Therapy has become increasingly popular in recent decades as the stigma around it lessens and recognition of the importance of mental and emotional health and overall well-being heightens. Individual therapy, notably, has quickly risen through the ranks as more and more people of all ages choose to take advantage of this practice.
Still many people are unsure about what exactly individual therapy is, what the actual benefits of it are, and if it will even work for them personally. Those are the things we’re going to cover here in this article to help you figure what kind of therapy is best for you if you haven’t started, as well as how to get the most of your sessions if you already have.
So what is individual therapy?
Individual therapy is a form of psychotherapy where a therapist helps a single person work through a variety of problems they’re wanting to address.
These struggles could be related to work, relationships, mental health — or mental illness — or any other emotional or social difficulties someone is facing. Individual therapy gives you the opportunity to openly and privately talk about your life without fear of judgment or criticism.
Therapy provides you with a safe environment, a comfortable private setting, to simply be yourself and receive counseling on a variety of different important issues. Depending on what you hope to accomplish in your sessions, you can choose either short- or long-term therapy.
Short-term versus long-term therapy
Short-term therapy, typically 3-to-5 months, can be great for those who are wanting to focus on resolving specific challenges that are actively causing them problems in the present. Short-term therapy is also the ideal choice for those who are very goal-oriented and want assistance and guidance along the way as they work on accomplishing their goals.
Long-term therapy — this often includes multiple sessions per week and can last anywhere from six months to multiple years — is ideal for those who want to delve more deeply into the complex issues in their life. Perhaps there is an addiction, mental disorder or seemingly crippling life change you’re struggling with and you need professional help to work through it.
Short- and long-term therapy are not limited to the types of people described above. Anyone can choose to go into therapy, for any reason they have, and for any amount of time you desire, simply because they like the support, the guidance, the safe environment. It’s up to you.
Benefits of individual therapy
There are countless benefits to going to individual therapy, and depending on the reasons and how long you’ve chosen to go, you’ll experience benefits that are unique to your own encounters and journey.
Some of the most intriguing benefits of going to individual therapy might include:
- Gain a confident, compassionate perspective on yourself and your life
- Better understanding the people around you, even if they don’t understand themselves
- Improving communication skills and learning to resolve conflict
- Releasing toxic coping mechanisms and developing healthy ones
- Some of your physical symptoms might get treated as well, as your mental and emotional state is often reflected in your physical health
One of the greatest benefits of therapy is that its effects are going to last long after you stop going to therapy. Therapy is not only about expressing yourself and working through problems, it’s about learning to develop the tools to face and work through other problems in the future.
How to get the most out of therapy
Therapy is challenging, even blatantly uncomfortable at times, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a chance or give up if you already have.
We’re going to teach you the four best practices to help you get the most out of therapy.
1. Commit to being honest
Therapy only works if you’re honest with yourself and the therapist sitting across from you. Be willing to communicate openly and honestly with your therapist, even with the topics that are uncomfortable.
2. Be open to feedback
A good therapist doesn’t tell you what to do, they’ll help you figure out what you truly want to do. Going to therapy has the ability to potentially radically improve your life — if you’re open to listening and applying what your therapist says.
3. Be gentle with yourself in between sessions
Therapy can bring up a lot of unresolved wounds and you might find yourself wanting to brood when you get home, but that will only amplify any negative feelings you have. Take care of yourself, be patient with your healing and practice self-compassion on your rough days.
4. Take your lessons with you
You’re going to learn a lot in therapy, about yourself, the people around you, and the world you live in, but knowing doesn’t mean much if you don’t transform that knowledge into actions. If you’re worried about forgetting things, you can take a notepad with you to write down the most memorable moments and eye-opening lessons.
Reach out for additional support
If you aren’t sure where to go from here, or the thought of starting therapy overwhelms you, you aren’t alone. Our team here at The Light Program are trained specifically to help people exactly like you find the programs — and therapists — that will best support you in your life.
Give us a call today at 610-644-6464 and we’ll help you from there.