FREQUENTLY ASKED THERAPY QUESTIONS
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What are emotional triggers?
What is emotional validation?
Emotional validation is the experience of acceptance, approval, and reassurance that we receive from others or give to ourselves. It’s the very opposite of being rejected, judged, criticized, ignored, or put down.
What is therapy?
Therapy (also known as psychotherapy or counseling) is a
method for treating emotional, behavioral, mental health,
situational and/or relationship problems through talking and
personal support. Therapy is practiced by several types of mental health professionals to address issues ranging from dealing with everyday life challenges to coping with more serious events, to managing a serious mental illness. Therapists employ a variety of approaches and techniques to help clients alleviate emotional pain,
facilitate personal growth, and enhance one's character.
Why go talk to a therapist? Can’t I just speak with a friend or family member?
Caring and supportive friends and family members are an
important part of a support network. You may share your feelings, hopes, and struggles with them, and hear their insights and
encouragement. It’s often helpful; however, they already know you
and that makes it hard for them to be completely “unbiased” or
“objective” as you speak. Imagine telling your wife of your desire
to change careers. She says she’s supportive, but as she’s trying to
be there for you, she’s also dealing with how this impacts her:
fears, anxiety, “How will this affect our lives?” she worries. The natural emotions she feels challenge her ability to listen and support you objectively. Speaking with a therapist provides a unique opportunity to share everything without needing to take
care of the listener’s feelings. It’s all about you and the security in
knowing that this person is not personally affected by what you are sharing provides great relief. No one is going to become emotional and worked up, interrupt you, impose anxieties onto the
conversation, or have their feelings hurt by what you are sharing.
There is no one who will argue with you or say that you’re “wrong” or that you “can’t.” You can be totally honest, which is crucial for solving problems. Ultimately, the outcome will be better for you and everyone else in your life.
Unless I have serious problems, therapy is not for me. Right?
Therapy can help you address issues and problems, as
well as promote wellness. Here are some reasons to try therapy that
you may not have considered:
• You want to love and accept yourself.
• You want to be a great spouse, a fantastic parent.
• You want to thrive in your work.
• You want a clearer understanding of your mission and purpose
• You want an hour each week to focus on your own growth.
• You want to let go and forgive.
• You want a place to practice healthy communication skills
such as being assertive, expressive, or comfortable sharing
• You want to achieve a hard-to-reach goal.
What are emotional triggers?
Emotional triggers are things like conversations, interactions, events, memories, people, and situations that spark and arouse strong negative or uncomfortable emotions and feelings. The experience can be sudden, or it can seem to come from out of nowhere.
A key point is that emotional triggers are typically part of an emotional reaction on the person's part which is more severe than what the trigger or situation would logically call for – i.e., overreaction.
What is confidentiality?
Why should you open up to a stranger, albeit a professional
stranger? Confidentiality. It is one of the cornerstones of therapy.
Therapy is a special, unique type of conversation where you can
say exactly what you feel, with total honesty, and without worrying
that you’re going to damage a relationship, hurt someone’s
feelings, or be penalized in any way. Whatever you need to talk
about and say is OK. Not a word of what is shared during sessions
is permitted to leave the room. The only exception to this is when the client requests and authorizes the therapist to speak with someone for his/her benefit.
Do I have to talk about my childhood?
Not necessarily. Many people think therapy is about digging
up the past and blaming parents. This is not true. These topics may
come up in therapy in order to help you grow, and take responsibility for the things in your control. But that’s if and when it’s consistent with your unique situation and goals. Some talk little about the past, and instead focus on actions or thoughts in the present. Others delve more deeply into their past and family dynamics. Granted, we said above that you won’t be forced to talk about anything you don’t want to discuss. However, consider this: an intense desire to avoid talking about your childhood might
indicate that you should. It is often helpful and healing to explore
strong negative emotions and try to discover their source. Once
that hidden material is brought to light it can be worked with to
positively impact your life in the present.
Should I be honest in therapy?
Let your inner child out and question everything. “Why do I
think/feel/behave/ like that?” “Why do I hate my [friend, boss,
teacher] so much?” “Why am I so nervous before sessions?” Why
does the therapist's [tone, carpet, shirt] bother me?” And then
loosen the inner filter and allow yourself to share what is on your
mind; even if it is odd. A strange thought, sudden impulse or certain memory popped up? Talk about it. In therapy, things are not
better left unsaid. Speak freely.
Is the messaging in Messaging Therapy live with immediate responses?
No. It is asynchronous, or not-live. You write as much as you want and whenever you want in the secure chat room on the Telegram app. Zalman signs in, reads/listens, and responds at least once, Sunday-Thursday. However, the new, once per month, 10-minute live text chat session feature enables you to schedule a time in which you and Zalman are both online at the same time and you can get immediate responses via text or audio message for that 10-minute time period.
What is Inner Child Work?
Inner Child work, also called Inner Child healing is an approach to emotional healing and personal growth that recognizes how problematic thoughts and behaviors as an adult are connected to childhood experiences. Inner child work and healing utilizes triggered emotions to identify and address long unmet emotional needs – in other words, reparenting ourselves.
Is Online Therapy as Good as Face-to-Face Therapy?
Online methods are not the same as face-to-face, and, thus, not the right approach for those who require that kind of contact and interaction. There will always be something powerful about a conversation held in person where you hear the tone, experience the delivery, and get a sense of the emotions behind the words. And stepping out of your life and into your appointment really helps a person focus in on themselves.
At the same time, these tech methods of delivering therapy approximate the experience and have their own advantages. First of all, these are alternative methods of delivering psychotherapy. Same degree, techniques, approaches, relationship and trust building. One can do Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in-person, and by phone, on Skype, and through messaging. Second, phone and video call sessions are also distinct appointments in which a person is helped to focus in on themselves and their issues. Moreover, there is a live experience of vocal tone, and with video there are facial and body expressions.
Here’s another key point: this is, actually, less of a comparison between in-person and online, and more of a comparison between online and nothing. Many clients choose online approaches because it’s more accessible or helps them avoid the travel and parking times. For others, there are no local therapists, or they want a therapist with a unique combination of factors, which they only found in a person a few states over.
How do I pick a therapist?
In essence, you are looking for someone to help you do
the therapy. That means a relationship: building trust, sharing
openly, confidentiality, hearing feedback, and inviting that person
into your life.
Keep this goal in mind as you begin to research, reach out to,
and interact with potential therapists. Everything is an opportunity to see how you feel. You can prepare some questions that you want to ask or ask what is on your mind. Then, be aware of how it is received and answered, and how you are dealt with. Keep in mind
that this process is often a matter of trial and error. You may talk to
a few different therapists before you find the right one, and that is
Think about it: this is a person I’m going to be investing a lot of
time, energy, and vulnerability with. Do I get a sense it is possible
to develop trust? At first, you may be unsure, but a few sessions
later see the connection forming. Or, you may have a good initial
sense and then start to feel the opposite a few weeks later. It must
be a comfortable fit. The value of feeling a good intuitive match
with somebody cannot be underestimated.