What is therapy?

If you are looking for an easy “fix” to the issues and struggles you are facing, you may never be satisfied. While there isn’t an easy solution that works to fix everyone’s problems, therapy can act as a guide to process and/or resolve problematic behaviors, beliefs, feelings, relationship issues, and/or somatic responses, thus allowing you to continue growing and moving forward. If therapy is not a “fix”, what is it exactly and why is it a useful tool? 


Anyone Can Benefit

You may be seeking therapy for a variety of reasons ranging from depression and substance abuse to managing the daily demands of work and family life. Regardless of the reason, almost anyone can benefit from psychotherapy. Researchers continue to find positive studies between taking care of your mental health and your physical health, often referred to as the mind-body health connection. It is important that we pay as much attention to nurturing and monitoring our mental health as we do our physical health because, in the end, the two can inadvertently affect one another. Therapy equips you with the skills needed to solve problems, communicate more effectively, and monitor the state of your personal mental health. Through different approaches, therapists are able to pinpoint areas, unique to each you, that they could benefit from improvement or mindfulness. Therapists are then able to customize the experience to focus on developing long-term skills and methods to improve your problematic areas and livelihood. 


Collaborative Partnership 

In order for therapy to be effective, there must be a sense of teamwork between the you and therapist. You and your therapist must work together to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns keeping you from feeling your best. Your therapist should provide you with a safe, neutral environment for you to be able to ask tough questions and come to grips with the factors that are negatively impacting your mental health. This is important to keep in mind because, again, a therapist will not be able to give you straight forward answers or advice. Rather, they will provide a safe space for you to speak freely about your life, your struggles, and your questions. Then, you and your therapist will work together, generally through dialogue, to engage in joint problem solving. 

Your therapist may give you homework assignments between sessions to practice new skills or continue reading and learning about a particular topic. The more collaborative the relationship is between you and the  therapist, the more in-depth understanding you will gain about yourself and the people around you. 


Non-Judgemental and Supportive Environment

As discussed above, it is important you feel comfortable to speak openly about your issues and any questions that you may have. In addition, a therapist should feel comfortable asking you questions as well. If [the therapist is] successfully doing their job, you will feel supported in your treatment and not judged by your therapist. Furthermore, there are laws in place that keep the information you share with your therapist confidential, unless the information falls under certain exceptions. Having a space where you can confidentially share your struggles, with an objective third-party, often helps you to become more willing to open up and explain your hardships.


Exploratory Experience 

Therapy is ultimately an exploration of yourself. Therapy opens the path for you to learn new things about yourself and the people in your life. As a collaborative experience, therapy challenges you to dive deeper into your problematic behaviors and feelings in hopes of finding healthier, more effective ways to cope. Therapy is an ongoing process that can morph and shift depending on your goals and needs. Moreover, therapy provides you with a safe space to explore different problem solving and communication techniques to find the methods that work best for you and your mental wellbeing. 


Structure and Boundaries

To maintain professional client, therapist relationships, therapy involves boundaries and structure. Boundaries include what can and cannot be discussed, email contact, business hours, phone calls, scheduling of sessions, and should be discussed and agreed upon prior to any treatment. The therapist, at times, may remind you of these agreed upon boundaries, for the safety and comfort of your working relationship.


Seeking a Therapist?

If you are dedicated to being an active member in your therapy and understand the value therapy could bring to your life, it is time to find a qualified therapy provider. Meredith O’Brien and her affiliates pride themselves on fostering a safe and nurturing environment for their clients. Each having their own area of expertise, the Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) at Meredith O’Brien & Affiliates are well equipped to deal with a wide variety of mental health struggles. Through both in person counseling in Red Bank, New Jersey and telehealth therapy sessions, the women at Meredith O’Brien & Affiliates wish to help all New Jersey residents gain access to quality mental health care. For more information, or to book an appointment, visit our website


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