Fortunately, effective psychotherapy can provide more than symptom relief. Psychotherapy with a well-trained therapist offers a life-long relief for anxiety and depression. It can help people to change their attitudes, their self-defeating behaviors and their relationships. Effective therapy helps people to live more content, productive and satisfying lives. And when parents recover from depression, the prospects for their children improve dramatically as well.
So why isn’t psychotherapy more widely used? Two reasons. First, physicians and patients occasionally find immediate symptom relief with medication. Some believe that this short-term relief is as good as it gets. They may not recognize that a lasting solution is even available. Second, few graduate programs in psychiatry, social work or psychology provide in-depth training in psychotherapy. The emphasis is on evidence-based, short-term intervention. The result? Too few clinicians know how to treat anxiety and depression, and many patients get inadequate treatment.
The key to effective psychotherapy is the therapist. Who the therapist is as a person- not only what he or she knows – is of utmost importance. He or she is the instrument that largely determines the outcome of therapy. In order to develop effective therapists, our training must be intense. Typically, Fellows participate in 3-7 years of “on-the-job” training under the direct observation of experienced mentors. The Institute for Individual and Group Psychotherapy is the only program that provides such a demanding “apprenticeship” over this length of time. Is it really worth all this effort? We see positive results in changed lives every day.