Therapy, also called psychotherapy or counseling, is the process of meeting with a therapist to resolve problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, and/or somatic responses (sensations in the body). Beginning therapy can be a big step toward being the healthiest version of yourself and living the best life possible—no matter what challenges you may be facing. Through therapy, you can change self-destructive behaviors and habits, resolve painful feelings, improve your relationships, and more.
Though no one can tell you exactly what your therapy process will be like, in all modes of therapy you will establish goals for your therapy and determine the steps you will take to get there. Whether in individual, group, or family therapy, your relationship with your therapist is a confidential one and focuses not only on the content of what you talk about, but also the process. The therapeutic process–how you share your feelings and experiences–is considered to be just as important as the specific issues or concerns you share in therapy. Once you start therapy, it may help to know and recognize elements of healthy therapy as well as warning signs of questionable therapy.
On the whole, you can expect that your therapist will be someone who supports you, listens attentively, models a healthy and positive relationship experience, gives you appropriate feedback, and follows ethical guidelines. Good therapy should be tailored to you and your experiences.
You are not alone in facing life’s problems; many people are experiencing similar pains, difficulties, and worries, and many people are getting help and growing through therapy. In fact, there are countless reason why people seek the support of a counselor. Don’t let common myths or misconceptions about therapy stop you from finding help. The idea that people who go to therapy are “crazy” or “damaged” is false. Mental health concerns affect millions of people throughout the world and help is available. You can find a therapist who is right for you.