What is Psychotherapy

Connie Nolan, MSW, LCSW

Connie Nolan, MSW, LCSW

Folks begin psychotherapy for a variety of reasons and initially, they all ask the same question--what is it and how can it help me?   Psychotherapy is the treatment of a mental or emotional disorder by psychological means, or in very simple terms, it is solving a problem by talking to someone.  That sounds simple enough, but the reality is that human beings are not simple; each person seeking help with a problem comes to the session with a life time of individual experiences and interwoven relationships that have shaped the person they've become.  Psychotherapy only works when the person seeking help (the client) is open to changing a behavior pattern and the help giver (the therapist) can offer the client a new blueprint to follow.  In other words, if a client comes to a therapy session with a positive attitude and is   open to change, and the therapist can offer a real solution to the problem, then psychotherapy works.

This site is all about psychotherapy.  Problems will be presented and concrete solutions offered.  Stories from actual case work are used to help readers understand how the offered solutions can work in real life.    Of course the  "stories" used are real to the following extent…they are composites and  the names, identifying features and circumstances of the clients have been altered to protect their confidentiality and privacy.

The articles will begin with relationship problems because that is where I began my own psychotherapy journey and because I believe that many life problems can be solved or at least lessened when folks know how to get along with one another.  My husband and I divorced and then remarried each other two years later.  We divorced because we didn't have the knowledge or tools needed to make our relationship work.  We remarried because we attended therapy sessions where we learned real solutions and healthy coping skills for reconciliation.    Those solutions and coping skills will be presented in the next few weeks through articles published at this site.

I will start by talking about the three stages of a relationship--what they are and how two people can work through them to get to their ultimate goal--partnership.   We will explore in depth the "war zone" and how many couples hit the wall of identity and divorce each other instead of working through the pain to find their personal truth.    I will demonstrate how each man and each woman has a feminine and masculine side and how developing their weaker side can expand them as a whole person.  And then together, we will tackle the "blame" game.  It's easy and always convenient to blame someone else for the way that we feel, but until "I" take responsibility  for my own feelings, I can not grow as a person and therefore,  I can not have a healthy relationship with another person.

Then I will talk about how men and women problem-solve in different ways.  Men process through their thinking and women process through their feelings.  Neither process is wrong, but knowing that it's different for men and women is important for good communication in a relationship.

Next I will talk about how love is a choice--not a feeling.  In our culture, we are taught that we will grow up, meet our knight or princess, fall in love and live happily ever after.  Nowhere in that scenario, do we hear that things might get a little tough and --forget about love--we might not even like our spouse anymore.  Love, at that point, becomes a choice.

From there, we will explore growing up and how the bad life experiences become garbage inside of us that skews our vision.  Luckily we can get rid of this garbage (and we all have it), but we have to know how.  I will give you the tools needed to empty out your garbage can.

We will then complete this series of relationship psychotherapy by discussing what it means to be an authentic person--what it means for you as an individual and how authenticity strengthens a relationship.

Future articles will explore the many faces of mental illness and how psychotherapy alone or in conjunction with psychotropic medication helps folks live a happy and productive life.






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