The Process of Psychotherapy

Many people often want to know what psychotherapy is; how it works; how they will know it is helping; and how long it will take. These questions are not just particular to parents, but to everyone seeking psychotherapy.

What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a professional, helping relationship between a client and a trained therapist. This relationship is based on therapeutic and ethical principles of client self-determination and empowerment. Whereas family members or friends may provide comfort and advice in times of need, a therapist is truly impartial and works from an unbiased perspective.

How does psychotherapy work?
Psychotherapy works based on establishing a productive relationship; one in which the client can trust his or her new therapist, who in many ways is a stranger. Building this trusting relationship can take time for some individuals, whereas others seem to open up more quickly to the process. Once a trusting relationship is established, the clinician works with the client on the treatment goals established by that client and/or his or her parents during the initial needs assessment process.

How will I know if psychotherapy is working?
Many people experience an initial sense of relief once they start talking about what is bothering them. However, this initial relief can also be followed by more questions like,” how do I avoid those negative feelings again?” Or, “what can I do to keep feeling good?” We find that most people begin to get a sense that therapy is working when they find the answers to those very questions themselves.

How long does psychotherapy take?
Building any relationship takes time and the therapeutic relationship is no different. For some, a sense of trust evolves over a few sessions, whereas for others, really feeling safe to open up may take months. Child & Family Associates of Greater Washington (CFA) Associates strive to ask the right questions to unlock answers to our clients’ problems, but often getting to the solution depends more on clients truly trusting the clinician and being honest. Some clients have found that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or brief solution-focused psychotherapy has helped them enough to stop therapy after as few as twelve sessions. However, we also have clients that have been working in therapy for years. Ultimately, how long you are in therapy is up to you and when you decide you have met your goals. Our commitment is to work with you as fast as possible, without compromising quality of care, to help you achieve your goals.