The terms psychotherapy and counseling are very similar. For adult therapy and family therapy both terms refer to a psychological therapy where verbal discussion and exploration between therapist and patient is the main activity and cause of change. The goal is symptom relief through insight gained through the therapy as well as emotional support and guidance offered by the therapist.
- In therapy for children, the psychotherapy takes an additional form, called Play Therapy, where the use of toys and creation of stories and symbolic themes supplements the use of verbal discussion about the problem at hand.
- There are several theoretical orientations within psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and so on. Which orientation you choose as your own depends on your personal preference and therapeutic goals. You can research the different types of therapy, and you should audition a few psychotherapists to find the best possible fit for your teens.
- A good fit with your therapist, or genuinely liking this person and trusting in their capacities, has been shown to be more important to the outcome or effectiveness of the therapy, than the specific type of therapy that they practice.
The psychoanalytic orientation which I subscribe to views the reasons for behaviour as very complex and multiply determined. There are deep-seated reasons for why we do things that are often quite resistant to change through conventional means. We can not change just because we want to, or just because we can see that our behaviour is self- defeating or damaging to others. Understanding the problem intellectually is not enough and we often need the help of a professional. If it was enough, we could change our behaviour by reading self-help books, which rarely works by itself.
The psychoanalytic tradition seeks to develop mutual and collaborative understanding with the patient of the specified problem, through the therapist’s empathic, listening stance and capacity to be with the other person in their suffering. A therapeutic relationship may develop that the patients finds to be unconditionally supportive and useful in a way that they had not experienced before. The patient’s difficulties are often brought into the room and understood in this new context. The psychoanalytic therapist makes interpretions, or evidence-based, educated guesses about what the patient presents, and understanding progresses through the collaborative negotiation of these ideas. With this said, what therapy is and how it works can be difficult to grasp without personal experience. Therefore, trying a few sessions with a therapist is the best way to know what therapy is and if it is for you.
Psychotherapists have usually attended a specialized psychotherapy training program that educates them in one specific orientation, in addition to their university training. For example, I attended the Toronto Child Psychoanalytic Program (4 yrs) and the Toronto Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (4yrs). This means that some psychotherapists have more post-secondary education that many psychologists and even medical doctors.
Especially in the psychoanalytic orientation, training is extremely rigorous, with multiple training cases, extensive supervision, and a personal psychotherapy for the trainee.
Psychotherapists are not currently covered by OHIP or by insurance plans, however part of my private practice is associated with a registered psychologist whose insurance coverage extends to my patients – therefore, you are covered if you have insurance coverage and wish to see me.
Psychotherapists do not prescribe medication but may work in conjunction with a psychiatrist or medical team on specific cases.
For more information, contact Andrew for a free, no obligation consultation.