People often assume that if they feel depressed than they need therapy. Being a psychiatrist and therapist in Scottsdale, I see many cases where patients come to me saying “I want therapy because I want to be happy.”  Sometimes that works and sometimes not but the bottom line is there are appropriate uses for therapy in order to maximize the chance of it being beneficial.

As an expert in psycho dynamic and cognitive-behavioral therapies, I will speak to the proper use of each one and how to determine if you are a good candidate.  A typical therapist in Scottsdale may also utilize “supportive” therapy which is essentially what I refer to as feel-good chit chat. Supportive therapy requires no expertise and in my view it is a waste of time if done by itself and not in combination with another type of therapy. Supportive simply talks about your week, your day and any other small talk that comes up for an hour. While it feels good to talk to someone for the hour, there are no lasting benefits.

It is rare nowadays for a therapist in Scottsdale to offer true psycho dynamic psychotherapy which is an iteration of Freudian psychoanalysis from way back when. It is a more brief and relaxed version that does not utilize “free associations” or a couch. Rather it looks at past experiences, often from childhood, that has shaped characteristic patterns of behavior throughout one’s life. The goal is to identify past negative experiences, understand how those experiences shaped the negative patterns and behaviors, and correct those underlying patterns in order to avoid continuing a detrimental pattern of behavior in life.

In order to benefit from dynamic therapy, you have to really want to explore your past and it is not something you can feel forced to do. It is an open, longstanding exploration of your deepest thoughts and memories which can be an absolutely fascinating experience for the person. However without motivation it has minimal utility. If you have specific patterns or behaviors in life that keep causing problems in relationships or life in general, than this is the ideal approach to you.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is another evidenced-based approach which differs in theory from dynamic therapy but can be used in conjunction. It is more problem-focused and does not explore past memories, or patterns as much as focusing on current emotions or behaviors that are causing problems in our lives. CBT works well if anxiety, panic, PTSD or OCD are issues and it is highly effective in conjunction with medication. As the only therapist in Scottsdale who is also a psychiatrist, I can prescribe medications as well as utilize potent therapy to maximize your chance of recovery.

If you have questions on therapy in general or are looking for a therapist in Scottsdale please contact me anytime.