- What is the difference between psychotherapy and psychoanalysis?
- What is the difference between a social worker and other mental health professionals?
- What benefits can I expect from working with a therapist?
- Is therapy confidential?
Psychotherapy is an umbrella term used to describe talk therapy. A psychoanalyst, a psychologist, a social worker, or a marriage and family therapist can conduct psychotherapy. It consists of talking to a trained professional with the goal being to resolve the negative symptoms of an emotional issue.
Psychoanalysis is a type of psychotherapy. It was developed by Sigmund Freud in the 1800s, and it focused on bringing unconscious material to consciousness. Traditional psychoanalysis required that the “analysand,” person undergoing analysis, be in analysis 5 times a week. A major technique in analysis was “free association” where the analysand freely vocalized associations without looking at the analyst in order to uncover unconscious conflicts, and the analyst was a “blank screen” without emotion.
Contemporary psychoanalysis has evolved a lot since Freud. In more modern types of psychoanalysis, analysts no longer need to be a blank screen. In fact, we are people who can’t help letting our personalities come through our work. It is our relationship with our clients that is most important for growth. Clients are no longer required to come in 5 times a week, and the focus of therapy is on the individual meaning to the client. Previous patterns are examined in order to change present ones that we dislike. Regardless of how often I see a client, I incorporate this deeper way of thinking in order to help clients gain insight and clarity so that they may experience more satisfying ways of being and relating.
Psychology, social work, and marriage and family therapy have a lot in common. Social work has a special emphasis on assessing the whole person. As a result, the social worker can arrive at an understanding of the many factors that contributed to the development of a client’s struggles. Adhering to a psychosocial perspective distinguishes social workers from all other mental health professionals.
Therapy can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point you in the direction of a solution. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, and the hassles of daily life. Some of the benefits available from therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to issues or concerns that led you to therapy
- Finding new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, depression and other emotional challenges
- Improving communications skills
- Getting “unstuck” from unhealthy patterns – developing new behaviors
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
- Experiencing more satisfying ways of being and relating.
Yes. The law protects the confidentiality of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. Information is not disclosed without written permission with few exceptions to this rule. There are three exceptions:
- Suspected abuse (child, dependent adult, elder). The therapist is required by law to report this to appropriate authorities immediately.
- Threatening serious bodily harm to another person(s). The therapist must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- Intent to harm oneself. The therapist will make every effort to enlist client cooperation to insure their safety. If they do not cooperate, further measures may be taken without their permission to ensure their safety.
If any of these exceptions create anxiety for you, I am more than happy to discuss them at length.