Individual therapy refers to psychotherapy conducted with an adult (person 18 years and older) and is often also called talk therapy, counselling or psychosocial therapy. People seek psychotherapy either out of their own, when a referral to a psychologist is made from another health care practitioner (e.g. doctor) or when the person’s family or friends urge them to seek out the assistance of a psychologist.
Individual therapy are often considered when a person needs help with emotional or behavioural issues they might have difficulty understanding or changing on their own. When a certain difficulty creates emotional distress or interferes with daily functioning like, family, social and occupational functioning, seeking the input of a psychologist can be of great benefit. Emotional distress refers to psychological stress that is a result of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that blocks the individual from functioning as the best version of themselves and that can even be biologically expressed as physical ailments like fatigue and pain
It is important to identify symptoms early on. It may be optimal to seek therapy if you often feel unhappy, irritated, overwhelmed, sad and hopeless about difficulties facing you in life.
Common goals in individual therapy can be to overcome obstacles to the one’s well-being, inspire change to deal with the demands of the environment more effectively and improve quality of life. Psychotherapy can assist the individual to learn skills in handling difficult interpersonal situations, make healthy decisions in his/ her best interest and reach to reach his/ her full potential. It can also help if the individual struggles to focus on work or in school, experiences substance dependency, feels like hurting oneself or someone else, has debilitating anxiety, food and eating issues, uncontrolled anger, relationship or marriage challenges, family issues, sleeping problems, sexual and sexuality challenges (to name a few). Many find through the therapeutic journey more self-awareness and greater understanding of themselves and others.
Individual psychotherapy is a collaboration between the client and the therapist and it is therefore important that the client feels comfortable and safe in the therapeutic relationship. The client can decide if the therapist’s style is a good fit for their needs and this should be considered vital to the success of therapy.
During the first session of therapy, the presenting difficulty of the client is relayed in order for the therapist to form a picture of the client and their functioning in their environment. Relevant information about the client physical, mental, and emotional health, currently and previously, is also noted. It is important to talk about the type of therapy the therapist utilize for the difficulty/-ies indicated, therapeutic goals, session length and the number of sessions suggested to address the difficulty/-ies presented. Concerns about the therapeutic process can also be addressed.
Individual psychotherapy sessions may stir up intense emotions. It is possible to become upset, angry or sad during the course of the sessions depending on the nature of the emotional work that is being done. Psychologists are trained in working with emotions and does so ethically and professionally to the best interest of the client.
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