If you’re considering psychotherapy, here are some helpful answers to questions you may have about psychotherapy and therapeutic relationships.
Which is better, medication or therapy?
Both psychotherapy and medication have demonstrated substantial favorable effects in treating mental illness. However, the nature of the problem will likely determine the type of treatment used. Medication is often prescribed for mental health conditions associated with substantial biological factors, such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or panic disorder.
Medication and psychotherapy used together may be the best approach for some individuals, especially those with more severe conditions. Medicine can offer relief from symptoms. Psychotherapy helps the person gain knowledge and insight about his or her condition and how to navigate through it. A combined approach may offer the quickest and longest-lasting treatment option.
Can an individual and their therapist have a relationship outside of the therapy space?
This is not a good idea at all. A therapist might get to know a great deal about their patient, but the patient should not know any intimate details about their therapist. This doesn’t mean that an individual can’t have any contact with the therapist outside of the therapy room. People may run into each other accidentally, especially in small towns where random social contact may be inevitable.
However, it is generally not well-advised for you to seek therapy from someone with someone whom you may have another relationship (business interests, friendship, common social activities, etc.) or you know personally. In fact, the ethical practices of most clinical psychologists prohibit them from engaging in these types of intimate relationships with clients.
Does therapy involve physical touch?
The use of touch varies among practitioners. Some therapists may touch or hug a patient in a supportive or comforting way. However, physical contact is a powerful trigger and should never be sexualized in the therapy relationship. Almost all therapists follow specific ethics. However, if you feel your therapy involved inappropriate touching, it should be discontinued, and the therapist should be reported to the authorities.
Is it acceptable for therapists and patients to date?
Absolutely not. Dating or any intimate contact between a therapist and patient is entirely inappropriate. This includes seeking therapy from a person you were involved with in the past or with whom you had an intimate relationship. This is true even if the dating or relationship has ended or if the therapy is over. Many state ethics boards have specific statutes regarding this behavior.
Will I anger my therapist if I switch to another practitioner?
Your therapist should not be angry with you for choosing another practitioner. Therapists are licensed professionals who should have your best interest at heart. Any decision to change therapy providers should be readily accepted. If your therapist gets testy or angry with your choice, you can take comfort in knowing that you have made the right decision.
How do I find a therapist?
If your goal is to make lasting change and grow, you should find a therapist who you trust to help you make that happen. A psychotherapist should be committed to providing high quality, evidence-based services and comprehensive evaluations to individuals in their care. Inquiries and services are strictly confidential, so feel free to interview potential therapists, like a therapist in Palatine, IL from Lotus Wellness Center, to find the right fit for you.