Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction, to help a person change and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to increase each individual’s well-being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts or emotions, and to improve relationships and social functioning.
What are the limitations of psychotherapy?
LCSWs should not tell you what to do or try to direct your life—relatable to the proverb: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for life.” Therapists will help you learn to solve your own problems, rather than solving them for you.
Some mental health issues cannot be managed by psychotherapy alone. If medication is recommended, it’s probably important.
Benefiting from psychotherapy does require work on your part. Speaking to a therapist for an hour a week, and then pushing it out of your mind, probably won’t do you any good. Complete homework, practice your skills, and legitimately try the recommendations you are given.
Therapists cannot be your friend after starting a therapeutic relationship. LCSWs generally like their clients, and would love to get to know them better, but ethical rules prevent the formation of relationships outside of treatment. Therapists cannot read your mind. If you hide information, or are dishonest, you’re wasting your own time and money.
There are many approaches to psychotherapy, all of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some situations call for a specific type of treatment, but sometimes it’s just about preference.