What is psychotherapy?
Conversation is a vital element of psychotherapy. However, there are other methods that can be helpful in changing thought patterns, feelings and behaviors. It may even be necessary to practice these new patterns in the place or situation at which the old ones occurred, in order to trade negative feelings for new and more positive ones. Psychotherapy is in this sense a process of change, and its goal is to help individuals learn to solve problems on their own while becoming more confident. My approach to this process is integrative and is always oriented to the specific symptoms at hand.Psychotherapy is simply a process of change. The central aim of this process is learning to deal with personal problems. Once these problems are identified, negative emotions can be changed and old behaviors replaced. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or decrease depressive symptoms. This can lead to an improved capacity to solve problems and a renewed ability to enjoy life to the fullest.
Psychotherapy may be the solution for anyone who frequently asks themselves questions such as “What is wrong with me? Why have I changed? Why don’t I recognize the person I seem to have become?” Trying to solve such problems alone can be frustrating and, in the end ineffective. Seeking professional help is a sign of initiative and strength, and can help break constrictive, repetitive cycles of behavior.Typical symptoms may include sadness, listlessness, inner turmoil, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, a racing heart, difficulty breathing or feelings of extreme stress. There may also be more serious physical issues which a doctor is unable to diagnose.
The heart of psychotherapeutic treatment is conversation. However, depending on the specific problems and expectations of each individual client, different practical methods may be used, including but not limited to:
- Behavioral therapy methods which can help identify and train more useful behavioral strategies (e. g. strengthening of social competence/interpersonal skills, role play, problem solving techniques, techniques to stop ruminating, confrontation therapy)
- Relaxation techniques such as Autogenic training, focused breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and self-hypnosis
- Cognitive therapy, used to recognize and change mental blocks
- Biography work, which allows for the discovery and realignment of personal thought and action patterns
- Hypnosis is used to encourage a state of deep relaxation, soothe physical pain, anchor the content of previous therapy sessions and reveal buried emotions
- EMI – Eye Movement Integration, a special technique for the treatment of traumatic experiences
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
If you are considering psychotherapy, you may research and contact a practice or clinic directly without a prescription from your regular doctor. An initial, introductory session takes place during the therapist’s normal office hours. If you are insured by one of the general German State Insurance companies (such as AOK, TKK or Barmer), the costs of the first three initial sessions will be covered.
The initial meeting with a psychotherapist is meant to serve as an orientation session; if you are simply curious whether your case constitutes a psychological illness in need of treatment, the first sessions should provide an answer. You will also receive consultation regarding what the next steps toward solving your individual problem would be, and whether a longer-term clinical process is appropriate. It is critical at this phase not to shy away from asking questions or expressing specific doubts. It is vital to establish a human connection between you and the therapist, and to build a communal bond of trust. Be sure to make your specific goals for the process clear, be it improved levels of confidence, the ability to confront certain fears or simply the ability to enjoy life more completely.
In cases of psychological illness (including depression, trauma or psychosomatic illness), the German State Insurance companies such as TKK or AOK will absorb the cost of long-term psychotherapeutic treatment.