May is Mental Health Awareness month. Dr. Darshana Doshi of Diamond Bar Counseling, talks to India Journal about neuroscience, nutrition, mindfulness, relationships and how therapy can help individuals.
Q. How can therapy help an individual?
Q. Why do people go to therapy and how does one know if it is right for them?
A: People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
Q. What is therapy like?
A: Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process - such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives. Q. What about medication vs. psychotherapy?
A: It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Q. What methods do you use to develop skills for improving your relationships?
A: Therapy is about constructive change. We help clients develop programs for constructive change. There is no one size fits all. Counseling is a process where clients are challenged to honestly evaluate their values & then decide for themselves in what ways they will modify these values & their behavior. Clients change because they want to change to achieve what they want for themselves.
We apply the best in theory & research in our service to clients. We use empirically supported treatments that have been identified for a number of disorders and problems. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy & interpersonal therapy for depression, behavioral marital therapy for marital discord & communication issues. With regards to diversity, we also consider whether cultural issues are contributors to the client’s current problems.
Q. What kind of counseling is available for couples who face issues in their marriage? Does it really help?
A: In Couple therapy, the “client” is the relationship between the partners. Couples counseling is for couples in any stage of relationship. Good premarital counseling can reduce the divorce rate by 30%. Couples counseling helps couples to open up new channels of communication, discover their strengths & identify problem areas, build a more intimate & satisfying relationship, examine their relationship on their own and at their own pace. Thus couples counseling helps couples learn how to effectively build a long-lasting & successful relationship or marriage.
Doshi has academic degrees from India and the University of Phoenix. She is a certified premarital counselor & recovery coach. For info: www.diamondbarcounseling.com