Phyllis Kopit, LCSW
How does therapy work?


New clients often have many questions about what to expect from therapy.  They wonder how talking about problems can relieve them.  Talk therapy can help you develop new ways of thinking about and looking at problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you to think about the way you assess what is happening around you and how your assessment of the situation influences your feelings and your behavior.  Self-awareness is key; without knowing what we are thinking and beginning to question the validity of our perceptions, it is difficult to make changes.  Once you start to think about those perceptions, you can begin to understand that there might be other ways of thinking and start working on change.  As you change the way you think about a particular situation, your feelings about it will change and your behavior will too.  This takes time; changing old habits and old ways of being can take a while, as does changing any other habit.  I encourage clients to be patient with themselves and to honor the progress they make as they go through this process.   

Using a systems
approach, we might look at what you learned in your family about relationships or what you learned about how to communicate your feelings.  Looking at the past can help you to better understand how you relate to others in the present.

You might want to be seen for individual therapy
, where you and your therapist would work on individual problems. Or, perhaps, you and your partner/spouse are having relationship difficulties and couples therapy would be the focus of your treatment. Together, you would learn to deal with problems and might also work on developing or rebuilding
the closeness and intimacy you seek with your partner.  Even with couples therapy, your therapist would probably want to see both you and your spouse individually at various points in the theapy, in order to get a better understanding of the relationship and your individual perspectives about it.  Another modality is family therapy, where other family members join some or all of the sessions in order to resolve family difficulties.  Treatment might include only individual therapy or a combination of individual, couple and family therapy, depending on the problems that are presented.  

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