You describe your current situation and your feelings about it, and then the therapist uses your experience to help you try to solve that problem so you can get closer to having the life you want to have. Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. Based on dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows you to speak openly with someone who is objective, neutral and non-judgmental. You and your psychologist will work together to identify and change patterns of thinking and behavior that prevent you from feeling better.
Therapy sessions can be considered problem-solving workshops. In each session, a conversation with your therapist will discuss your position and the status of the problem that led you to participate. Remember that therapy is a gradual process that occurs over time and growth, and that each therapy session serves as a step in your progress. During therapy, you can talk about anything you have in mind and the therapist will listen to you.
You can talk openly and vulnerable about yourself; your conversations with your therapist are confidential. If you stay with your therapist, you can decide how often you want to attend sessions. The general rule is that sessions should be weekly. Some therapists' policies do not allow fewer sessions, especially at the beginning.
As you gain confidence in your psychologist and in the process, you may be willing to share things you weren't comfortable responding to at first. If you take any medications, write down which medications and what doses so that the psychologist can have that information. If the situation doesn't improve, you and your psychologist may decide it's time for you to start working with a new psychologist. Each theoretical perspective acts as a roadmap to help the psychologist understand their patients and their problems and to develop solutions.
Even a vague idea of what you want to achieve can help you and your psychologist to proceed efficiently and effectively. Psychologists take confidentiality so seriously that they may not even recognize that they know you if they meet you at the grocery store or anywhere else. The therapeutic alliance is what happens when the psychologist and the patient work together to achieve the patient's goals. That can be stressful, but you don't have to worry about your psychologist sharing your secrets with anyone except in the most extreme situations.
As part of their professional training, psychologists must complete a supervised clinical internship in a hospital or in an organized healthcare setting. Some psychologists even create a treatment contract that sets out the purpose of treatment, its expected duration and objectives, with the individual and psychologist's responsibilities described. Your psychologist can write down the goals and read them back to you so that both of you are clear about what you will be working on. The title “therapist” is a general term for mental health professionals, including counselors and psychologists.
Past psychotherapy records or psychological tests can also help your new psychologist get a better idea of you. As you go along, you should ask yourself if the psychologist seems to understand you, if the treatment plan makes sense, and if you feel that you are making progress. In psychotherapy, psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people develop healthier and more effective habits. In some cases, of course, the relationship between a patient and the psychologist is not as good as it should be.