WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PSYCHOANALYST AND A PSYCHIATRIST?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in understanding how medications for mood disorders interact with the body and other medications you may be taking. Some psychiatrists may provide occasional therapy but they primarily provide medication. Psychoanalysts specialize in understanding mental health. They do not prescribe medication.
SHOULD I TAKE MEDICATION OR GO INTO PSYCHOTHERAPY?
It is well established in medical literature that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved by medication alone. Instead of just treating the symptom, psychotherapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of both medication and therapy is the right course of action.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TALKING TO A THERAPIST OR MY BEST FRIEND OR FAMILY?
The difference is talking to someone who has the training and expertise to understand you and your life. A psychoanalyst can help you approach your situation in a new way – teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, psychotherapy is completely confidential. Speaking with a psychoanalyst is helpful because it provides expertise and an environment that talking to friends and family cannot offer.
HOW DOES TALKING HELP?
Recent neuroscience shows that talking redevelops the dendrites in the brain and creates new synaptic connections. Talking with a therapist actually helps your brain to grow and establishes new emotional pathways.
Because everyone relates to the world through the unique template they learned as they grew up, therapy is a place where people can come to understand themselves by learning how their own template operates in the world. They can begin to sort out whether or not this structure suits them. They might also begin to try out new ideas with a therapist as a sounding board.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO IN SESSIONS?
Because each person has different issues and life goals, sessions will be different depending on the individual. I tailor my approach to your specific needs. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Just say everything and tell the story of your life!
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Depending on your specific needs, psychotherapy can provide short-term relief, for a specific issue, or have longer-term objectives in order to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular weekly 50-minute sessions initially, and then adjust the frequency to your needs.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AND HOW CAN I GET THE MOST OUT OF THERAPY?
The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in sessions back into your life. Beyond the work you do in the therapy sessions, I can suggest some things you can do outside to support your progress – such as practicing relaxation skills, journaling on a specific topic, reading a pertinent book, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals.