How therapy works

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In this section, you can learn the why, when and what about therapy and counseling. Knowing about therapy and its role in mind health is as important as knowing about toothbrushes and their roles in dental health.

There are various styles and types of therapy. Black therapists, black psychologists, and black counselors learn a variety of approaches and most apply the approach that seems most likely to facilitate comfortable change for you. The approach may well depend on whether you are seeking therapy just for yourself (individual therapy) or whether you are wanting therapy for your marriage or relationship (couples therapy or couples coaching) or whether you feel your whole family may benefit from having some things straightened out (family therapy).

You may need immediate therapy just to handle a crisis, such as if you were the victim of a crime, or lost a family member or experienced a sudden & frightening medical diagnosis (crisis therapy).

You may want short term therapy if you are experiencing an unusual or unexpected series of challenges. You may need help sorting out the steps you need to take to handle them. You may want to find out what you don’t know about handling various types of situations. Or you may want to find an alternative to strategies that haven’t worked in the past.

For recurring patterns of thinking or behavior that have caused you to make the same mistakes repeatedly or to end up in the same problem situations repeatedly, you may want to find a good therapist and settle in for long-term therapy.  You hear  lots of negative cautions in the media against long term treatment but is it likely that problems that persisted for years will be resolved in 12 sessions or less?

We have seen people transform from chronic depression, addictions, recurring hospitalizations, and histories of abuse and neglect into strong, happy and highly productive lives through the slow, steady, and secure alliances with a therapist whose patience and insight provides a safe environment for dealing with painful experiences. There is a process through which the mind changes and then through practicing and choosing new ways of seeing. There is research emerging that even documents through brain scans, that therapy results in actual permanent positive changes in the brain itself. Medication does not do that. (See How Do Psychotherapy and Medication Change the Brain?, The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, Daniel Carlat, MD, )

When to seek therapy

Find a black therapist

Learn about depression, anxiety & other mood problems

Find a black therapist, black counselor or African American psychologist near you