What is therapy?

Psychologist or psychiatrist or…?
What is therapy?

Psychotherapy is a process where someone seeks help for problems of an emotional nature from a trained professional. By establishing a positive, trusting relationship, the professional will try to help the individual cope with the problem, mature and grow, and learn about himself or herself.

There Are So Many Different Types Of Therapists. I Get Confused. What Are The Differences?

There are four major types of professionals who may help people with personal problems.

Psychologists have a doctorate (Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D.) in psychology. They undergo at least four years of training and education in research, human behavioral theories, and therapeutic techniques. In addition to therapy or counseling, they are the mental health professionals that specialize in the administration of psychological tests and assessments and carry out psychological research.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors. They attend medical school and complete a three to five year psychiatric residency. Their ability to assess the need for and prescribe medication for anxiety, depression, and other problems sets them apart from other mental health professionals.

Social workers have a Master’s degree in social work (MSW or CSW), which entails two years of education and training. Their knowledge of social support systems, organizations, and groups (e.g. recreation and welfare agencies) and how they may meet a person’s psychological needs is a distinguishing characteristic.

Counselors have specialized training in particular areas, like Certified Alcohol counselors (CAC), or they may have advanced degrees (e.g. Master’s degrees) in counseling, nursing, psychology, or guidance. They tend to deal with very specific problems, such as alcohol addiction or career indecision.

All of these professionals have their own professional organizations and their own requirements for certification or licensure.

A Few Final Words

It is widely held that, when one is experiencing difficulties, therapy can be helpful. In addition, no one type of therapy has been found to be better than another.

It is important to remember that therapy takes commitment, hard work, and time. It is best not to judge your therapy by the way you are feeling in the moment. Therapy is not magic. It is a collaborative effort between the therapist and an active and motivated participant.

Hopefully, in addition to helping solve or ease the problem at hand, therapy provides a person with tools to better deal with difficult issues which may arise even after the therapy has ended.

Source: University of Northern Colorado Counseling Center

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