Why do people seek help from a psychotherapist? Psychotherapy helps people in many ways. For some, it is a way to understand themselves better. For others, it helps to find meaning in their lives. Some have a definite problem they want to address (like, “Is my job right for me?”), while others have a specific conflict that appears repeatedly in their lives- for example, “Why do I always end up in fights with the people I’m closest to?” Some may want an objective listener who will always look out for their best interest. A large number of people, however, seek therapy in order to come to terms with self-defeating behavior that they know they must change because it is jeopardizing their health, their future plans, or their relationships with friends and families. They want to make life changes.
The list of self-defeating behaviors is endless. People want to quit smoking or abusing alcohol and other drugs. They want to control their weight, exercise more, be more optimistic, quit procrastinating, stop trying to control other people or letting others control them. They want to stop spending so much money or so much time online- so they seek help from a psychotherapist.
Fortunately, therapy can help people address these problems, but only if the person is ready to make the lifestyle changes required to bring the self-defeating behavior under control. Making life changes is easy for some people. For others, the changes seem enormous and the person goes into relapse repeatedly. Think of the number of smokers you know and the number of times they have tried to quit. Think of the number of friends you know who have tried repeatedly to diet, only to gain all the weight (and more) back within a year.
Change can happen when the person is ready to change. A psychotherapist can help people identify their readiness to change and move toward the stage of taking action to make the changes occur. A major emphasis in therapy is examining why change may be difficult and understanding how to get past the roadblocks that stand in the way of change.
To Be Continued…