How Do I Know Which Type of Counseling or Style of Psychotherapy is Right for Me?

The type of psychotherapy or counseling that is best for you is largely dependent on your individual preferences and needs. There are certain techniques and approaches that are more helpful than others when dealing with specific types of problems and your therapist will be knowledgeable in those approaches. For example, panic disorder is typically treated with various forms of controlled exposure therapy as research suggests it is most effective in treatment. Arm yourself with knowledge and research about the best type of therapy pertaining to your issue. This can be helpful in narrowing down what type or style of counseling is best for you.

Psychotherapists typically use an evidence-based practice and approach towards treating psychological problems. Evidence-based practice is the integration of the best available research along with the mental health practitioner’s clinical expertise, in the context of the individual’s characteristics, culture, and preferences, (American Psychological Association, 2014). Therapists consider these factors when selecting the type of therapy for treatment. They use their knowledge in research regarding the appropriate techniques to use for a specific issue and determine what the best course of treatment is based on their past experiences treating other patients and integrate your personal preferences, character and values, (APA Policy Statement, 2005).

There are many different theoretical approaches to psychotherapy and practicing psychotherapists usually draw on one or more of these theoretical perspectives to help them understand their client’s problems. The theoretical perspective of your psychotherapist will affect what goes on in therapy. For example, therapists who utilize a cognitive-behavioral approach may assign you tasks to complete or ask that you practice a new skill outside of therapy. Where as a therapist who uses a psychoanalytic approach might focus on talking in depth about your past and present memories, thoughts, and emotions rather than doing specific tasks. Most therapists combine components from several different styles of psychotherapy and blend different approaches to tailor treatments to their clients needs.

The relationship you have with your therapist is an important one and evidence suggests that development of a good relationship between a therapist and client actually predict better outcomes in therapy. Integrated throughout therapy should be efforts from the therapist to establish a genuine, nonjudgmental, and trusting therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship that is created between you and your therapist is a valuable one and this relationship can act as a catalyst to help facilitate change. After you have determined that your therapist is experienced, skilled, and knowledgeably, a good indicator of whether the type of counseling is right for you would be your comfort level working with your therapist. Most importantly, remember psychotherapy is a process. It takes time, commitment, and effort.

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, Evanston, and Wilmette.