• Staff Writer

What Happens in Therapy?


Therapy has helped so many people, yet it is still something many people don't quite understand. In 2019, 19.2% of adults received mental health treatment.

Not understanding what happens in therapy adds to the stigma surrounding mental health treatment. When someone doesn't know what to expect from therapy, it may delay or prevent treatment. You can go into it with an idea of what it is, what you'll gain from it, and how to make the most of it.

What Is Therapy?

Therapy has several versions, but talk therapy is the most common. This therapy helps the client recognize harmful emotions or thought patterns and take back control. This work is done with a licensed mental health professional either one-on-one or in a group meeting.

Talk therapy is a great option for those who:

  • Are struggling with long-term stress

  • Have symptoms of anxiety or depression, especially without a medical explanation

  • Have been referred to therapy by another physician

The main reason to undergo this therapy is to alter and improve your level of function. You want to reduce your suffering, and therapy is a proven way to gain that relief.

Other and more specific forms of therapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This looks at a person's thoughts and emotions in relation to their actions. They learn how to change their view to improve their wellness.

  • Mindfulness-based therapy: This is a form of CBT that includes mindfulness. This allows the client to focus on their awareness in the present moment. They learn to practice guided meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): This helps the client enact skills that improve stress management regarding work and relationships. These changes improve a person's bonds and functionality.

Although therapy differs by type, most therapists guide their clients. A therapist doesn't do the work for you but points you in the right direction so you can address your past and move forward in your healing.

As you speak with a therapist, your confidence improves. You become more aware of your emotions and how they affect your life. Often therapy includes crying. You may find yourself just crying without saying anything in some cases, especially in the beginning. The relief of knowing you have a safe space to expel emotions you may have been denying or holding in leads you to emotional release.

The Different Parts of Therapy

In between sessions, your therapist may assign homework. They might ask you to practice the techniques they introduced. This could be writing down your feelings, having conversations, or practicing breathing exercises. As you use these coping methods, you and your therapist will track your progress, improving your confidence.

The length of therapy depends on several factors like:

  • The severity of your situation

  • The length of time you've been struggling

  • Your current state

  • Your progress

  • The costs

  • Your support system

It is important to remember that therapy is not a cure for your problem. In mere weeks, you may see improvement, but other situations require long-term care. If you are stressed or have a mental illness, therapy will not erase that but will help manage it. Therapy allows you to cope with such things healthily.

The Aspects of Therapy

Your therapist's approach is determined by your comfort level, situation, and needs. This is all taken into account when planning your treatment and it will change as you make progress. The most common elements to expect from therapy are:

  • Awareness: A therapist will ask you pointed questions to get you to change your thought process. Your pattern of thinking may be harmful or just not helpful, and a therapist will help you retrain your brain to understand why you think of things a certain way and how to undo it.

  • Social skills: Depending on your struggles, your therapist can help improve your interpersonal skills so you can improve your communication and relationships.

  • Stress management: In therapy, you will learn and practice healthy coping methods. Understanding ways to cope with stress and developing problem-solving strategies boosts your mood and wellness.

  • Mindfulness: Relaxation techniques like meditation, exercise, and breathing practices are incredibly helpful for those dealing with anxiety, and the therapist will help you learn how to use these methods in your life.

What You Get Out of Therapy

Therapy helps you heal from trauma, stress, and harmful thought patterns.

To get the most out of therapy, it is crucial to be intentional and honest. You want to resolve problems, relieve the impact of struggles, and manage stress. To get those benefits of therapy, you need to be just as present as the therapist.

  • Be honest: Lying to your therapist won't get you anywhere. Even if you feel shame or embarrassment, being honest is how you heal. Your therapist will help you face those feelings instead of running from them.

  • Find the right therapist: Finding a therapist isn't as simple as getting a referral and going to appointments. You won't be comfortable with everyone. You need to click with your therapist. It can take a few tries to find the right one, but it is worth the time and effort.

  • Put in the work: Ensure that your therapy is active outside of the sessions. The work you do needs to be done in your everyday life to make an impact.

  • Be active: Being passive and letting your therapist do the talking won't help. Work with your therapist, not under them. This is your life.

  • Share your progress: You don't need to please your therapist. If you tell them it is working when it's not, you're wasting time and money. Let them know if you need to try something different. They can change your treatment plan so that you gain the most of your time and energy.

At California Care Detox & Treatment, we put significant focus on mental health improvement through multiple therapy sources. Our therapists are trained to promote personal growth. We work with you to address your problem areas and provide support and encouragement every step of the way. Our evidence-based methods offer unique care that caters to your specific needs—offering treatment programs for stress and anger management teaches you how to work through negative feelings and overcome the power they have over you. By creating healthy habits, you can improve your functioning and overall wellness. We will also prepare you for therapy by explaining your treatment plan and setting goals with you. Therapy does not need to be a scary unknown. You can be prepared to improve yourself and your life. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at (949) 281-0632.

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