Before embarking on psychotherapy, most people want to know what to expect and how to go about achieving the best kind of help. A lot of people seek help, and may even go so far as to call a psychologist, but once you starting meeting with someone on a regular basis, what then? Is psychotherapy generally a good idea? The basic answer is a resounding “yes!” On average, approximately 80% of folks who enter treatment will walk away feeling as they have achieved some real change. In this day and age, that percentage is actually pretty good! However, in order to achieve that high percentage, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind. First, finding a psychologist with whom you feel safe and connected is paramount. In fact, research seems to show that this is one of the MOST important variables for good treatment outcomes. Secondly, be aware of the “15 session blues,” a term I affectionately tell my patients to expect at around the 12th to 15th session. Again, research seems to show that a lot of folks are tempted to stop treatment at this point, and it is usually because difficult emotional things are beginning to surface. But…think about it. Most of the things that prompted you to begin therapy took many years to form. Doesn’t it make sense that it’s going to take some time for all that to unravel?
Did you know that no one is exempt from the experience of depression? Would it be surprising to know that some well known individuals have suffered from depression? Take, for instance, Bruce Springsteen. Even with his career taking off, in 1982, Springsteen remained haunted by his past, which included growing up with a depressive and self-isolating father. Bruce’s own symptoms of depression surfaced just as he was completing the acoustic album “Nebraska,” recounts the musician’s friend and biographer Dave Marsh. But what was shocking was how severe Springsteen’s depression became, reaching the point of spiraling out of control during a cross-country trip. He was even feeling suicidal. But here’s what’s interesting, he began seeing a psychotherapist. He credits receiving treatment with finally healing his past wounds. At a concert years later, when Springsteen introduced his song “My Father’s House” he recalled what the therapist had told him about those nighttime trips: “He said, ‘What you’re doing is that something bad happened, and you’re going back, thinking that you can make it right again. Something went wrong, and you keep going back to see if you can fix it or somehow make it right.’ And I sat there and I said, ‘That is what I’m doing.’ And he said, ‘Well, you can’t.’ ”