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Individual Psychotherapy - What you can expect BACK TO TOP
Psychotherapy is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a mental health provider. During psychotherapy, you learn about your condition and your moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Psychotherapy helps you learn how to take control of your life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills.
There are many specific types of psychotherapy, each with its own approach. The type of psychotherapy that's right for you depends on your individual situation. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy, counseling, psychosocial therapy or, simply, therapy.
Types of psychotherapy
There are a number of effective types of psychotherapy. Some work better than others in treating certain disorders and conditions. In many cases, therapists use a combination of techniques. Your therapist will consider your particular situation and preferences to determine which approach may be best for you.
Although many subtypes and variations on therapies exist, some psychotherapy techniques proven to be effective include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones
- Dialectical behavior therapy, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches behavioral skills to help you handle stress, manage your emotions and improve your relationships with others
- Acceptance and commitment therapy, which helps you become aware of and accept your thoughts and feelings and commit to making changes, increasing your ability to cope with and adjust to situations
- Psychodynamic and psychoanalysis therapies, which focus on increasing your awareness of unconscious thoughts and behaviors, developing new insights into your motivations, and resolving conflicts
- Interpersonal psychotherapy, which focuses on addressing problems with your current relationships with other people to improve your interpersonal skills — how you relate to others, such as family, friends and colleagues
- Supportive psychotherapy, which reinforces your ability to cope with stress and difficult situations
Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Marriage counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through marriage counseling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding your relationship or going your separate ways.
Marriage counseling is often provided by licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists. These therapists have graduate or postgraduate degrees — and many choose to become credentialed by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
Marriage counseling typically brings couples or partners together for joint therapy sessions but sometimes one partner chooses to work with a therapist alone. Working with a therapist, you'll learn skills to solidify your relationship. These skills might include communicating openly, solving problems together and discussing differences rationally. You'll analyze both the good and bad parts of your relationship as you pinpoint and better understand the sources of your conflicts. The specific treatment plan depends on the situation. Marriage counseling is often short term.
Family therapy typically brings several family members together for therapy sessions. However, a family member may also see a family therapist individually. Sessions typically take about 50 minutes to an hour. Family therapy is often short term — generally less than six months. However, how often you meet and the number of sessions you'll need will depend on your family's particular situation and the therapist's recommendation.
During family therapy, you'll examine your family's ability to solve problems and express thoughts and emotions. You may explore family roles, rules and behavior patterns in order to identify issues that contribute to conflict — as well as ways to work through these issues. Family therapy may help you identify your family's strengths, such as caring for one another, and weaknesses, such as difficulty confiding in one another.
For example, say that your adult son has depression. Your family doesn't understand his depression or how best to offer support. Although you're worried about your son's health, conversations with your son or other family members erupt into arguments and you're left feeling frustrated and angry. Communication diminishes, decisions go unmade, and the rift grows wider.
In such a situation, family therapy can help you pinpoint your specific challenges and how your family is handling them. Guided by your therapist, you'll learn new ways to interact and overcome unhealthy patterns of relating to each other. You may set individual and family goals and work on ways to achieve them. In the end, your son may be better equipped to cope with his depression, and the entire family may achieve a sense of understanding and togetherness.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain's information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can causes intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.
Twenty positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR. Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 70,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 20 years.
EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment. Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session. After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth across the client's field of vision. As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level. For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, "I survived it and I am strong." Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes. The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them. Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.
Expressive Arts Therapy - What you can expect BACK TO TOP
Quite simply: expressive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that integrates creative arts into the healing process. While talk is the most common mode of exchange in therapy, we know that as humans, verbal communication is only one of the numerous ways we communicate. Expressive therapy honors the diversity in our communication styles and needs, and invites the client to utilize expressive art forms within a therapy session to communicate, clarify, explore, soothe among other goals. We all have feelings and memories that are not easily put into words. In fact, our brain and body frequently store emotions and memories without words. When words are not enough, the expressive arts can often help us access and transform what we need to heal.
Expressive Arts Therapy encourages clients’ active participation in the therapeutic process. It fosters self-expression and imagination, and makes important mind-body connections. Emerging research in neurobiology is teaching us that to make lasting change in therapy, we need to make changes with both the body and mind engaged. Expressive arts therapy can be described as a primarily non-verbal form of therapy; however verbal processing can often be an important component of this work as well. In her practice, Kelcee Foss, LMHC, CADC primarily offer visual art, sandtray therapy, writing and movement.
Expressive therapy can be used as the primary mode of therapy or combined with traditional talk therapy and incorporated into sessions to enrich your therapeutic process. Expressive therapy can be helpful for children, adolescents or adults with a variety of needs and goals. Previous arts experience is not required, and the emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product.
Online therapy, also known as distance therapy, is the delivery of mental health counseling via the Internet. A variety of technology mediums are used such as video or voice conferencing, email, online chat or phone. Online therapy can occur in real time such as when using video conferencing or online chat or in a time delayed format such as e-mail messages.
Online therapy provides access to mental health services in situations where an in-office visit is not feasible or likely. In rural states, such as our home state of Iowa, access to mental health providers is often limited. Online therapy provides people the means to access the care they need easily and often times less expensively then more traditional care. (Considering lengthily travel time, the loss of work time and travel costs). Additional situations in which online therapy can be helpful includes but is not limited to military personnel and their families, people who are unable to travel to an in-office session due to illness, disability or other limiting factors such as living a hectic lifestyle and time constraints. Embarrassment and shame-based feelings may also indicate online therapy is a preferred mode of treatment for some individuals. Further, because of the vast increase in the use of technology in everyday life, teenagers and young adults may feel more comfortable with online therapy then more traditional forms.
For more information on our online therapy services, click on the “Online Therapy” tab on the home page.