Is therapy right for me?
Seeking out therapy is an individual choice. There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues, or problems with anxiety or depression. Other times it is in response to unexpected changes in one's life such as a becoming a parent, aging, divorce or work transition. Working in therapy can help provide insight, support, motivation and new strategies for all types of life challenges. Therapy can help address many types of issues including depression, anxiety, conflict, grief, stress management, body-image issues, and general life transitions. Therapy is right for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their life by taking responsibility, creating greater self-awareness, and working towards change in their life.
How can your therapy can also benefit your children and others important to you?
One of the extra benefits of therapy is that one person's therapy can help generation after generation. A parent who learns to deal their issues (anger, intimacy, etc.) will be a healthier model for their children. If your parents had worked in therapy on their issues, you would probably not need as much help as you do today. Working on your issues now may save your children from having to suffer with those issues as you have and perhaps save them some hours in therapy. Not surpisingly, working on yourself will also have benefits for your partner, coworker or friends. One of my patients recently told me their best friend said, "I should send Doug a check because of all the things you share with me that you have learned in therapy with him."
Is medication a substitute for therapy?
I am very conservative about using psychiatric medication. Recently, psychiatric medications are too quickly prescribed. Most of my patients are not on medication but in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action. In those cases, I make a referral to a psychiatrist who will work with me in the patient's treatment. It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative treatment approach.