FamilyTime Blog

Choosing the Right Therapist for you?

There has been a steady increase in the number of Americans seeking help for mental health issues recently. However, there is still so much left to be done. Psychotherapy, for example, is an effective treatment plan for a lot of mental disorders, with a significant amount of people seeking depression therapy. The social stigma, institutionalized roadblocks and the pressure of family and friends has kept many people away from much-needed help.

Psychotherapy seeks to treat individuals, helping them overcome certain negative behavior, impulses, and addiction, using personal interaction rather than medications. Psychotherapy has been proven to be as effective as medication and even more potent in the treatment of disorders like depression and anxiety. The focus of psychotherapy is to affect the brain in the areas that influence a person’s beliefs, emotions, thoughts, and compulsions. By effecting changes in these regions of the brain, a general improvement can be noticed before the therapy runs its course. Therapy plays a huge role in repairing damaged relationships, building self-esteem, overcoming suicidal and depressive thoughts, as well as improving social skills.

Picking the right therapist is vital for anyone seeking professional help. Your choice of therapist can define your path to recovery, so it should be done diligently. No matter what disorder you have been diagnosed with or you suspect you have, a therapist will help you understand, and ideally, help you get better.

The patient-therapist relationship plays a significant role in the course of psychotherapy. There must be a mutual understanding and respect, a form of chemistry between both, for the process to be optimally effective. The following are some steps to consider when choosing a therapist for yourself or your loved ones.

·       Determine Why You Need Help

What exactly are you feeling? Do you need depression therapy or OCD therapy? Do you find it hard to control your anger and you are looking for some sort of anger therapy or management procedure? Do you feel off all the time, with little motivation, unable to maintain a healthy relationship? Do you have irrational fears and are constantly bombarded by negative thoughts? If you have some sort of addiction, which is not restricted to drugs or alcohol- any activity that has consumed, having a negative influence on your life is an addiction. Suicidal thoughts, feelings of being unloved, long-term sadness and unhappiness are all symptoms that should be flagged as warning signs. If you or your loved ones are dealing with the grief of any nature, PTSD or the onset of a serious, life-altering illness, you should seek help.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a prescription or a diagnosis to speak to a psychotherapist. If you ever feel like you need to talk to someone, contact a therapist, they are always available to consider your case and determine the proper course of action.

·       Finding A Suitable Therapist

You can find a therapist through a referral from a licensed doctor, asking for recommendations or by searching for reputable therapists on the internet. You can confirm their listed qualifications, expertise, and certifications on their websites and profiles on the state license board.

It is important to choose a therapist that you are comfortable around and puts you at ease. The relationship between you and your therapist is cordial, at the very least mutually respectful. You should be able to speak openly without any sort of bias, restrictions, or fear of judgments. Your choice of therapist can be according to your preferences, with regards to age, sex, race and other factors. You and your therapist will have to develop an understanding for the treatment to work effectively.

After picking a therapist you should inquire about his or her methods of therapy. An explanation of their process may help you prepare adequately for what is to come and ascertain whether or not it is right for you.

Types of Therapy

The field of psychology and psychotherapy is vast, with many different approaches all towards the same goal- your well-being. Therapists are experienced in different methods of therapy, reaching having its peculiar process and methodology. While most therapists may have a broad and general understanding of these different classes of therapy, there are some who are certified as having a much more expansive knowledge and practice in that particular field.

The different types of therapy available to patients are as follows:

1.     Counseling

Counseling can be done by social workers, general practitioners, and licensed psychologists. It is usually done to tackle recent issues that have manifested in a person’s life. A person seeking counseling may not necessarily have any signs or suffer from any mental disorders. He or she may just need help adjusting to a sudden, impactful event in their lives.

Counseling may be sought after the death of a loved one, loss of employment, relationship problems, accidents, diagnosis of a major illness and as a form of anger therapy. Counseling is usually done at the request of the patient and is not a fixed routine, unlike the other forms of therapy available.

2.     Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A combinational of behavior therapy and cognitive therapy, CBT aims to treat mental disorders by retraining an individual’s thought process. By teaching a person to change his negative pattern of thinking and replacing them with a more positive and upbeat pattern, you are rewiring the entire functioning of your brain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is focused on changing events occurring in the present, rather than digging into past or repressed memories.

The fundamental principle of CBT is that your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and feelings all have a significant effect on your entire being. By changing the way you think, your core beliefs about yourself and the world, the way you respond to events around you and how you deal with pain, you can successfully reduce and potentially eliminate the disorder you suffer from. CBT involves a number of techniques, which may include exercises and self-reassuring, biofeedback, distracting yourself when negative thoughts begin to form and relaxation as a viable coping strategy.

CBT is evidence-based, meaning it has been tested and proven effective for treatment of different mental disorders. The use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of the following disorders either as a sole treatment plan or in combination with medications.

·       Anxiety Disorders

·       Body Dysmorphic Disorder

·       Depression

·       Eating Disorders

·       Personality Disorders

·       Psychosis

·       Schizophrenia

·       Impulse Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

·       OCD Therapy for Children and Adolescents

·       Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The goal of CBT is to help patients develop self-help strategies to combat their negative thinking pattern. These coping strategies break the cycle of negativity and eventually lead to recovery from such disorders.

3.     Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the effect a person’s past may have on his current situation. Psychodynamic therapy holds that repressed memories, reflexive interaction with external stimuli, both subconscious factors, play a key role influencing how we behave in the present. By examining memories and events from a patient’s childhood, current actions and behavior may be considered an unconscious defense against past events.

The scope of psychodynamic extends to interpreting dreams, which may be an unconscious manifestation of the psyche. Also, patients can be taught to understand when they are transferring feelings over a subject and casting it upon an unrelated matter- e.g. transference of anger. The therapy will usually involve examining traumatic or major events and memories which may be the root of current disorders.

The relationship between the therapist and client must be strong and completely honest for psychodynamic therapy to work effectively. The patient must be willing to disclose information without holding back, to help the therapist get a sense of his psychological state. Choosing a therapist you are comfortable talking to is vital for psychodynamic therapy to work.

Psychodynamic therapy has been proven as effective as a form of impulse therapy in the treatment of addiction. Psychodynamic therapy is also particularly effective in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment and antisocial and other interpersonal disorders.

4.     Family Therapy

Family therapy is geared towards treating the family as a unit. Family therapy may also include couple’s therapy. Also, the conventional classification for family therapy has changed. Family therapy now involves individuals who have established a long-term relationship with one another, regardless of actual biological connections.

Family therapy is usually needed in cases of –

·       Abuse

·       Affairs

·       Courtship

·       Divorce

·       Death in The Family

·       Disabilities

·       Domestic Violence

·       Relocation

·       Substance Abuse and Addiction

Rather than conduct individual sessions, the therapist conducts a group session to examine the interpersonal relationship in the unit. The goal in family therapy, more often than not, is solving whatever problem necessitated the therapy session, rather than focusing on identifying the root cause of the problems.

The therapist makes inquiries into the manner of relationship different individuals in the family unit have, and also details of, particularly volatile experiences.  With this information, he is able to make suggestions and point out certain triggers or scenarios that could have played out with a little change in behavior.

5.     Group Therapy

A group therapy consists of multiple persons with the same or similar issues. These issues may be mental disorders, substance abuse, PTSD, OCD, and sufferers of chronic or terminal illnesses. One of the reasons for the effectiveness of group therapy is the sense of camaraderie it fosters among members. The knowledge and confirmation that you are not alone in your struggles, and the fact that there are people who genuinely understand and care about you, have a positive effect on mood.

Group therapy acts as an effective support system for patients trying to overcome their particular conditions. The group acts as a safe space for the patient to freely express thoughts and feeling a with an absence of bias, judgment and criticism. The shared experience members of a group therapy have can serve a role eliminating a patient's isolative tendencies. Within the safe space of the group, antisocial personalities have a chance to take step towards building self-esteem and social skills.

Group therapy is effective in the treatment and recovery of the following conditions and disorders:

·       Depression

·       Sexual Abuse

·       PTSD in Veterans

·       Borderline Personality Disorder


6.     Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

This is a form of therapy that is focused on people who have a history of recurring depression. It is a combination of CBT and Eastern meditation techniques. Participants are taught to identify and identify the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that can lead to a depressive episode and train their minds to ignore such negative stimuli.

MBCT is effective in breaking the cycle that depression creates in the minds of patients. Even after recovering from a depressive episode, there are still depressive pathways laying dormant in the brain. If these pathways are then triggered by even a mild negative thought, such a person relapses back into depression. The mindfulness meditations that are taught during the group therapy have been shown to be highly effective in preventing relapse into depression.

This therapy is effective in the treatment of:

·       Recurring Depression

·       Depressive Relapse

·       Bulimia And Other Eating Disorders

·       Anxiety Disorder 

·       Psychosis.



Only a licensed psychotherapist can make a decision on what treatment plan works effectively for you. Understanding the types of therapy available to you and your loved ones eases your mind and theirs over the overall nature of the procedure.

Family Time Center is capable of catering to your requests and inquiries upon the nature of therapy that is ideal for you. Dr. Kaufman has been a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist for over 20 years, gaining a reputation as a family and children oriented practitioner.

With his expansive knowledge, expertise, as well as the use of evidence-based CBT therapies, Dr. Kaufman has committed to helping both adults and children be as in control of their minds as they possibly can. He is experienced in depression therapy, anger management therapy, OCD therapy, as well as counseling for LGBT individuals. You can be assured of a professional yet understanding experience at the Family Times Center.






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