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Finding a Therapist Who Can Help You Heal After a Mental Trauma

Finding a Therapist Who Can Help You Heal After a Mental Trauma

First of all, every patient should ask themselves:

– What do I want from the therapy?

– Am I looking for a biographical approach to my problem?

– Or do I prefer an approach that allows my symptoms to be controlled without coming to terms with the past?

If you answer yes to the second question, then you should decide on a psychodynamic or depth psychological therapist. If you answer yes to the third question, then you should see a behavioural therapist.

Read on for further questions you should ask yourself to learn which therapists would suit you the most.

As a Patient, How Can I Know Which Approach Makes More Sense for Me?

Many of those affected can answer this intuitively. Because they know what suits them better. Because they have a feeling about what has happened in their life.

Significance for depression or burnout. Anyone who has been depressed for a long time – perhaps lost a parent early on and experiences how the depression worsens after their own divorce – probably suspects that it makes sense to work through their biography. On the other hand, there are people who are overburdened professionally but have not had any drastic biographical experiences. Then a behavioural therapy approach is more promising. When I first meet a therapist, how do I know if they’re right for me? With every therapy, there is an introductory phase, the probatory phase, in which you meet three to five times. This serves to take stock of the illness – but above all to find out whether you are a good match.

What Exactly Can a Patient Check?

Especially the mutual sympathy. Most patients quickly sense whether they are sitting across from a therapist with whom they would like to spend many hours.

Is That Really So Important for the Success of Therapy?

Therapy research has shown that the interpersonal level is crucial, the single most important factor. This also includes a common language: whether what I tell a therapist is understood and understood in my sense. Whether I, as a patient, get appropriate answers that I can understand.

The Experience of a Therapist or Their Special Approach is not That Important?

It may sound amazing in layman’s terms, but the most important thing is the personal level. And whether the therapist undergoes regular supervision – i.e. advice and control by experienced colleagues: The therapist presents his specific cases and his treatment approach and discusses this with his colleagues. As a patient, you benefit greatly from it. So should one entrust oneself to an experienced therapist undergoing supervision? Even very young psychologists in training – who have supervision – work as successfully as experienced colleagues. But the older ones sometimes get there faster.

Which Therapist is Right for Me?

Various professional groups are responsible for the treatment of mental illness. A distinction is made above all between psychological psychotherapists and medical psychotherapists.

– Psychological psychotherapists offer by far the most therapies. You have studied psychology, but have no academic training in medicine. After graduation, they must complete at least three years of psychotherapeutic training at a university or a state-recognized institute. With the final examination, they receive authorization to practice psychotherapy on their own responsibility, but only according to the procedure that was part of their training. More than half of them work in behavioural therapy. Psychological psychotherapists are not allowed to prescribe or use medication. They either work in private practice or at clinics. There is training specifically for the treatment of minors as a child and adolescent psychotherapists, the prerequisite for this is a degree in psychology.

– Medical psychotherapists have studied medicine and completed specialist training that entitles them to practice psychotherapy, or they have acquired a corresponding additional qualification; as doctors, they are allowed to prescribe medicines. There are several groups:

– Specialists in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy have completed further training in psychotherapy after their studies, which includes at least 1500 hours of treatment and supervision. In the past, they often preferred psychoanalytic procedures. Nowadays, many also work with methods of behavioural therapy. Like psychological psychotherapists, they mainly look after those affected by depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders, but also patients with psychoses. Most treat in their own practice, a minority in clinics.

– Specialists in psychiatry and psychotherapy have completed further training in psychotherapy, which at 240 hours of treatment is significantly shorter than that of specialists in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy. But they have extensive skills in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Their work is wide-ranging so they usually have a large number of patients and hold consultation hours like a general practitioner. They are responsible for both emergencies and long-term psychotherapeutic support for the chronically ill. There is special training to become a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy for the treatment of minors.

– Physicians with an additional title such as “Psychotherapy”, “Psychoanalysis” or “Psychotherapy subject-related” are resident specialists who have acquired additional qualifications in a psychotherapeutic process, but they have to prove that they have had comparatively few hours of treatment. Their task is to recognize the interaction of psychological factors with physical illnesses in their field and to include them in the treatment. Among the doctors with such additional qualifications are general practitioners, but also orthopaedists, gynecologists, cardiologists and other specialists.

– Specialist neurologists have psychiatric knowledge and experience, but their domain is physical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, paralysis and dementia. They are only admitted to psychotherapy if they have completed a corresponding additional training course.

– Specialists in neurology. The fields of neurology and psychiatry used to be combined under this term. The title is no longer awarded today, but many resident doctors continue to practice under this designation. They also need an additional qualification in order to be able to practice psychotherapy.

Does Gender Matter? Can Men Treat Men Better and Women treat Women Better?

In principle, male and female therapists do not differ in their effectiveness. But depending on the gender correlation, different processes can take place in therapy. Because every patient has had experiences that make it easier or more difficult for him to deal with women or men.

In What Way?

For example, if a woman’s depression is the result of sexual assault, a male therapist must be prepared to face a great deal of anger and frustration. In a way, he represents the perpetrator. But whether therapy is ultimately helpful does not depend on whether the therapist is male or female.

Does a Good Therapist Have Success with All Patients?

Not necessarily, one may not get along so well with older patients, the other not so well with younger ones. However, a large age difference is not bad per se. However, it should be addressed what it can mean when a treating person is, for example, 30 years older than the patient: Both of them may have a very different view of life, which makes it difficult for them to find a common language – or can the greater life experience of the therapists be very helpful?

What are Serious Warning Signs for Patients in the Initial Sessions That May not Suit Them Personally?

As a patient, I have to ask myself above all: How do I feel when I leave the talks? Do I possibly have the impression that the therapist does not understand my concerns, or do I even dislike them? These would not be good conditions for treatment.

Even if I don’t feel any empathy or little respect, my counterpart doesn’t respond to questions or is constantly distracted, these are not encouraging signs. Anyone who does not get a good connection with their therapist in the first sessions should better look for another. If problems arise later, you should first look for causes and solutions together.

To Sum Up

Trying to find a psychologist that will really help you is an extremely difficult and personal task. Nonetheless, with our advice, you’ll be easily able to find the right professional for yourself.

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