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  /  Anxiety   /  When should I see a psychologist?

The vast majority of people find it extremely difficult to decide on a visit to a psychologist. Even in moments of severe suffering and loss, a person does not always turn to a specialist for help. It is not easy to reveal your very personal feelings, sides of nature, which are sometimes hidden from the closest people.

Some have had the sad experience of revealing their secrets. It is not only shame, unwillingness to open the secret corners of one’s soul that prevents visiting a therapist. Pride interferes, which does not allow admitting to one’s own powerlessness, inability to cope with problems on one’s own. Often people do not go to a specialist because they do not believe that they can provide real help. It is necessary to understand the specifics of a specialist’s work in order to eliminate false ideas and unfounded fears.


The psychologist’s work

The psychologist speaks out the reasons that didn’t allow the patient to come earlier when the problems were not yet so acute. Nobody forces the patient to open up completely, they have the opportunity to talk about themselves as much as they see fit. If a feeling of antipathy towards the psychologist is formed, a trusting relationship is not built. They might seek another psychologist. 

Quite often you have to face the patient’s desire to eliminate some single suffering or inconvenience and leave everything as it was. The psychologist cannot fulfill this request. The psyche functions in a complex manner. Treatment of one of its parts will certainly lead to changes in general. For the most part, the nature of the problem affects several areas that also need to be corrected.


The psychotherapeutic process takes some time

In the case of a positive course of psychotherapeutic treatment, the client begins to understand that in the process of working with a specialist, a solid, healthy foundation begins to be built on which you can build your life differently. The goal of psychotherapy is to establish a clear balance between human capabilities and the reality of their manifestation and application. This allows you to resolve problems for which a solution is available.

A psychologist treats not only disorders that are on the surface and bother the client. Contacting a psychologist can aid with various issues. Usually, the patient asks for help to cope with uncertainty, fears, psychological stress. Suffering can be psychosomatic, expressed in headaches, allergic reactions, and other physical symptoms. People who have lost the meaning of life and who want to better understand themselves also turn to a psychologist during a period of creative or existential crisis.


Deeper issues

Any patients’ requests are just the tip of the iceberg, the causes of the problem lie deeper. Neither the psychologist nor their client can predict in advance how the therapy will take place, what symptoms will appear in the process, and what it will lead to.

Psychotherapy will only be successful if there are close interaction and cooperation. For this period, both have a common goal, to make the patient’s life better, to improve its quality, to liberate them, to allow them to reveal all the possibilities in real conditions. But you shouldn’t give a psychologist an order to fulfill your dream within a specific time frame. For example, “make it so that in a year I take a leadership position.” Of course, there is an opportunity to become the head of the department in a year. But this will be the result of a comprehensive treatment of the psyche and not the elimination of one part of it that prevented you from making a career.


External reasons

The external reasons for the client’s appeal to a psychotherapist or psychologist are anxiety and depression, dissatisfaction with life, fears, loneliness, creative crisis, psychosomatic problems. A visit to a specialist may be associated with the inability to get out of the stress associated with the death of loved ones, a difficult breakup, loss of work, etc.

External requests from customers require respect. However, the specialist must understand that their causes may be hidden in the deepest corners of the psyche, which at first glance may not be related to the problem voiced by the patient.

The psychotherapist does not have the opportunity to “repair” certain areas of the psyche. High-quality treatment requires its comprehensive, full-fledged study. It is impossible to develop an exact plan for future research, changes in the client’s psyche are carried out in accordance with the nuances of the process initiated by psychotherapy. For a specialist, each client is a “dark horse”. Working with them is a kind of challenge to the psychotherapist, to which they must respond with professionalism and high-quality treatment.

If the tandem specialist-client has developed, the treatment process begins.


Mental change

The goal pursued by psychoanalytic psychotherapy is defined in two words “mental change.” Thousands of words can be written to describe this short phrase, but even after that questions may remain.

In a schematic form, you can display the human psyche in three components: consciousness, subconsciousness, and biochemical reactions taking place in nerve tissues.

Consciousness includes a complex of all knowledge and understanding.

We call the subconscious something that significantly affects our life but is invisible, unknown, and even inexplicable. In its corners, emotions, fears, memories, feelings are preserved that we do not think about, but constantly feel their influence. In the subconscious there is no space and time, there is no usual logic, you can imagine it in the form of a dump, in which bad and good are mixed in a chaotic manner. This is the primary mass in which our habits, perceptions, and actions are born.


What is subconscious?

In psychoanalytic psychotherapy, it is the subconscious that is the main object of research, it can tell a lot of important things about the client, sometimes the causes of the problem are hidden in it. It is important for a specialist to gain access to this cache, which is not at all easy to do. Increased attention to the subconscious does not mean that consciousness is relegated to the background. It will be an assistant in the study of the unconscious.

Often, patients do not want to acknowledge the existence of a subconscious that guides our lives. It is frightening for its secrecy, lack of access. Many associate the subconscious with some kind of evil force. It is trapped in the depths of the psyche, uncontrollable. It’s a delusion. The subconscious mind can cause many problems, but it is also a repository of creativity, a source of strength, creative processes.

If you clarify the relationship with the subconscious, there is a real opportunity to “make friends” with life itself. It does not tell us directly but gives hints, hints, it can interfere and help. There is no need to deify the subconscious, but you should not consider it a demon. These are extremes that can make life much more difficult. There is no need to deny its existence.

The psychotherapist should help the client to recognize the existence of the subconscious, learn to understand it and make the most of the potential contained in it.


How to explore the subconscious?

There are several ways to explore the subconscious. The psychologist draws a lot of information from conversations with the client. They must catch small pieces of important moments that seep between the lines, manifested in words, gestures, emotions, tone of voice. They interpret the patient’s dreams, in which clues may lurk. In fact, the specialist is hunting for the messages of the subconscious, allowing you to understand, decipher it. This is not an easy task, since the subconscious mind does not want to open up, lurks, and even tries to interfere with the therapy process in order to maintain its previous position. In it, there is equally a desire to be understood and not to allow one to be discovered and investigated.

The formation of the unconscious takes place simultaneously with the development of the person himself. Certain processes that take part in the formation of the psyche begin from the first days of life. In the subconscious, fantasies, scenarios are born, identification is carried out. Often these semantic constructions turn into a source of suffering. But the positive potential can also be hidden in them. The psyche has two sides. It is the cause of problems, does not want to change, it is also a provider of strength, energy, and joy. Therefore, the process of psychotherapy includes partial and complete satisfaction, relief; tension, misunderstanding, the need to discipline, to abandon the habitual appearance.


Psychotherapeutic process

Only outwardly, the psychotherapeutic process looks like an ordinary conversation. This conversation conducts according to certain laws. First of all, it has a limited time span. The conversation between the specialist and the patient lasts 50-60 minutes.

Setting a hard period has several reasons. This procedure enables a specialist to plan, distribute their working time, invite a client to certain hours. Two people participating in a conversation devote a certain amount of time to each other. In life, none of us has the ability and desire to fully belong to another person forever. Everyone should be able to leave, even if the interlocutor would like to continue communicating. This is the same in psychotherapy. The session has a beginning and an end, regardless of the wishes of both parties. A strict time limit allows you to observe boundaries, to understand that everyone has their own life.

The psychotherapist often has to deal with certain inconveniences that such a restriction brings. This issue is discussed in detail, which often allows one to understand some hidden meanings, to release suppressed feelings.


Absence of assessments

The second important law of the conversation between the client and the psychologist is the absence of assessments and advice that always appear in ordinary conversations. The advice provides an opportunity, using your experience, to reveal the true nature of any actions, to demonstrate how the listener would behave if he found themselves in such a situation. In everyday life, they can and should take place, there is nothing wrong with them. In everyday conversations, we evaluate these tips on a conscious level.

But the psychotherapist works with the subconscious, which gives them a different meaning. The patient can use the advice of a specialist in order to relieve themselves of responsibility for making any important decisions. The advice can be the reason for “declaring war”. The client, having received it, can perform exactly the opposite actions in order to prove that he can do without such recommendations. In this regard, psychotherapists do not give advice to their patients. But if the client asks for recommendations, they can discuss this. 


Topics off-limits

There are no prohibitions on any topics, you can talk about anything. But actions have limitations. These are not measures of education, all prohibitions have significant reasons. Restrictions on action expand the boundaries for thoughts and feelings. They are the main driving forces in psychotherapy. Feelings, thoughts of the patient, their experience, and awareness are of primary importance for the specialist.

The third law does not allow the therapist to talk about themselves. The specialist should not present themselves to the client as an ordinary person with their own convictions and problems. This will undermine the nature of anonymity, neutrality of relations, and turn the therapist from a specialist into a more knowledgeable interlocutor. This status will not allow full use of treatment methods and provide full assistance. The neutral therapist stimulates the client’s fantasies, in which the doctor appears as one of the characters in his inner world. This allows you to pull out hopes, fantasies, and fears hidden in the depths of the subconscious.


Avoid misunderstandings

In the course of treatment, misunderstandings often arise, questions concerning one organizational moment. The client has to pay for the missed sessions. There are several levels at which one can prove the feasibility of such a condition. It is not difficult to practically explain the need to pay for a missed session. The psychotherapist lost their working time due to the client’s fault. They did not invite another for this hour, therefore, in the absence of payment, the specialist bears a financial loss.

The payment rule for missed sessions has another meaning. The specialist and the client work together, but everyone has their own life, they do not have a close relationship. If the patient misses the sessions, they don’t pay for them. Sometimes in the course of conversations, the psychologist asks questions that make the client uncomfortable. They don’t want to discuss difficult topics further. The subconscious begins to “whisper” that this treatment can be postponed for a while, there are some “very important things” that allow you to skip the session. If you have to pay for such passes, the client is likely to see a therapist. This improves the quality of treatment.

Paying for missed sessions can frustrate the clients. But even these emotions are the subject of research for the psychotherapist. By removing this rule, you can make the process more calm and peaceful. But this may be the reason for not identifying some important meanings that come out during tense situations.


Duration of treatment

No specialist can determine the duration of treatment in advance. When urgent help is required, there is no need to deeply change the psyche, the work can take several months. Long-term therapy takes at least two years. For some clients, this raises certain doubts. They cannot understand the reasons for such a long time frame, they are not sure if this process deserves such costs.

You need to understand that the human psyche is designed in such a way that any changes cause a protest in it. It takes time for it to gradually adapt to new conditions. It takes the psychologist for more than one month to identify them. The study of the psyche takes place in layers. Opening them reveals new problems that need solutions. Each client has the opportunity to stop the psychotherapy process at any time. But it should be borne in mind that this will become a serious trauma for the psyche. You need to systematically go all the way to ensure a high-quality result.

One informational article cannot reflect all the features and specifics of psychotherapy. Many questions arise during treatment. It is impossible to predict them. Questions arise not only from the client, they appear, make the specialist think.



Psychoanalytic therapy cannot be classified as religion, science, or magic. This industry assumes a constant process of changes and development. Clients who think too rationally, with the help of therapy, begin to understand that not everything in this life can be controlled and calculated. Clients for whom mystical thinking is paramount learn protective ways of such a life experience during treatment. Every client faces a major change that takes courage to accept. However, the result of such work is a comfortable relationship with reality and a high-quality understanding of oneself.


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