Do I really need a therapist? Can't I just talk to my friends and family?
Your best friends not may tell you this, but they can only listen to your problems for so long until they get bored or overwhelmed. They may tell you what they think you want to hear, trying to make you feel better or maintain your friendship.
Your relationship with your therapist is definitely one-sided. It’s supposed to be. The focus and energy in a therapy session is focused on you, not me. We sit down to explore your life, difficulties, relationships, concerns, fears, thoughts, feelings, and future. A friendship requires a mutual back-and-forth dialogue so that both you and your friend feel equally-heard. You take turns being the focus of attention, and this is what makes it a friendship.
Also, your friend probably does not have a degree in psychology or behavioral health treatment, and even if they do, they don’t want to feel talking with you is like being at work.
Not all mental health treatments are equally effective. Some therapies may work better than others.
Mental health care providers (i.e. psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, counselors) may have different training or philosophies on how to help people feel better. Therapists who provide treatment based on scientific evidence are using what’s called "Evidence-based Practices.”
What are Evidenced Based Practices?
These are treatments that are based directly on scientific evidence. Most have been studied in several large clinical trials, involving thousands of patients and careful comparison with other types of psychological treatments, including medications. Dozens of multi-year studies have shown these treatments can reduce symptoms significantly for many years, even after you’ve completed therapy. The most commonly used evidence-based practices for the treatment of psychological or mood related symptoms involve Cognitive and Behavior Therapies (CBT). While no one can promise that therapy will work, the effectiveness of CBT has been demonstrated for a wide-range of symptoms in adults, adolescents, and children.