Individual therapy, also known as talk therapy, counseling or psychotherapy, is a confidential and therapeutic environment between a therapist and client. This form of therapy is collaborative in nature and focuses on how a client can change and improve their quality of life. Individual therapy helps clients explore their emotional well-being and brings about positive feelings including confidence, empowerment, and self-growth.
Why a client may seek counseling can vary from everyday struggles of life to chronic mental health conditions. Here are some examples of issues treated in therapy:
- Grief and loss
- Alcohol and/or drug use
- Relationship conflicts
- Stress management
- Communication and social skills
- LGBT issues
- Personal growth
It’s beneficial to seek individual counseling when specific issues or mental health conditions begin to cause stress and interfere with daily activities. It’s important to know that stress can come in different forms including problematic thoughts, feelings, behaviors and/or physical symptoms. A licensed therapist is able to help clients identify root causes of the symptoms and educate clients on specific techniques for the unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Many clients report the benefits of individual therapy because of the helpful information received in managing their symptoms, lessening the stress and coping with the challenges.
Individual therapy is provided by a licensed therapist. Licensed clinicians are required to have a minimum of a Master’s Degree and are qualified to provide individual therapy to children, teens, adults and elder adults. Different titles of therapist include licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). Benefits of seeking professional counseling is being able to openly talk in a non-judgmental environment. A therapist is someone that is trust-worthy, compassionate and invested in helping you reach your therapeutic goals.
There are different types of therapeutic and psychological approaches. An individual therapist may use a single treatment approach or combine several different approaches, referred to as eclectic. The treatment modalities used are based on the needs of an individual client. Each client is unique, therefore, each client’s treatment plan is tailored to their individual needs. The therapist approaches a client’s treatment plan based on their presenting issues. Examples of therapeutic modalities are: cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, emotionally focused, dialectical behavior therapy, and psychoanalytic.
A major component of individual therapy is goal setting. Effective therapy involves setting goals at the onset of treatment and reevaluating goals throughout treatment. Setting goals is a collaborative process between the therapist and client. Also, setting goals helps to understand specific changes that the client is motivated to work on and helps to evaluate progress made. Goals are set based on the need for short-term vs long-term therapy. Many concerns are resolved with short-term therapy, generally 6-8 sessions. However, chromic or complex concerns require a long-term commitment to therapy before improvements can be observed.
Individual progress is determined by different factors such as an individual’s desire and motivation to create change and accessible resources. Individual therapy can play an essential role in healing and recovery, however, a client has to first determine if they are willing to put in the work. Many times, a therapist will assign small work to be completed outside of the counseling sessions, to aid in overall change and improvement. Research has proven that therapy results in lessened symptoms of chronic mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. The benefits of therapy continue well after therapy has ended. Many therapy clients report improved conditions of overall well-being.
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