Effectiveness of Therapy

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

How to make therapy effectively count for you?
Therapy sessions lasting for an hour couple of times a week won’t start to suddenly do wonders for you. It is you who need to put your learning from those sessions into practice in your day to day life.
a. Regularity in meals, daily exercise and a good 7 hours of sleep will start to put you in the right state of mind to treat your emotional state. This is the first step. Skipping this step will only bring you more irritability and dampen your confidence than therapy is not working.

b. As mentioned before, your therapist will carve out a way for you after consulting you. But he plays only a part in your recovery. What you contribute actively through your actions is more important.

c. Your counseling sessions aren’t just a weekly chore that you have to complete. Don’t just go there because you’ve been told to do so or just because you’ve paid for it. Endure through the resistance if you have any, but be sure to open yourself up to your therapist. At no cost should you skip your meetings with your therapist. Be committed to following the activities your therapist asks you to perform during the days between two sessions

d. Remember that your therapist can help you best only if you are completely honest and truthful about your problems with him. Drop all sort of inhibitions. Being rather open will do you more good than being closed.

Is therapy making any progress for you?
When you ask yourself this question, remember that your expectations shouldn’t seek instant results. What you definitely can answer instantly in your first couple of sessions is whether your therapist is suitable for you or he is not.

Also remember, the recovery is associated with emotional lows, moments of irritation, spurts of anger and other such negativity. What you need to answer for yourself after about a month is whether you are seeing a positive change in your overall life.

Here are some questions you can answer to test how far you have evolved:
a. Has my life seen a change in the positive direction?
b. Am I being able to cope up better at work than before?
c. Are my relationships in my family tending to improve?
d. Socially, am I being able to react openly and exhibit myself confidently?
e. Are my goals set by my therapist with me being met one by one?
f. Am I more aware of myself and do I have clarity over my actions?

If you can answer even 3 of these questions in the positive, well, you are tending towards improvement. But don’t get discouraged if you aren’t improving. You aren’t in a competition! Take your issues and answers to these questions to your therapist and discuss. Remember to have a wider outlook towards your entire life and surroundings – if there’s some positive vibe you feel, pat yourself and keep going!

When should you quit therapy?
As your situation improves with time, your bond with your therapist will naturally grow stronger. It would be hard for you to give up your sessions with your therapist after such a fruitful association. So as long as there are no financial hurdles or other commitments preventing you from going for your sessions, it may seem tough for you to call it quits.

The right time for you to get away from therapy is when you personally feel that you have achieved the goals you had set for yourself. It is quite normal for you to see your therapist for a couple of follow up sessions after you have stopped your regular counseling sessions. However, at no cost should you engage yourself into a situation where you make visits to your therapist an indefinite habit. Stay firm on that and be aware of your actions!

Financials about therapy
Therapy is among the relatively expensive treatments, since it calls for some serious amount of time and attention from a specialist.

Few people know, but insurance companies have provisions to cover some limited costs for therapy and counseling. If you are really having a crunch for funding your therapy, you can look out for social centers, young therapists or interns at an agency to keep your costs low.

Be sure to ask if you can pay per sitting and also about possible negotiations if you engage for a longer period of time.

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What is Counseling Like?

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

What are therapy and counseling sessions like? 
You may have to attend your sessions either at hospitals your therapist’s clinic. Sometimes, therapists do pay you a home visit, but that generally is a more expensive proposition. You can expect these sessions to last for about an hour and they can range from as often as bi-weekly basis to about bi-monthly basis depending upon the treatment and your therapist’s approach. 

Your first couple of sessions with your therapist most likely would be that where he tries to educate himself about your problems and your history. You too on the other hand should evaluate your session with him. You should try to clarify to him exactly what you are willing to achieve through therapy, so that you can both work together towards that goal as a team. 

During the first couple of sessions, you must measure your level of comfort and trust with your therapist. So basically you have to know whether: 
-- you are being able to undilutedly share your thoughts and feelings with him 
-- you are comfortable sharing personal and private information with him 

a. When you start off with your first session, there are chances that you might not feel the right click with your therapists. You must absolutely not settle for it if you aren’t feeling the required level of comfort with your therapist. Move on immediately and look out for another therapist 

b. Expect a significant amount of personal contribution to healing yourself through therapy. This isn’t like any other illness where the doctor would work on your body or give you pills to alleviate pain. Your therapist will guide you through the relief, but you will need to actively play a good enough part to pull yourself out. 

c. Attending counseling sessions with your therapists doesn’t mean that the time you spend there would be pain relieving always. Do expect negative feelings and thoughts from the past to come up that will hurt you. However, it is a process of healing. You must communicate to your therapist what you are feeling and what is troubling you. Not only will he guide you through his routine methods, but he communicating with him will educate him better about your state of affairs. 

d. There are chances that the hospital or your therapist’s clinic might not give you the required level of comfort to open up completely and be yourself. If such a problem persists, do raise it with your therapist.

How long does therapy last? 
This is a very relative question to be addressed. Some people who either have a grave problem can go on for close to about 3-4 months, while others with relatively less complex issues may even wrap up within a month. The other factor that can limit your length of therapy is the cost associated with it and how long you can endure that cost. You, however, must set a maximum time period for yourself, which is also reasonable. Setting such a goal helps you from falling into the same loop over and over again. It is not to pressurize yourself and can be modified as your treatment progresses.

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Types of Therapy

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

What are the different kinds of therapy? 
There are multiple types of therapy and multiple approaches to solving your problems. It would be inappropriate to say that a particular type of therapy works wonders, whereas another one is worthy of being discarded. What is most important is that you feel at ease when you undergo treatment. And as mentioned earlier, it all boils down to the bond between you and your therapist. Now, here are a few types based on the problem you are facing. 
a. Individual Therapy 
If you are facing trouble with yourself, lack of confidence is pulling you down, depression is harming your day to day life, or even if there are negative thoughts continuously riding your mind, you should take to Individual Therapy. 

b. Family Therapy 
If you notice that there is loss of harmony and repetitive conflicts in your family, Family Therapy is suitable for treating all the members of your family. It doesn’t matter whether it is one single individual at the root of it, or more people who are part of the quarrel. The idea is that everyone in the family together forms one unit, so it is ideal for everyone to attend. 

c. Group Therapy 
This type of therapy is best when there are people of the same age group, or same profession, or people with some common link are facing similar issues. It gives you a comforting feeling to realize there are more people like you who too are down with problems that are similar to yours. The struggle through this therapy provides inspiration and ideas that people can borrow from one another. 

d. Marriage / Relationship Therapy 
When couples in a committed relationship or a marriage are having a tough time to work out their differences, it is worthwhile to try visiting a therapist together. Both individuals need to accept the challenge and should be willing to give the relationship whatever it needs to make it work.

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How to Find a Therapist

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

How to Find a Therapist to Heal Yourself?
It is only understated that therapy and counseling can be effective for treating your disturbed mental state. Choosing the right therapist is the first step towards making you feel better and changing your perspective towards life’s problems. 

So what really is a Good Therapist? 
To begin with, your therapist needs to be experienced. An experienced therapist will ensure that you can trust him and will make you feel he is the right person to open up yourself to. However, beyond just being someone who listens to you, he’ll help you overcome thoughts that pull you down and will motivate you to respond positively in tough situations of life. That said, a therapist isn’t a magician after all! The remaining part of the battle to ensure you come out of your grief depends on how you add to your own progress and how sincerely you participate in relieving yourself from the trauma. 

How do you go about finding the right therapist? 
It takes quite a while to find the right therapist. Sometimes recommendations from your folks and friends might be useful. However, it is essential that your therapist is someone who makes you feel comfortable to talk quite openly about all your issues. There should be a level of trust that you have in your therapist so that he can ease your process of recovery faster. You can start off with a couple of sessions initially to get a sense of comfort and understanding of what you are in for. If you don’t find yourself building a trustworthy and comfortable bond with your therapist, it’s useless to move ahead. Therefore, it would be a good idea to clarify as many doubts as you can before getting in for a session, since each session might be fairly expensive. 

Some basic answers you answer before zeroing in on your therapist 
1. How experienced is your therapist? 
A therapist who is experienced and specialized to treat your problem will tend to facilitate your recovery much faster. If your depression, trauma or disorder is his area of specialization, he is better suited to treat you because he has carved out the right way through years of experience. 

2. What is the mode of treatment and exercises involved? 
This will give you an idea what you can expect when you go in for treatment and also give you a time-frame for which the treatment may last. Some exercises or methods might seem uncomfortable when you just hear of them, but you needn’t have a preconceived notion. 

3. Are there any past references about your therapist that you can gather either online or from close friends?
This background check and performance review of your therapist can help you filter ones who would be not really worth paying for and spending time with. Unless any of your folks take a real hard stand against a certain therapist or you come across any serious bad reviews online, do not form a bias. Answer the first 2 questions by getting yourself involved. 

4. How do your first couple of meetings feel? 
 If you notice a positive change or a positive reinforcement in the first couple of meetings, you can safely continue ahead with your treatment. In case there is a lack of comfort or anything about the treatment that’s making you feel too pressurized, it is best to walk away. Answering a few of the following questions will give you a direction to judge this in the best possible way: 
a. Do you feel your therapist is supportive and you have a sense of bond building up that allows you to open up? 
b. Do you feel that after you open up to your therapist, he really understands your problems and doesn’t just listen to you for the sake of it? 
c. Do you feel any discomfort when you discuss your issues or do you feel he is judging you? 
d. Is there a sense of comfort in trusting your therapist to the extent that you will be able to disclose private and intimate information? e. Are you being able to be absolutely yourself without any sort of pretence? 

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Misconceptions about Therapy

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

Misconceptions about Therapy 
1. Therapy is for people who have lost their mind 
Yes! It’s true that therapy is for people who have gone crazy. Most of us who are facing issues in life tend to live in denial, though to the outer world we quite clearly appear crazy. It takes self-realization to accept that one needs someone to show the right way out of a downward spiraling life. It requires one to lay a fair amount of trust in that one therapist who can possibly restore normalcy and happiness through his expert methods and knowledge. 

2. Therapy is for whiners and complainers 
True again! At the outset it might seem that a certain category of people continue to whine all their lives and need to be treated. However, there are some of us who won’t whine, but will live in denial thinking that no real issue exists. What we don’t realize is that somewhere this issue we live unaware of ultimately stunts our growth, progress and happiness. It requires one to take a hard look at one’s life and further accepting responsibility for one’s state of affairs. 

3. I’m tough and smart to take care of my own issues! Someone like me doesn’t need a therapist!
It often hurts our ego to accept that someone is going to treat our mental issues. It might make us feel that are we so dumb? Are we so weak that we need to resort to therapy? Well, how intelligent you are and how tough you are has got nothing to do with this really. A therapist has a third-person’s perspective of your life and a broader outlook. He’ll lay down your life slit wide open from his angle and then allow you to make choices that suit you best. 

4. Therapists will keep raking up issues about my background 
No doubt about it! However, it is simply wrong to say that therapy is all about digging out issues from the past, people you grew up with and people you were associated with. When you walk in, you are a complete stranger to a therapist. Understand your journey till the present gives him a background and better equips him to understand the cause of your problems. The main focus then lies on solving your problem without your past being raked up! 

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Oral Medication or Therapy

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

Oral Medication or Therapy?
Let us first understand that emotional problems and mental traumas have multiple causes. It could be a break-up, a divorce, death of a loved one, financial distress or some other form of mental torture. There possibly can’t be one magical Master Pill that can suddenly rid everyone of such problems. 

Medication can definitely take your mind off something for a bit or put you off to sleep. That doesn’t mean it is the cure. And oh god, beware of the side-effects too! A therapist can dissect your life to see your problems, understand the symptoms and thereby wisely suggest a way out. It can be tough and will make you feel uneasy to go to a therapist, that’s for sure! However, the odds of lifting yourself from the ditch you’ve fallen into are way higher if you take to therapy as a treatment. 

The solutions and methods that a therapist can provide are significantly more effective and life-transforming than medication. Not only will you see a change in yourself, but you will make sure that the cure remains for a lifetime. 

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Does Therapy Help

Advice by: Hank Butch
Place: Shanghai, China

Why & How Does Therapy Help? 
When you have an outlet to clear a rusted mind, a large part of your heartache gets taken care of almost instantly. A supportive and understanding therapist heals you by giving you the opportunity to voice your concerns and issues. Even if a therapist does it as a part of his profession, it definitely does make you feel cared for by someone who truly understands you. 

You may then think that it would be rather easier speaking about your problems to your own folks. Why a therapist? Well, our folks are simply people who love us and stand by us in our difficult times. They aren’t professionals who can actually get to the underlying cause of your problems. But, a therapist is a trained expert who can counsel you to overcome your problems by getting to the real root cause of it. This is extremely essential when no amount of effort at home seems to help. 

A common misconception is that only people who have a psychological problem are the ones who visit a therapist. However, you must educate yourself that there are a large number of people who take to therapy for day-to-day life issues too. It could simply be stress at work, lack of self-confidence or relationship quarrels. Therapy seems to bring about an improved quality of life for such people. If there are more serious concerns, therapy definitely is a highly viable option to heal yourself. 

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