Psychotherapy, or more commonly referred to as “therapy,” can be very beneficial to victim-survivors. There are different types of therapists/counselors, some may be counselors, or social workers, or psychologists, and they provide clients different ways to cope with life that may impact their mental health and wellness.
In therapy, a professional relationship is created to help you work through a specific issue or explore larger patterns that exist, change things that may not be working, deal with feelings, learn coping skills/ techniques/strategies for stress or negative symptoms, or talk about things in a safe, non-judgmental space that is confidential. All of these can help to promote healing. Generally, what is said to a therapist will remain private, and there are a few exceptions to this rule to keep the client and others safe.
You can always ask questions of the therapist to see if they have had experience with trauma, interpersonal violence, or your specific type of concern. Therapy is your personal processing space and needs to feel right, so it is okay to ask for specific requests or to request a change if you do not believe that you and your therapist are a good match.
Therapy can be helpful in the short-term or long-term. A therapist can help to learn about yourself by pointing out patterns and giving you honest feedback. Some therapy is provided during one-on-one individual visits, and some therapy is provided in small groups for people with similar concerns.
Some mental health concerns cannot be managed by psychotherapy alone. If medication is recommended, it’s probably for an important reason, but is not required to participate in therapy. Benefiting from therapy does require open-mindedness, and work on your part – you will get as much out of therapy as the effort you are willing to put in to try new techniques or think about things differently.
Organization Name: UNLV Care Center
Title: Student’s Guide to Radical Healing zine
First edition: April 2020
Second edition: May 2021