Frequently Asked Questions
What is psychotherapy?
When we have a skin condition, we go to a dermatologist. When we have a heart condition, we go to a cardiologist. And so on. When we have emotional difficulties (e.g., depression, anxiety, anger, or addiction), we see a psychotherapist. Psychotherapy involves the exploration of emotional and psychological problems in a safe, caring, and non-judgmental atmosphere. This a unique opportunity to better
understand and improve aspects of your emotional health that are holding you back.
What is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that addresses the
ways in which our unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behavior interact to create psychological problems. So, for example, a key to improving depression is to understand and improve the way in which a person's unhealthy thinking creates and/or sustains his or her depression.
Cognitive-behavioral therapists typically take a more direct approach to guiding the
client toward better emotional health. This is not the same thing as telling the client
what decisions they "should" make or how they "should" feel. Rather, a CBT therapist
shares with the client their observations of the client's emotional problems and assists
the client in developing tools to improve them. To do this, for example, the therapist
might give assignments to complete between sessions to help the client build upon
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is evidence-based, which means there is a tremendous amount of scientific research supporting its effectiveness in treating a variety of psychological problems. Of course, no type of therapy is a "one size fits all" approach to treating every problem. That is why I modify this approach when necessary.
How long will treatment take?
Typically, clients come for therapy once a week, while some attend on a bi-weekly basis. There is no pre-determined length of time for psychotherapy. Some individuals come for a handful of sessions, while others attend therapy for a much longer amount of time. The course of therapy depends on many factors, including the nature of the problems the person wants to address. Of course, there is never any obligation to continue with treatment. The client is always in charge and can stop therapy at any time.
Will I need to take medication?
Firstly, as a clinical psychologist, I do not prescribe psychotropic medication; typically, such medication
is prescribed by a psychiatrist or, sometimes, by a primary care physician. Frequently,
people experiencing psychological difficulties do not need psychotropic medication.
Sometimes, however, a person's emotional difficulties are severe enough that
therapy alone is insufficient. In these cases, medication can be an essential
adjunct to therapy. If, after working with a client, I believe medication would
be helpful, I will broach the subject with him or her. As always, the client is in no
way required to take medication!
Shoval M. Gur-Aryeh, Ph.D.