Psychotherapy Perspectives

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What are your Psychotherapists Values?

Often time’s people go to therapy because they are in intense emotional pain and need assistance in dealing with this. Very seldom are psychotherapists asked about their “world view” and their values, even though this will impact the therapy process. Psychotherapists are people and have biases. The way traditional therapy is set up is with an ‘expert” who has an unequal power relationship with the client. Therapists who are aware of this power relationship can hold their bias in check or continue to work on it. A good therapist will be up front with their biases and ask the client for consultation.

Psychotherapists have a world view. Do they (psychotherapists) see clients as enriching their lives? Does the psychotherapist believe their clients are experts in knowing themselves and what they need? Does the psychotherapist ask the client mid point during the session if they are going in the correct direction of the therapeutic process? Does the psychotherapist see the client as having problems that are external from the person or do they believe that the client “owns their problem”? What does the therapist believe their role in psychotherapy is? What are the psychotherapist’s views on people who are marginalized by normative society? Does the therapist actively try to correct social injustice with marginalized people---how do they respond in the therapy room?

Clients need to interview their therapists to learn more and of course to see if their views are compatible. Therapy sessions work more effectively when open mutuality exists. This allows the therapist and client to acknowledge their human vulneralabilities, make mistakes and those errors can be understood and repaired. This allows the curiosity and exploration of the therapeutic relationship to become more freely shared in a trusting manner.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Diabetes + Dementia = Psychotherapy!

New studies presented at the six day Alzheimer Conference in Madrid yesterday indicate that Type 2 diabetes may increase chances of the onset of dementia. Type 2 diabetes is a type of diabetes that often affects obese adults and the elderly late in life. The studies indicate that that the number of people designated with diabetes have twice the rate of dementia or Alzheimer’s then a group of people of the same sex and age with normal blood sugar. One study of borderline diabetics indicated that 70% of the study is more likely to develop Alzheimer’s then those with normal blood sugar. If you want more information browse www. Neurology.org for the research and also Alzheimer.org.uk for more information on the research.

The flip side of this news is that if a person is a borderline diabetic, diet and lifestyle can not only prevent diabetes but perhaps help lessen the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.
This is a major challenge because diabetes type 2 is a ‘lifestyle disease” and it is common knowledge how people do not like to radically change their lifestyle. However exercise and proper dieting can prevent diabetes type 2 and lessen the chances of Alzheimer’s and or dementia.

Psychotherapy can play a part in helping the ‘borderline diabetic” stay on a path of a lifestyle that promotes a good balanced diet and exercise. It is known that psychotherapy can help people suffering from depression. Any major life style shift can lead to situational depression and it is important that families obtain support for each other and a psychotherapist to help the family making this shift. When one person makes a change, this affects the entire family, i.e., spouse, adult children and even extended family. Changing lifestyles including exercise and diet may mean changing 40-60 years of non helpful old habits. Old habits “die hard’ and the family must be understanding of the natural resistance to change Providing family, couple and individual therapy can aid in this process since families want their “dad or mom” to have a quality life. Psychotherapy can aid in this transition from “bad habits” to a quality life.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How do you choose a good psychotherapist?

Often people ask me “how do I know if I have a good psychotherapist”? Of course there are no “right” answers, just opinions. We know that anti-depressants do not work as well unless accompanied with psychotherapy, we know that a psychotherapist can help a person with depression, anxiety, relationship problems, to name a few. So, how do you find the right psychotherapist for yourself? Probably only you know deep down inside yourself what works when you are in front of the person. There are some obvious "red flags" that should deter you and a place to start:

• When the therapist does more talking than you in successive sessions
• When he or she offers you a quick label or diagnosis
• When you feel he or she is not listening to you
• You get the feeling that the therapist has his/her own agenda and nothing you say seems to be followed in threads of conversation
• When the therapist gives lots of advise in many areas, is a “know it all”.
• When the therapist “name drops a lot” and does not stay focused on you.
• When the therapist gives “cookie cutter answers” to your problems which sounds like it is from a “self help book”.
• When the therapist continually wants you to buy more sessions, sells supplements or other things and does not seem to take “no” for an answer.
• If the therapist goes past your (client) boundaries and wants to be a “friend” or meet for dinner, or talks about themselves rather than you.
• If you confront your therapist on not helping you and he/she becomes defensive and or angry


You may have some stories to share on your experiences with psychotherapy. Let us know!