Psychology is a science that studies the patterns of origin, development and functioning of the psyche/mental activity. The psychologist himself is engaged exclusively in theoretical activities, but in practice a completely different specialist works with patients. There is a huge amount of myths and confusion about the profession. Until recently, visiting a psychologist or psychotherapist was considered shameful, but now almost every family has its own doctor “for the soul”. What you need to know about medical practice, what to expect from therapy, what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychotherapist?
General characteristics of the direction
There are many stereotypes that form a false opinion about the profession. Often, patients cannot distinguish a psychologist from a psychiatrist or psychotherapist, and the main task of doctors is considered to be serious mental disorders. What is the confusion?
A psychiatrist diagnoses and treats only mentally ill patients. Their vessels, the brain and the nervous system itself do not work properly, which provokes a change in character, the development of hallucinations, and memory impairment. Psychiatric therapy is often based on injections and pills. Psychotherapist and psychologist work only with healthy people. Doctors help to identify, work out, eradicate the problem that prevents the patient from functioning properly.
A psychologist can call himself a person who has received a higher psychological education. A psychotherapist is a psychologist who has a long experience in practical work. In general, a person will have to spend 12 years of his life to master a profession.
Ideally, the psychologist works as an assistant to the psychotherapist. This is a kind of internship before independent activities and receiving patients. He can listen, nod his head politely, and ask how exactly the client plans to solve their problem. This is the entire list of tasks that fall within the competence of a specialist. Usually a psychologist works with emotions, since it can be difficult for a person to recognize them.
Is it possible to work through internal problems with a psychologist?
The idea of the profession of a psychologist and psychotherapist is formed to a greater extent by foreign films and unfounded conjectures. It seems to us that a mature man with a beard will seat us on the couch, listen to the story of life and offer clear solutions to all problems. But this is not so, and a fictional picture is as far from reality as possible.
In fact, a psychologist cannot independently accept a patient and give his own recommendations, since he does not have sufficient experience and practice. The doctor can work in conjunction with a psychotherapist, conduct a preliminary diagnosis of patients, determine their fears / feelings / vulnerabilities and transfer the information received to a senior specialist.
Why is it not recommended to visit a psychologist to work through inner experiences? Since the doctor cannot offer the patient options for solving the problem, he becomes a free listener. In some cases, a person just needs to speak out and return to a normal rhythm, but this scheme is not suitable for everyone. There are cases when the patient received temporary support, but no relief, and later became emotionally dependent on the listener.
According to statistics, every third person on the planet lives with an anxiety-depressive disorder. Mankind is in a state of stress and most often tries to suppress a bad mood, and not to find out its cause and overcome the consequences. Willpower alone is not always enough, which is why psychotherapists exist. It is to them that you need to turn for a list of sequential actions that will help you look at the situation from a different angle, let it go, or, conversely, complete the gestalt.
If you want to speak out, but you can't count on friends or relatives, visit a psychologist. He will not be able to analyze your condition, identify the disease and suggest methods for its correction. All of the above is done by a psychotherapist.
What is the difference between psychotherapy and psychological help?
Psychotherapy is one of the types of psychological assistance. It is carried out only by experienced doctors who have become psychologists, have completed an internship and have begun practical activities. What do you need to know about referrals and how does therapy work?
Features of psychological assistance
Psychological assistance is an area of practical application of psychology. This is a specific work with people, which provides for many rules and restrictions. Psychological assistance includes:
- psychoprophylaxis (aimed at preventing possible problems);
- education (attending lectures or seminars on the structure of the human psyche, informing about the needs of the body and maintaining emotional health);
- counseling (psychological assistance to patients who are within the normal range of development, psychological adaptation and personal potential);
- psychodiagnostics (identification of problems and other psychological indicators through tests or conversation);
- psychotherapy (solving deep personal problems, personality transformation, getting rid of phobias or attitudes that interfere with quality life);
- psychiatry (complex therapy using medications and different approaches to the patient);
- psychocorrection (restoration of a normal emotional state and personality traits of a person).
All types of psychological assistance are somehow interconnected. They can be carried out by different specialists depending on education, experience and specialization.
There are several criteria for psychological assistance. One of them is the friendliness of the doctor. The patient should feel comfort and calm, not stress and shame for his own life. The psychologist must listen carefully, refuse to judge, focus on the norms / values of the patient, and not socially accepted attitudes. It is forbidden for a psychologist to give advice, this is the prerogative of a psychotherapist. Also, the doctor must guarantee complete anonymity and stop any attempts to make friends with the patient or have a romantic relationship outside the office. This will negate the objective assessment of actions on both sides and levels the therapy.
Features of psychotherapy
The human psyche can be compared to a computer program. Breakdowns that occur at different levels require specific correction and subsequent preventive measures. First, the therapist determines the level at which the person is failing and begins to formulate a sequence of exercises/tasks to get rid of the problem. The duration of therapy is determined in each case. The same psychotherapist can change a patient's life in one two-hour session, and in another case, study a person and his pathologies for months or years.
Every visit to a psychotherapist is strictly scheduled. Some (or all) sessions may have a psychologist present as an intern. So he develops skills and learns from a professional. If the patient is not ready to discuss his life with two people, then he warns the doctor about this and remains for a tête-à-tête conversation. At the first consultations, a person is asked to pass a mountain of tests that will indicate not his internal state, social phobia, some fears, but the final verdict is made only after an individual conversation. Then the psychotherapist draws up the theme of the visit, prescribes classes and exercises that a person should do in his presence and independently at home.
The first real results may occur after several weeks, months or even years, depending on the individual and the impact of external factors. The psychotherapist focuses on the changes that are happening to a person and gradually brings him to a new level, returning him to normal life.
What symptoms should be treated?
Every person has had situations in which he felt sadness, fear or pain. Sometimes these situations leave an indelible imprint on fate or simply do not allow you to sleep peacefully at night, make friends, do what you love. These situations can be rooted in childhood: lack of parental love, jokes from classmates, or the absence of all the delights of teenage life. Also, the psychological state is affected by the so-called "adult" problems: lack of a partner, low earnings, misunderstanding of life goals, and so on.
Not every person is able to get rid of the pain/fear/disappointment that daily pervades his thoughts. In this case, it is advisable to contact a psychotherapist. He will help to understand the root of the disorder, explain to the patient why he reacts so traumatically to this particular situation and offer several options for getting out of it.
Remember - visiting a psychologist to speak out or a psychotherapist to work through internal problems is not a shame. This is a completely normal practice, as is the annual trip to the dentist or general practitioner. The main thing is to choose a real professional who will be close to you in spirit and with whom there will be no embarrassment during therapy. Choose a specialist based on your internal needs and be healthy.