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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Psychotherapy?
What is Counseling?
How Do I Know If I Need Help?
How Do I Know If I Could Benefit From Therapy?
What Can I Expect From Therapy?
Does Therapy Mean Laying Down on a Sofa?
What Does Therapy Usually Look Like?
How much does therapy cost?
What Does Psychological Evaluation Do?
 

WHAT IS PSYCHOTHERAPY?

Psychotherapy usually refers to a broad range of treatments that have in common the use of psychological means to treat mental suffering and pain. In this respect, psychotherapy differs from medication.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, refers to such types of pain and suffering as mental disorders. Cited from the manual, "In DSM IV, each of the mental disorders is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (e.g., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom."
The broad range of psychotherapeutic treatments available today varies on form (i.e., Personal/Marital, group, or Children/Family settings), techniques (relaxation, drama, bilateral brain stimulation, flooding, etc.), or underlying theoretical conceptualization (psychoanalytical, Gestalt, behaviorism, cognitive science, client centered, and more). The quality and success (or failure) of a treatment also depends greatly on the qualities of the therapist as a person, and on a successful match of qualities in both therapist and client.
It is often highly beneficial to combine more than one psychotherapeutic treatment into a treatment program that may also include medication.
Psychotherapy is a profession, and as such requires from those who conduct it a long and complex training, adherence to an ethical code, and a membership in some organization of professionals where their abilities, successes, and failures can be monitored.

WHAT IS COUNSELING?
Counseling is a term that sometimes overlaps with psychotherapy. However, we tend to agree with the majority of professionals that counseling should be referred to as something other than psychotherapy, as follows:
> It is a type of troubleshooting. A client has a problem and the counselor, in person or over the phone, provides consultation, a listening ear, and sometimes some advise.
> Debriefing may be another way to describe what counseling does. It is actually about giving the client an opportunity to be listened to. It is very often used during, and mainly after, crises, often as a stage that precedes, or leads to, psychotherapy.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED HELP?
The following issues are considered, even in a very mild form, which may indicate that an external professional person could help to resolve them. External intervention does not necessarily mean an in depth therapy: sometimes a consultation would be sufficient. If you present with one or more of the issues listed below, you may want to consider visiting your general practitioner. That is, to become more knowledgeable about the way medical issues may play a role in your distress. Also, we recommend you contact a mental health professional.
If harmony in your family or in your relationship has been disturbed (even one that is over).
If you have difficulty feeling joy and contentment for a long period of time.
If you are constantly tired or have problems falling asleep (partly due to medical issues, work related, or jet lag).
If you feel you have a low or bad mood for some time.
If you feel helpless or hopeless for a period of time, or if you feel bad about yourself; hate, blame, or despise yourself; feel that you "want to put an end to all this".
If you often feel anger, or people tell you that you are often angry.
If you feel like you are losing control (shouting, or being pre-occupied with what other people say or do or may be doing; or if people accuse you of assuming too much control.
If you are often conducting a certain behavior that is not work related or otherwise objectively necessary. Such behaviors may be related to cleaning or eating, or if you are thinking very often about one particular thing, like eating, or the way you look as an examples.
If people tell you that you have a drinking problem or if you feel that you sometimes drink alcohol to get rid of a problem. The same is true of other chemical substances.
If you feel that sometimes you have a problem concentrating, keeping track of your thoughts, or be productive, for a period of time.
If you often feel internal tension, either psychological (e.g., being on-guard, alert, or fearful/anxious) or in your body (muscle tension, headache, butterflies in the stomach, difficulties breathing, tension in your chest, for example), and the tension is not (only) due to a well-defined issue such as heart disease.
If you sometimes feel as if you are going mad; if you feel an extreme fear related to a particular event or issue (even if there is a real danger involved).
If you went through a traumatic or dramatic event (even a minor one).
If the word "failure" or a sense of regret, seems to appear too often in your life or thoughts.
If you or someone very close to you behaves in a way that simply feels weird.
If you sometimes feel that your thoughts are running "fantastically" and you feel exhausted but still your thoughts continue to run. (This is NOT to say: if you are intelligent, then you need help. Think about the exhaustion.)

HOW DO I KNOW IF I COULD BENEFIT FROM THERAPY?
Most people can benefit from therapy, provided that they suffer from one or more of the issues mentioned above (see How Do I Know if I Need Help). A more useful question to ask is, therefore, how do I know if the therapy will be conducted in a way that would help me? To answer this, you may find it beneficial to talk to the potential therapist, or even meet them in person. Look into What Does Therapy Usually Look Like and compare it with what you hear. If the approach to your problem feels serious, and if you feel that the therapist is professional and empathic, then you have good reason to expect to benefit from therapy.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THERAPY?
A well-conducted psychotherapy very often has two kinds of positive outputs. One is, the reason for your initial visit has been resolved, e.g., painful symptoms have substantially declined or diminished. The other output is related to growth. A successful treatment has a huge potential to install hope, to feel better about yourself and the world, and to put past issues into the right perspective.

DOES THERAPY MEAN LAYING DOWN ON A SOFA?
No it does not. Lying on the sofa is part of the psychoanalytic legend. In most of the psychotherapeutic (and psychoanalytical) treatments currently in use, the therapy settings consist of chairs (two or more), with some exceptions such as drama therapy or relaxation techniques.

WHAT DOES THERAPY USUALLY LOOK LIKE?
Most treatments have some common elements regarding their structure regarding time. We can often see three or more phases:
Phase I: Initial contact. At this stage you may be already aware of some need to receive professional help. You contact a therapist and agree on the date and time for an initial session. It is recommended you liaise with the potential therapist about a couple of things prior to the session. For instance, get a feeling about their background and their expertise, provide them with some information about your problem, and learn about the structure of treatment and about fees.
Phase II: This phase usually takes place at the therapist's office and lasts one or more sessions. The aim is to become knowledgeable about your problem and to make a treatment plan. You and the therapist may agree to refer you to another professional based on the specific issues and on the therapist's expertise. Respectively, you may agree on a combined treatment with another professional. At this stage you may already have heard about the kind of psychotherapy the therapist may offer, and now feel well informed. It could often be helpful to find out whether the treatment on offer is evidence-based, which would greatly increase the chances of success. Ask your therapist for some information about evidence-based treatments.
Phase III: From the second/third session or so you enter treatment, it is sometimes structured, perhaps one hour or twice-weekly, for a period of anything between five to fifty weeks.
(Phase IV): The last phase or phases are usually less intensive (e.g., biweekly or monthly sessions) and are aimed to prevent the initial problems returning, and to permit follow up.
Sometimes there is a need, several months or years after the end of the therapy, to enter a new treatment. The reasons may vary, and it is good to be aware if this happens, it does not mean it is your fault.
The psychiatric treatment often overlaps with the psychological one. For any psychiatry issue, you would be referred to a colleague.
Standard course of psychiatric therapy:
Initial meeting is devoted to a comprehensive psychiatric assessment, which usually lasts at least 1,5 hour. Detailed personal history is taken and current and past mental illness issues are explored. A diagnosis is established and discussed with the client. Then, a treatment plan is offered. If applicable, appropriate medication is prescribed and its function, its possible side effects and their management are discussed. Range of alternative and non-pharmacological therapies are also discussed and referrals to appropriate therapists offered.
Follow-up meetings usually last up to one hour and their length gradually shortens, depending on the improvement of symptoms, ending with 15 minutes every 4 to 8 weeks, for short medication checks. With regard to the nature of the given problem the treatment plan is based on medication, or psychotherapy, or some combination of both. Progress of therapy is continually discussed so that treatment can be flexibly adjusted.

HOW MUCH DOES THERAPY COST?
The standard fee at Behar Center for a 50-minute session is CZK 1200.

WHAT DOES PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION DO?

Psychological evaluation refers to the work involved in gaining information about the client's behavior, mental and emotional state, personality, cognition, interpersonal qualities, and current stress areas and psychosocial situation. The information may further involve client history, family history, history of issues, and client's plans for the future.
By considering to use psychological evaluation, the people involve basically say: It is pretty difficult for one person to really know another person, because psychological information is naturally well concealed, nevertheless this knowledge is crucial for making important decisions about schooling, career, or treatment.


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