What Is A Psychotherapist?
There are a lot of joke t-shirts you'll find about psychotherapists especially because of the old joke about the inmates taking over the asylum or having to be crazy to work in a mental institution. The term is a misnomer for apsychotherapist. A psychotherapist is a type of mental health practitioner which helps people but who is different from a psychiatrist or a psychologist. There are many different "psych" practitioners,and it can get confusing to understand the difference between them.
A psychotherapist is a term used to describe any professional who treats patients with emotional problems. It is possible to be a psychotherapist with another title like psychiatrist or psychologist. You can even be a psychotherapist if you don't hold a psychiatric degree such as social workers or counselors. The term is not one relating to the person's educational studies or specialization but merely an umbrella. It can also get confusing because people confuse counseling and therapy, both of which are used for psychotherapy but which have different approaches or methods.
Psychotherapists are those who are licensed to practice talk therapy but who also hold some form of professional licenses like psychiatry or psychology as well. Counselors, ministers, and others may practice psychotherapy but will often not have the same depth or training needed for more than a basic level of interaction.
The average psychotherapist makes about $70,580 per year and holds a masters degree in psychology as well as some graduate studies. This isn't necessarily true of all psychotherapists, but it's the majority. The field is growing steadily as more people feel overwhelmed in their daily lives and need someone to help them cope. Social workers and abuse councilors can practice psychotherapy,but they make much less and have less of a job prospect than someone who has taken the full psychotherapist licensure.
To be a psychotherapist, you need to have good communication and interpersonal skills. Since almost all psychotherapy techniques require talking to a patient and listening tothem, there also needs to be insight and a degree of skepticism. Many clients will not tell the truth or will colorize their version of events in a different light or resist actions designed to reach their goals.
What Is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy creates a relationship between the patient and the care provider using a series of meetings. The sessions are usually longer than with counseling, and it can be used as a treatment choice indefinitely on and off. While patients may initially turn to psychotherapy to deal with single problem psychotherapy is designed to look at patterns and recurring issues within the patient's life which create these. It is firmly rooted in connecting the past with present behaviors with the aim to resolve any issues which have caused the problem.
Psychotherapists are used to changing the person's future by "fixing" the patient's reactions and thought processes which have become negatively colored thanks to past experiences.
On the other hand, counseling is simply the idea of using talking as therapy to understand and solve problems. Psychotherapists often use counseling as one of their methods in therapy,but unlike true psychotherapy, it does not focus as strongly on the past and may focus only on a single concern. Most people who choose to counsel over psychotherapy are not dissatisfied with their lives and merely need someone to bounce off of rather than "fixing." Psychotherapists cannot prescribe medication but may have a relationship with another professional such as a psychiatrist who they can refer patients to who can prescribe medication if it is needed.
Psychotherapy has had some issues recently with being a bit over-prescribed. Many people see the iconic chaise couch and talking about their childhood as a given, but the truth is therapy is different for everyone. No one is interested in the classic approach anymore which is why most therapists have started to specialize a step deeper. Instead of saying they are family therapists, they may be family therapists who specialize in digital disconnection and helping families navigate the digital age.
This is a new time in therapy techniques because the concept of turning questions back on the patients and the aloof therapist is no longer working. People have stopped going to the cliché therapist who is why psychotherapists are changing the way they appear to people. They're human too; they have pictures in their offices, magazines in the waiting room, and things that ten years ago would have been considered unprofessional as a therapist.
When To See A Psychotherapist
Many people take a while to work themselves round to the idea of therapy because they may feel it seems like they are giving up. Therapy simply understands that there are times when daily issues from mental health troubles are perhaps overwhelming, and you need a helping hand. It does not mean that you are weak or that you have given up. Therapy is intended for giving you the tools to deal with these problems and get back in control.
You should consider seeing a psychotherapist if you feel your feelings are overwhelming and that feeling lasts for a long time. If they persist, you may find them making your normal life harder despite trying hard and not making any progress. If your mental health makes you feel physically incapacitated and if you consider harming yourself as well is if your mood impacts your productivity negatively during the day - psychotherapy may be a route to follow.
Sessions for psychotherapy can be either group, individual or family based and last between 30 minutes to 50 minutes. They usually only include one therapist who works to build up a trust with the patient (usually during individual sessions) with the goal of actively getting the patient to go over their experience or trauma which may be affecting activities in their present or future. You may have individual therapy, or group therapy or a combination of both as well as homework assignments. The sessions themselves will depend on the type of psychotherapy that you're working with as the range is huge.
Types Of Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy, like a psychotherapist, is an umbrella term used to cover a variety of techniques used to treat psychiatric issues and mental health problems. The most effective and common type of psychotherapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy. This is used to change negative behaviors or to make the patient more aware of their behaviors so that they can stop a negative cycle.
Other types of psychotherapy include meditation, biofeedback, motivational enhancement therapy, psychodynamic therapy, self-help groups and interactive group therapy. Many psychotherapists will specialize in one or two different types of therapy depending on their practice. For example, a family counselor may be particularly experienced in interactive group therapy. Your psychotherapist might even have one of the less common specializations like a focus on positivity that includes improv comedy scenes and interactive techniques to make you laugh.
Psychotherapy vs. Psychiatry
Psychology and psychiatry are very similar,but they both involve slightly different training for mental health issues. While both can practice psychotherapy and talk therapy, they will have different levels of study and a slightly different approach. Psychiatrists have a much longer study and have more clinical time before they are certified. Psychologists that use psychotherapy usually look at your behaviors and why they're happening to determine the cause while psychiatry will look more at other underlying conditions which could cause the behavior like an eating disorder or sleep problems.
Choosing A Psychotherapist
Once you had decided to go to a psychotherapist, you'll need to research who will work for you. Sites like BetterHelp offer therapist directories of local therapists, and you can browse their skills and training to find someone who is right for you. You'll also need to understand the cost of getting therapy and set yourself a budget. Many therapists work on a sliding scale for low income or payment plans for your insurance. A therapist must usually be licensed to accept any form of insurance payments so you may find that you need to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist who practices psychotherapy rather than a psychotherapist alone.
When you're ready to set your appointment your first meeting will usually be about getting to know each other and creating a rapport with your therapist so you can establish the necessary level of trust to open up to them. You can also ask them questions before setting an appointment such as whether they are licensed, whether they can prescribe medication and how much experience they have working with patients like yourself.
If you're not sure whether you want a therapist, a psychotherapist, a psychiatrist or another professional it doesn't matter as long as you reach out and get help. Once you're talking to someone, they can likely direct you to the right treatment for you because it's never a one-size approach and you may end up talking with many specialists. The important part is that you've started the discussion.