People often want to know, "What is psychotherapy?" Or, "How can talking to someone help? After all, I talk to people all the time and it doesn't help!" Here is a little information about what to expect from the psychotherapeutic experience and how it can help to make a difference in your life.
Please note that Dr. Cox is no longer accepting new clients into his practice.
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly changed how Dr. Cox manages his practice. He is conducting any face-to-face sessions only on Wednesday. Most sessions are being conducted via telehealth, either video chat over a computer (preferred) or by telephone. Although initially skeptical about the benefits of telehealth, the results have been much more than expected. Both patients and Dr. Cox have noted the positive effects of conducting psychotherapy through distance means.
At the beginning of the first meeting, Dr. Cox will summarize the consents and disclosures, giving you a chance to address any questions or concerns that you might have. Please do not hesitate to ask about any questions, even if you happen to think of something after the first meeting.
Much of the first session will be spent helping Dr. Cox gain an understanding of your reasons for seeking help. He typically covers a number of areas during the first session, and you might feel that you have barely scratched the surface. That is normal, because you have barely scratched the surface! You are helping Dr. Cox understand what you have been living with for a long time, often for a lifetime, and it takes a while to cover all of the bases. The evaluation is considered to last several sessions as he gets to know you and understand your issues.
Psychotherapy is unlike the approach typically taken by your physician, where he or she is considered to be the all-knowing expert who has the solution to your problem. Rather, counseling is a collaborative approach to explore important facets of your current situation, your history, your emotional life, and your coping resources. During this process, Dr. Cox depends on you to help keep the work centered and focused on the pertinent issues. Psychotherapy is conjoint work to resolve troublesome emotional conflicts and to develop more effective, satisfying life skills.
Psychotherapy is not easily described in general terms. It is a process of talking about events, issues, conflicts, and feelings in ways that help to lessen pain while freeing energy to live life. What is talked about varies depending on the personalities of the client and the psychologist, as well as the particular problems you are experiencing. There are many different methods that Dr. Cox might use to deal with the problems that you hope to address. Counseling is not like a visit to a medical doctor. Instead, it calls for a very active effort on your part. In order for therapy to be most successful, you will have to work on things talked about both during your sessions and between sessions.
The first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, Dr. Cox will be able to offer some ideas about what the work will include and a treatment plan to follow. You should evaluate this information along with your opinions about whether you feel comfortable working with Dr. Cox. Therapy involves a large commitment of time, energy, and money, so you should be careful about the therapist you select. If you have questions, please discuss them when they arise. If your doubts persist, Dr. Cox will help you set up a meeting with another mental health professional for a second opinion.
A common question concerns the length of psychotherapy - how long will the process take, or how many sessions will we meet? That is a difficult question to answer, because it depends on many factors. Some people deal with specific problems that are of short duration and that resolve in just a few sessions. Others deal with problems that have taken years, or even an entire life time, to develop, and they are not usually going to resolve quickly. As you start the psychotherapeutic process, plan to discuss these issues with Dr. Cox so that you are both on the same therapeutic path.
Psychotherapy can have tremendous benefits, but there are also risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you might experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have many positive benefits. Therapy often leads to significant reductions in feelings of distress, new solutions to specific problems, and better relationships. However, there are no guarantees of what you will experience.