Research has shown that therapy enhances quality of life. One finding concluded that three-quarters of individuals who sought therapy felt better after six months. Numerous studies have confirmed the importance of mental fitness for tackling daily challenges in the home, academic and professional life. Research corroborates the theory that physical and emotional well-being are interconnected and that therapy contributes to an individual’s general health.
According to the American Psychological Association, therapy boosts the immune system and lengthens the survival time of cancer and heart surgery patients. A study conducted by Stanford University’s medical school found that it also alleviates fatigue, pain, anxiety and depression.
Therapy and Counseling
Therapist counseling involves the application of specific methods of caring to guide individuals struggling with emotional difficulties ranging from marital discord, phobias, bereavement, and career hurdles to abuse, clinical conditions, parenting problems, and substance abuse. Therapists are trained to provide the a variety of assistance to clients.
- Careful and confidential listening
- A medium for the communication of feelings
- Insight and feedback
- Social and emotional skills
- Effective communication skills
- An understanding of the patient’s concerns
- Resolution of conflicts
- A new perspective on existing relationships and past events
- Exploration of alternatives
- Lessening, managing or remedying emotional distress symptoms
- Behavior modification for enhancement of vocational and relational functioning
- Self-improvement tips and advice on personal growth and development
Types of Therapists
A therapist might be a specialist in a particular field, such as a depression therapist, an anxiety therapist or a sex addiction therapist. A qualified therapist will typically old certain credentials.
Common Therapist Credentials Include:
- Hold an advanced degree (master’s or doctorate) in a mental health field
- Have completed clinical training
- Hold a certification or license to practice therapy
Mental health professionals usually pursue a number of therapist programs.
- Social worker (LCSW or MSW) – Nearly half of social workers practice psychotherapy.
- Marriage and family therapist (MFT)
- Psychiatrist (D.O. or M.D.) – These physicians are authorized to prescribe medication and focus on preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental health and substance abuse problems.
- Psychologist (Psy.D or PhD) – A Psychologist conducts mental health evaluations and utilize psychotherapy to treat problems. They usually focus on specific groups, such as the elderly, children or teenagers.
- Psychoanalyst – Also known as psychotherapist, a psychoanalyst is not always a medical doctor. This psychologist is a specialist in psychotherapy with a focus on diagnosis, treatment, assessment, human behavior, and behavioral modification. They assist patients in adopting more constructive, healthier behavioral patterns and in uncovering subconscious influences impacting current relationships.
- Licensed clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC)
- Licensed clinical professional counselor (LPCC)
- Licensed mental health counselor (LMPC)
- Licensed professional counselor (LPC)
Medical professionals also specialize in specific types of therapeutic services.
Art therapy can occur individually or in group setting. Generally, patients create images of their thoughts, memories, feelings and dreams. Art therapists are trained to assist individuals in acquiring a clear and thorough understanding of emotional issues and traumatic events. Art therapy brings relief to individuals coping with a number of emotional issues.
Areas of Focus Include:
- Domestic violence
- Relationship issues
Sex therapy may be preformed by a number of professionals including clinical social workers, psychologists, family therapists or psychiatrists. A sex therapist offers individuals emotional tools to resolve concerns of a sexual nature and teaches patients how to communicate their needs. A sex therapist may be consulted for a number of reasons.
Possible Issues of Discussion Include:
- Relationship issues
- Sexual desire
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sexual addiction
- Painful intercourse
- Sexual orientation issues
- Gender issues
Marriage and Family Therapists specialize in interpersonal relationships in families and marriages. An MFT’s practice typically encompasses child counseling, separation or divorce counseling and pre-marital counseling.
MFT’s Assist Clients in a Number of Areas Including:
- Intimacy issues
- Communication difficulties
- Reluctance to compromise
- Conflicts in child-rearing
- In-law issues
- Financial quarrels
Effective therapy usually envolves a trusting patient-therapist relationship. To find a therapist individuals should ask the recommendation of their physicians, friends, colleagues and family. They may also contact their place of worship, local community mental health center, a treatment center, the psychology department of a local university or a state psychological association.
A therapist directory is an efficient resource in locating licensed and trained therapists who correspond to individual’s subjective needs, preferences and personal circumstances. Therapist directories and referral services are available through numerous professional organizations and institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Association for Marriage and Family and the National Association of Social Workers.