What is Therapy?

The word “therapy” is short for “psychotherapy” which means to treat mental or emotional problems, as opposed to physical or occupational problems.

What are the different kinds of therapists?  Therapists differ in their training and backgrounds, and that influences their approach to therapy.  My training as a social worker with a master’s degree in social work (MSW), means I see people in a social context rather than just having an issue which is theirs alone.   A psychologist has a doctorate in psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) and will help you understand how your mind works, sometimes by talk therapy and sometimes through psychological tests or psychological training such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  A psychiatrist has been to medical school, has an MD plus advanced training, and will examine your body to see if you need medicines to remedy a chemical imbalance.  A psychopharmacologist is a psychiatrist whose entire specialty is prescribing medications for patients.  Drug and alcohol counselors are people specially trained in the arena of addictions to help people overcome this challenge.

Most practitioners employ many of the different approaches from various fields to help their clients although only psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and psychopharmacologists can prescribe medicines.

Who goes to therapy?  People do their best every day to figure out how to navigate through Life, but sometimes the ways we cope stop working, or we need a different point of view, or we just run out of tools or options or folks who are willing to listen to us.  And then there are those things we don’t want other people to know about us.  The byline I use for the Ashby Center for Counseling is “Sometimes you just need an objective, professional person to talk to”.

Future articles will present some common reasons why people go for help: depression, anxiety, substance dependence and abuse, marital and relationship problems, grief, medications, stress reduction, isolation in the rural landscape, aging, and pet loss.