fields, from industry to academy, communications, sports and clinical settings. The psychologist’s role in each one of them is different. In a clinical setting, a psychologist helps people to alleviate anxiety, depression, guilt, phobias and some others symptoms. These are often related with life events, but mainly with how they understand those events. Depending of his school of thought, your psychologist will use some different techniques to treat your symptoms.
3. It will help you to improve your overall health. Feeling not good, is bad for your health. Chronic stress, anxiety or depression are not only psychological issues, these can lead to important physical problems, such as back pain, IBS, heart disease, diabetes and so on.
NOTE: for the onset of any of these medical condition is needed to have some others risk factors. If someone tells about your condition “it was created for your mind”, please don’t believe it.
4. Talk to a psychologist is better than do the same with your old friends. A call to your friend when you are upset, can give you some temporary relief, but it would not really helps you. Just because your friend loves you and probably would not be objective to help you analyze your feelings.
5. Psychotherapy is not a “magic pill”. Positive outcomes from psychotherapy, will not come after first session. That is important to say, and for me, is very important to be honest with my clients that after the first session report to feel “awesome”. The placebo effect (for those who are not familiarized with this subject, is the kind of illusion or confidence you put in the treatment) is taking place.
For some people, being comfortable and talk about their issues can create a sense of wellbeing, however this is quite different from real change. Even for brief or focused therapy, clients would spend weeks or months depending the severity of their symptoms.
6. Modern approaches are more effective, focusing today’s issues. If you think about therapy to lie down in a couch and talk about your childhood, how was your mother or father with you, this is not what actually happen. Psychology today is oriented toward brings you some skills or tools that you can use on a daily basis. A psychologist is not just a listener, rather than create an environment for analysis, skills acquisition and essay
7. Medication alone it doesn’t work. “It feels so good” told me a good friend about her medication. Well, yes, for those who suffer from anxiety, anxiolytics can give you a relief. But as I mentioned about have a coffee with your friends, it would not change anything if you not break some negative thinking patterns. Since psychologists do not prescribe drugs, we use talk therapy. I combine talk therapy with Biofeedback to teach clients to self regulate themselves.
Hope it helps you!