Remember, the definition of psychotherapy is: intentional interpersonal relationship used by trained psychotherapists to aid a client or patient in problems of living and to help attain a better sense of well being.
If you do some research, you’ll find that there are between 50 and 100 different types of psychotherapy, but don’t get overwhelmed, Lets just talk about a couple of main approaches.
1 Psychoanalysis: Developed by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800’s, it’s basic idea is that human behaviors are determined by irrational drives which are largely subconscious. The basic treatment in a general sense is to work through and come to terms with these subconscious thoughts.
2 Behavioral Modification Therapy: In a general sense, a way of modifying human behavior through a series of rewards and punishments.
3 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: a very common approached used today and used quite often with people suffering from Fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses.: It strives to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure.
I realize that these are all fancy words and might be too difficult to understand, but psychotherapy takes much training and study by the psychotherapist to be able to practice it effectively. After all, the human mind is very complicated.
When dealing with a chronic illness, a good psychotherapist can be a godsend by helping you to deal with symptoms, deal with your emotions and see things from a different point of view. Just the act of speaking with another person who really understands can be very cathartic.
So what can you expect when you see a Psychotherapist for the first time. Most will do some form of History, possibly medical and also emotional, some might use questionnaires and ask many questions until they determine a diagnosis. This might take one or two or sometimes mores sessions to gather the needed info. They will than create a treatment approach and plan and the work will begin.
Remember, if you don’t feel an affinity for the practitioner, even after 2 or more visits, it is perfectly okay to state this and than move on. A good psychotherapist will also recognize this and never pressure you to stay.