August 5, 2016

Opting for psychotherapy with a hope to improve one’s mental and social well being is a brave step to take, especially with the stigma around it existing in the society. More often than not, people undergoing severe mental trauma such as depression, suicidal tendencies are reluctant to go ahead and ask for help, afraid that they’ll be ridiculed.

Various misconceptions and little education about mental health causes the majority of us to view mental illnesses as something unnatural, and people afflicted with it to be afraid of. Once you have gone ahead and defeated those voices to employ the services of a therapist, it’s a whole new ball game from that point onwards. You are expected to share all the feelings and emotions which you have carefully kept hidden from the whole world, and sometimes, refused to accept even yourself. That requires a fair amount of clarity and trust, both in the person who is helping you and the way this help will be shelled out.

So before you begin answering the questions which will be posed to you, do not hesitate to ask these ones to your therapist:

1. How is therapy different from a conventional medicinal approach?

We associate medicine as an integral part of any form of treatment, after identifying an “illness” we are afflicted with. However, therapy works on a whole new tangent altogether. It may or may not be accompanied by a medical prescription, but an integral part of it relies on you communicating with your therapist. If you have any doubts about the procedure followed, do not hesitate to talk to your therapist about it.

2. How and what you are going through gets created, and how can you be helped?

Just like knowing that you have cancer is not enough, and you need to identify where it originated from in order to get rid of it, similarly, you’ll need your therapist to identify exactly what triggered whatever you are going through, and the approach to curb and then, fix the damage done.

3. What is the investment required from your end? Both financially and time-wise.

Therapy is a slow process, and doesn’t have a definitive time period in which it guarantees results. It may go on for weeks, months or even years. Also, cost per session varies from therapist to therapist. Do your research well.

4. How should you contribute to get the best results?

Remember that your therapist isn’t your fairy godmother who will magically wave away all your problems. More like the swimming instructor. She will guide you, but you should be willing to follow her instructions.

5. What are the lifestyle changes you can incorporated?

Therapy doesn’t happen inside the closed walls of your doctor’s office. It is a continuous process, and involves you taking active steps to change the facets of your existing life which cause distress and harm.

6. What kind of behavioural changes are supportive to the change that you are looking for?

Not just changes in your lifestyle, but the way you behave to certain things need to be worked on consciously in order to achieve better results.

7. How long lasting will the effects be?

Relapsing to your old harmful habits happens more than often. Talk to your therapist about the extent to which your therapy will stop you from reverting back to your old ways. And in case you do, how do you find the right path again.