Individual Therapy for Adults
Psychotherapy, or counseling, is the interactive process between the psychologist, clinical social worker or therapist and the patient that is designed to bring about desired changes. People come for therapy when they find that their efforts to resolve their problems have been ineffective. They also come because they are motivated by hope and a desire to live more effectively and contentedly. In a manner of speaking, it is not a person’s problems that bring them to GPA as much as it is their hope and drive for greater well-being.
The psychotherapist helps the patient define the nature of the problem(s) in a such a way that solutions can be generated. In so doing, the patient comes to see that he or she can do something to improve their situation. Strategies that generate improvement and healing can involve identifying thoughts that interfere with problem resolution, generating healthier and more effective thoughts, creating healthier relationships through more effective communication and social skills, identifying and expressing emotions more accurately and effectively, and creating and implementing more effective patterns of behavior.
The specific approach that a psychotherapist takes with any patient is based on the therapist’s knowledge of the clinical research literature regarding effective treatments, adapting the intervention to match the patient’s personality style, expectations and current motivation for change, and establishing a collaborative relationship with the patient. This last element, referred to as the therapeutic alliance, is critical. Stated differently, it is important that the patient feels comfortable and safe with the therapist, believes that the therapist listens to and understands him or her, believes that the therapist’s proposed treatment makes sense to them and feels confident that he or she will be able to work effectively with the therapist to generate desired changes.
Psychotherapy can be focused on dealing with emotional distress related to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, anger management, stress management, attention deficit, learning disorders, traumatic event or substance use disorders- to name some of the most common. Sometimes the focus of clinical attention is on matters associated with life transitions such as grief, divorce, children leaving the home, work challenges or adjustment to retirement. The psychotherapist sometimes has the role of providing supportive listening and counsel, or providing assistance in evaluating options and making decisions about life challenges.
Psychotherapists do not prescribe medication, but providers at GPA are well-informed about medication options for various conditions. Thus, they can help patients evaluate the appropriateness for medication referral and intervention, help evaluate the patient’s response to prescribed medication, and collaborate with the prescribing provider to assure that progress toward the identified goals for treatment is facilitated by the combination of medication and psychotherapy.