FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is a process by which a broad range of psychological problems and emotional distress can be treated. In psychotherapy, a trained mental health professional works with an individual, couple, or family to apply evidence-based techniques and counseling to help clients work through their problems, relieve symptoms, and improve overall quality of life and well-being.
How can psychotherapy help me?
Studies have found that most people who engage in psychotherapy benefit from the treatment. For therapy to be most successful, however, it is important that the therapist and client establish trust and agree on the goals and tasks for treatment. It is important to note that not all mental health professionals are the “best fit” for all clients. There are a wide variety of treatment modalities and areas of expertise to treat a wide range of psychological and emotional problems—making the initial assessment and treatment plan is an important first step in any course of psychotherapy. With the right “fit” between you and your therapist, psychotherapy can be successful in alleviating a wide range of psychological problems and emotional distress, and give you new skills to cope with challenges that may arise in the future.
WHAT IS A MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST?
One of the five core mental health professions along with psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers and psychiatric nurse specialists. Marriage and family therapists are mental health professionals with a minimum of a master’s degree, two years’ supervised clinical experience and are licensed to independently diagnose and treat mental health and substance abuse problems.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST AND OTHER MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS?
- Licensed mental health practitioners
- Educated with a master’s or doctoral degree
- Trained with a minimum of two (2) years supervised clinical experience
- Experienced to work with individuals, couples, and families
The training of MFTs includes live supervision by experienced MFTs, which is unique among the behavioral health disciplines. This highly accountable training focuses on the unique attribute of MFT treatment which is the heightened sensitivity between you and those in your environment (family members, coworkers, friends) and how these relationships can help or challenge you and your experienced problem areas.
While MFTs work with individuals, couples and families, they also have extensive training working with, and thinking about, problems in the context of our relationships.
If the professional’s degree is not in marriage and family therapy, you may ask about additional post-graduate training they have completed in marriage and family therapy. MFTs also receives two years of clinical experience of which half is with couples and families.
WHAT IS ON-LINE THERAPY OR TELEHEALTH?
Rather than having an in-person therapy session in your therapist office, you have your therapy session via your computer or telephone with or without live video. Thanks to the advancements in mobile and web technologies, online therapy or telehealth has made it possible for mental health services to be provided to people who can’t travel to an office or live in remote areas where there are no therapist available. During Covid-19, there was a stay at home order forcing therapist to quickly transition to telehealth, becoming the new norm. Thanks to telehealth, people can now seek out and obtain mental health services from the comfort of their homes, offices, cars, or anywhere else they happen to be. The goal of providing mental health treatment online is to offer many more people with affordable and accessible services that will help improve their mental health function and their lives.
WHAT THINGS SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING TO DO TELEHEALTH WITH A THERAPIST?
If you already have an established therapist, it will not be as difficult to transition to telehealth than if you are just starting to find one. If you don’t currently have a therapist, you have the option of going with an online company that only provides online therapy or go with a therapist that you can later transition to in-person therapy. You also have to take in consideration the pitfalls of going with an online therapy services that doesn’t allow for in-office therapy.
Ideally, it is recommended that you interview several family therapists to ensure compatibility, which will not be possible with an online only therapy service.
It is important to understand that seeking services from an therapist will require a high degree of comfort and confidence. Discussing personal matters is very sensitive and you should feel comfortable and confident with your therapist. While MFTs are trained and licensed to provide the full range of mental health services, like all mental health professions, each individual therapist may vary according to expertise.
Online therapy provides several benefits to include convenience, privacy, affordability, and a beginning stage for people who have difficulties leaving their home. Millions of people have transitioned from in-office to online sessions, especially during this time of health risk where we continue to maintain social distancing.
Online therapy has several benefits such as efficiency, different communications channels, no boundaries, decreased cost with less concerns about stigma related anxieties. If you work full time and have limited personal time, online counseling will give you the flexibility you need, providing you with therapy on the go. There are multiple counseling apps available with video conferencing. With online counseling you are not limited to therapist within your area that may or may not have the specialty that you need. The cost is significantly less than in-office therapy. With the increased privacy and anonymity with on-line therapy, there is less worry about the stigma associated with visiting a therapist.
However, there are several downsides to online therapy. The company offering the service may specialize in online therapy only, hiring multiple therapists from different parts of the state or the country. The therapist may not have the right qualifications to meet your needs as each state has different regulations regarding therapist training and specialties. You also do not get to select your therapist. Some companies may or may not provide video or three-way video sessions.
There are many companies that have begun providing mental health services online with varying features and services. But with Institute of Behavior Sciences and Technology you will receive therapy from and experienced licensed Marriage and Family Therapist that you have personally selected with the degree and specialty that you need.
Because there are several downsides to online therapy, it should not replace in-office counseling. Rather, it should complement your traditional counseling sessions, as it offers a range of additional benefits not found in online therapy. Also, not all diagnosis can be treated effectively via telehealth.