What is Psychotherapy?
So what, exactly, is psychotherapy?
Do I have to lay on a leather couch behind a faceless old white dude talking about sex and snakes and greek mythology?
And are there dogs?
Um, if I’m your psychotherapist, you can talk about whatever you want, including sex and snakes. My chairs are pleather, and cozy enough. And yeah, I happen to be white, which we sometimes talk about because culture matters.
But psychotherapy has come a long way from the days of Freudian psychoanalysis.
Modern therapy is, simply put, a tool. It is one of many tools available for people who want to grow. It allows us to gently identify problem areas in our lives and intentionally create change. It helps us see that some things can’t be changed, but teaches us instead how to cope. We can learn to live differently. We can learn to be kinder to ourselves. We can learn to communicate on deeper, more authentic levels. Therapy helps us do all that and more.
Think of therapy like a car-ride. The therapist is there to help you map out your destination and ride shotgun while you drive. As a therapist I can help you navigate, but I can’t take the wheel. You call the shots on this drive. You can ride the brakes, be cautious, go slowly. Or you can floor it and speed to your destination (hopefully swerving around obstacles). Either way, with the right navigator–er Therapist–it can be exhilarating. Change is hard, but often worth it.
Psychotherapy with a doggo is called Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). So yes, there are dogs. Doggo isn’t just hanging his head out the car window enjoying some air. Okay they do that sometimes, but they also participate in the therapy. AAT is the intentional inclusion of animals in the plan to achieve your therapeutic goals. More on that later. My hope for this blog is just to answer the question, as simply as possible, what is psychotherapy?
What do you think? Does your perspective on psychotherapy fit this definition? Did you experience something different? What problems would you tackle if you started a new therapy journey today?