The information below is for informational purposes only, and it does not substitute for obtaining professional services.
Active treatment may start as early as the first session, although it usually starts after the evaluation. Treatment sessions often take the following form. I ask you how you have been doing since the last time, and I ask what goals you wish to work on. You might choose to focus on a recent or past event that is linked to your difficulties. I may then ask questions about what happened and what you thought and felt, and I may offer my feedback. This may involve focusing on key thoughts or feelings, challenging your way of thinking, coming up with new skills to try out in real life, or understanding and changing relationship patterns. Not all sessions will follow the same format, as it will depend on your current needs. You may stick to your original goals, you may change your goals, or new goals may emerge. We will review the treatment goals periodically to make sure that we are on the same page.
Treatment may last a few sessions for mild problems, a few months for moderate problems, or a couple of years for more serious problems. Long-lasting changes to personality or serious relationship problems may require more than a year of treatment. Chronic mental illness may require longer treatment; in many such cases, clients are often able to eventually reduce the frequency of sessions.
An important part of treatment is ending. When to end treatment is almost always the client's decision. I may bring up the question of whether ending has been on your mind or whether it may be time to end. Preparing for ending may involve reviewing what treatment goals were accomplished and what goals may remain. It may involve learning how to prevent old problems from happening again in the future, and it may involve focusing on positive personal growth. It is important to prepare for ending, so that it is a positive experience for you.
If you are curious about the scientific background of psychotherapy and new discoveries and unanswered questions in this area, you may find it interesting to explore scholarly resources by the Association for Psychological Science.
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