Dr. Eileen Callahan, Ph.D.: Therapy 101

Why Therapy?

People come to therapy for many different reasons. There is definitely a misconception in much of our society that therapy is only for people with serious mental illness. This is far from true. It is accurate, that therapy can help people who suffer with mental illness. However, the majority of people who seek psychotherapy do not suffer from mental illness, but are struggling with every-day life difficulties or want to make changes to enhance the quality of their life. People come to therapy to cope with a loss or adjust to a transition in life. They come to therapy to improve their performance at work or their relationship with a family member. The reasons people seek psychotherapy are as varied and unique as the people themselves. One thing they all have in common, however, is the desire for change that will increase their happiness and effectiveness in life. 

Children also come to therapy for a variety of reasons. Children may need help with learning how to manage and express their feelings in a healthy way. They may need help with learning how to get along with peers or how to control their behavior in the classroom setting. Children also need help to cope with loss and life changes as well at times. Parents may worry that therapy will be an aversive experience for children or will cause the child to feel stigmatized. This is rarely the case. Children usually enjoy going to therapy and have fun while they are there, particularly when the therapist is experienced in working with children.

All can benefit from learning more about ourselves, learning new effective strategies to cope with life’s difficulties, and from having the unbiased support of another person. The more insight we have into ourselves, our behavior, and emotions, the more choices we have. Having choice gives us the power to make changes that we want in our lives. Changes can result in greater happiness and inner peace. This is what therapy can do.

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