What is Psychotherapy?
Others may have the vague sense that reaching out for professional help indicates a weakness or some kind of moral failing. They may believe that truly strong people are able to face and solve their problems alone and that only weak or deficient people would consider sharing the intimate details of their lives with a total stranger.
Others have serious questions about the usefulness of psychotherapy and doubt that counseling would specifically benefit them.
These popular concerns contribute to the governmental statistic that at any given time more than 50 million American adults suffer alone from a mental or addictive disorder and that less than one-third of them gets professional help.
This is regrettable. In the November, 1995, issue of Consumer Reports, the results of the largest survey of its kind found that for the vast majority of the 4,000 study participants, therapy resulted in a significant improvement in their ability to function and resolve problems and in their subjective sense of well being. More than 54 percent reported that psychotherapy “made things a lot better.” Irrespective of whether participants had begun psychotherapy feeling “fairly poor” or “very poor,” almost everyone got some relief from the problems that brought them to a therapist.
Psychotherapy is a process of self-exploration and discovery that usually happens by way of dialogue between two people. The therapist and client come together to learn more about the client’s presenting problems and to mobilize his or her abilities to respond to situations in constructive ways.
Skilled counselors are trained to ask discerning questions to help clients clarify their feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Often through this process, clients make connections between seemingly unrelated elements of their lives and discover their own answers to perplexing life questions.
Harold D. Duncan, Ph.D.
12700 Preston Rd. Suite 150
Dallas, TX 75230