What’s all the Fuss about Therapy?

When life hands you lemons, sometimes a little guidance is necessary to find your path. If you think that therapy is only for the wealthy and self-centered, you are not alone. Many people imagine a character from Clueless or Mean Girls when they think of therapy. A tendency to view therapeutic endeavors as mostly female is another stereotype.

All of these views about the practice of therapeutic guidance and treatments stand between the individual and his or her best life yet. There are many methods and schools of thought in the world of therapy. If you think that one is just plain silly, chances are you can find a program that works with your needs and ideals.

Therapy, or more accurately known as psychotherapy, is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “a term for a variety of treatment techniques that aim to help a person identify and change probleming emotions, thoughts, and behavior.” Also known as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy helps you work through the problems and life challenges you’re facing. Most people at one point in their life could use the benefits of therapy.

Who Needs Therapy?

Does everyone need therapy? The answer to that question pivots on who you ask. Some people believe that everyone would benefit from the insights of psychotherapy. Others think that people can work out issues on their own. However, the real question is whether you are able to cope with what you are dealing with, and, if so, is your coping strategy healthy?

A better question is when do I know that I need therapy? The answer is when you feel like you can’t handle the circumstances life has thrown at you or are consistently unable to rally from the losses and hits everyone experiences in life.  Several key indicators can better illuminate when it’s time to seek professional help.

First, if you’ve lost a loved one recently. Coping with loss is something we all go through but we all need help doing it. Second, if you need substances like drugs and alcohol to self-medicate the pain you are experiencing. Third, if you have experienced a sudden or traumatic life event such as rape, car accident, mugging or divorce, among others.

Finally, if, for any or seemingly no reason at all, you aren’t functioning like you used to or should. For instance, sleeping 14 + hours a day is a sign of a problem and if you are tired all the time you need to find the underlying cause. Additionally, any changes where you are just not feeling like yourself may be cause to seek therapy.

Types of Therapy

There are numerous methods of psychotherapy; however the avenues most commonly used by therapist are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Trauma Therapy, Family Therapy and Group Therapy.

Some of these are self-evident from their names, namely Family Therapy is a therapeutic approach involving relevant family members and Group Therapy involves a group of people experiencing the same issue.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the more popular and effective options today. This combination between behavior and cognitive therapy works on the principle that our behavior, thoughts and emotions are all closely connected. By understanding the interaction between these components of self, a person can better navigate the tricky and problematic areas in life.

For instance, you may have a relationship with a person who, no matter what, the encounter always seems to inevitably end in argument and stress.

CBT will help you to pry apart these situations, whereby, you might realize that this person always makes comments about the same general topic that creates a negative emotional response. Every time you counter this person’s remarks with a counter argument, the debate gets out of control.

CBT helps by identifying why your emotional response was what it was how to assertively communicate with this person without arguing and provides you with tools that prevent emotional distress and behavioral outbursts in the future.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) focuses on negative thought patterns and how to best correct them. Negative thought cycles can lead a person to continually use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, or to remain in the same depressive rut for years. DBT is designed to isolate and target the negative thought patterns that prevent someone from thriving.

For instance, a common negative thought is “I’m not good enough, so why even try?” Over time this thought process becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and the person neither tries nor succeeds where he or she would like. DBT pinpoints thoughts like this and works to undo the effect and hold they have on the individual.

The person comes to see all situations as complex and partially due to chance; however with hard work and persistence anything is possible. Everyone carries many of these negative thought patterns, however, with therapy those paths can be undone and new ones created.

Trauma therapy is another commonly sought treatment method. There are many different methods for treating trauma, including EMDR, Trauma-Focused CBT/DBT and Trauma-Focused Therapy, among others, all of which center around the traumatic event(s) that affected the individual.

Financing Therapeutic Treatments

Depending on your situation, therapy can be expensive. Many people would pursue psychotherapy if they could afford it or if it was covered by their insurance provider. Every insurance company is required to cover mental health problems; however talk therapy coverage varies between plans and companies. Another issue is when it is covered; however the deductible is so high that essentially all costs are out-of-pocket.

If you are looking for low cost therapy Tucson AZ has some world-class options. Home to University of Arizona, Tucson has a number of places where psychotherapists who are newly trained offer services at reduced cost. Additionally, many treatment groups offer a “sliding scale” approach to pricing, which adjusts the cost each session based on need and what you can afford. Each center and provider is different. Reach out to a licensed therapist in your area and get started living your best life.