You are seriously thinking about going to therapy, you have things that you want to process, you want to attend to your mental health or your relationships. Awesome! We love hearing this.
It can be overwhelming to know who to go to. How do you choose? What should their qualifications be? What do these letters behind their name mean?
Let us demystify the process for you!
- What are the letters behind their names? There are different paths to becoming a therapist. A therapist can be a medical doctor, a PHD or a master’s level clinician.
- A Psychiatrist is an M.D. (medical doctor). A psychiatrist can prescribe medication and they can also do therapy. If you are considering psychotropic medication to manage your symptoms, a psychiatrist is who you should go to for a consultation.
- A psychologist is a PHD or a PSY.D. A psychologist can provide psychotherapy and psychological testing.
- An LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker. They have a master’s degree in social work and advanced training in psychotherapy.
- An LPC is a licensed practical counselor. They have a master’s degree in counseling and advanced training in psychotherapy.
If you are unsure of who you want to work with, give them each a call and do a ten-minute phone consultation. A phone consult allows you to get a feel for your therapist and their style.
2. What are common modalities?
A modality basically means a technique. Just as a physical therapist uses different techniques to treat someone, such as ice, heat, ultrasound, etc. A mental health therapist also has different therapy modalities or techniques that they can use depending on what each client is needing.
Below are some common Therapy Modalities
CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves challenging our negative or irrational thoughts and replacing them. There are strict CBT therapists and also therapists who use some CBT techniques in their practice. CBT can be used to treat anxiety, depression, addiction, OCD, and other conditions. An example of a common CBT technique is reframing. Reframing is when we take a negative thought, and we intentionally reframe that thought by looking at things in a new way.
Example: I am not good at this. Reframe: I am new at this. I am learning a new skill. It takes time to learn new skills.
Humanistic therapy focuses on the therapist being authentic, open and genuine. A therapist who uses a humanistic approach will focus on the uniqueness of each individual. The focus in on growth rather that symptoms or diagnosis.
Eclectic As you are searching for a therapist, you may find that some therapists list themselves as eclectic. This just means that they use a blend of several different approaches depending on what their clients need.
Psychodynamic approaches include examining the past in order to understand our present feelings or relationship patterns. The basis of this perspective is to understand the unconscious part of our minds. Psychodynamic approach can be used to treat anxiety or depression. All therapists learn the basics of psychodynamic perspective, and many apply it when needed with their clients. An example of psychodynamic perspective is when a current behavior is connected to a childhood trauma.
EMDR or Eye Movement Desentization and reprocessing therapy is used to help individuals to heal from trauma. During EMDR you focus on back-and-forth eye movements or sound while to reprocess an upsetting memory. This helps you to shift the way that you experience the memory.
Dialectial Behavioral Therapy or DBT is an evidence-based therapy that is used to help people who struggle with regulating emotions. When using DBT techniques you will focus on understanding how thoughts affect your emotions. DBT helps people to accept what is happening in their lives, as well as changing unhelpful behaviors, such as self-harm behaviors.
Gottman Couples Therapy Gottman Couples therapy was created by doctors John and Julie Gottman. It is based on 40 years of research on thousands of couples. This approach includes a thorough assessment of a couple’s relationship. The goals of the Gottman method is to disarm conflict, increase intimacy, build friendship, and increase understanding and empathy. Gottman method focuses on teaching couples’ new skills, as well as new ways of thinking about their partners.
Emotionally focused Couples therapy or EFT is attachment based. EFT focuses on helping couples to create a more secure attachment. It is used to improve attachment and bonding. It was developed by doctors Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg. There is a clear system consisting of 9 steps across 3 different stages: De-escalation, Restructuring, and consolidation. EFT can help with conflict, distress and communication.
Choose a Therapist that you feel connected to
Research shows that the most important part of choosing a therapist is the match! It is important to feel safe and comfortable with your therapist. Your connection with your therapist will have an impact on your growth.
Here are some things to ask yourself after you speak to a potential therapist:
Did my therapist listen to me?
Did I feel comfortable opening up to this person?
Have they helped other people who are in my situation?
Are they offering me guidance or new tools?
Does this person seem knowledgeable?
Do I like their approach?
Modern Therapy and Wellness is a Therapy practice offering specialty services to individuals and couples. We have specialists in the areas of grief, addiction, Anxiety, and couple’s therapy. We use the Gottman method with couples. We provide in person and virtual Therapy in Louisiana. Contact us for a free phone consultation at 504-452-1483.