Therapy can be useful for a wide variety of people and in a wide range of situations. On the one hand, there are very few people who absolutely need therapy, in the sense that they could not go without it. On the other hand, there are also very few people for whom therapy would be of no use, as they do not have anything worth changing. Most of us find ourselves somewhere between these two extremes. This means that almost all of us can benefit from therapy, as almost all of us have something we would like to change in ourselves, in our relationships, or in our lives.
People tend to seek help when they are disturbed by emotional, behavioral, or interpersonal difficulties. Some «red flags» are: Frequent crying, «nervousness», disturbing physical sensations, impulsive / destructive behaviors, insomnia, permanent fatigue, difficulty making decisions, disturbing thoughts, frequent conflicts, loss of pleasure in activities or relationships, permanent or exaggerated emotions of sadness, fear or anger, the feeling that «something is not right» with yourself or your life…
A first goal of therapy is to help the client solve the difficulties that led him to seek help. Therapy intends to improve his understanding of those difficulties, and to help him develop strategies to eliminate, reduce or cope with them. The therapist helps him to identify his skills, to enhance their use and to build new ones as needed. A more general goal of therapy is to promote self- knowledge. The underlying idea is that the more we know about ourselves, the better choices we are able to make for our lives. We are all different, and therapy aims to help the client acknowledge his differences, and consider them in his choices. In other words, therapy aims to help him become more and more like himself. This results in a greater comfort and freedom of the client, in his relationship with himself, with his life, and with others. Therapy is an investment with a long lasting impact - the sooner you do it, the more time you will enjoy it!
Each therapist bases his intervention in one or more theoretical models, in which he has a comprehensive and in-depth training. In this particular case, individual therapy is based on a cognitive-behavioral intervention, focused on the client`s thoughts, emotions and behaviors, and on how these aspects relate to one another. Couples therapy is based on a systemic intervention, focused on the interaction and communication between the couple's elements. In both situations, elements of other theoretical models are integrated, depending on the needs of the person or the couple. Regardless of the theoretical model, each therapy is based on a relationship between the client and the therapist, which is different from all other relationships in the client`s life. It's a collaborative relationship – therapy is something done «with the client», not «to the client». It`s a «separated» relationship – the therapist is on the outside of the client`s social network, and this enables him to understand his experience from his perspective, and to use this perspective as a starting point for change. It`s a relationship based on principles – of confidentiality, of respect, of promotion of the person's interest and autonomy - which favor the development of trust. These characteristics are what make the therapeutic relationship such a special and powerful one - a safe place for the client to share and transform himself!
For how long?
The duration of therapy is very variable, and it depends both on the client`s goals and on the therapist`s theoretical model. Therapy usually begins with a joint reflection on what the person intends to achieve, and how the therapist can contribute to it. At this point, a estimation can be made as to the duration of the process. However, all people are different, and every process is unique – in this sense, there is always some unpredictability to it. Regardless of everything else, the ultimate goal of any therapy is to help the client become his own therapist. A therapy`s last sign of success is the moment when it ends, because it has become unnecessary.