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Psychotherapy differently
How to find the right therapy/therapist ?

Psychotherapists follow a certain training. When people search a psychotherapist, they are often directed in function of the psychotherapists theoretical therapy school. The therapy school is on the first place important for the psychotherapist. It offers him or her a framework within which he can think about the complaint and the person. The way of working of a therapist can only partly be lead back to his theoretical training. Especially young psychotherapists work according to a school. Experienced psychotherapists also depart from a certain theoretical framework, but especially, they handle interventions which fit with their personality and which have proven to be successful in the past (psychotherapists also discover interventions by ‘trial and error’, and integrate interventions from different schools).

We plead to be especially attentive to the way of working of a psychotherapist, instead of stressing on how the therapist thinks about human behaviour (his theoretical background). After all, success of psychotherapy is largely dependent on the question whether patient and psychotherapist can work out a common project.

In the practice, psychotherapists handle different styles, which can be brought back to their personal preference and personality, more than to the theoretical background of the therapist. Psychotherapists work more and more integrative. They integrate notions, explanations and interventions from various origins in their personal style. Attention goes to understanding the origin of a problem, as well as to searching for solutions to lighten the suffering and enhance the quality of life.

Choosing a psychotherapy can be done using three criteria. These can serve as a guide in a first conversation.

The client factors: what do you expect from therapy (support versus confrontation), which kind of problems are concerned (behavior versus experience), can the therapist propose you something for this?

The therapist factors or the style (e.g. active versus awaiting and compliant or understanding versus confronting). These are two dimensions of style. Good therapists can move on these dimensions, when necessary being supportive and awaiting, but also confronting. Important for a therapy is the question whether it can click between the therapist and the patient. After all, a therapeutic relation is based on mutual trust. This has much to do with the therapists and patients personality. Where one would expect that good therapists use a specific style or method, research has shown that progress in the patient especially takes place when there is sufficient correspondence in style and way of looking at problems between patient and therapist.

A third criterion places the therapist on two other axes. Complaint-centered versus person-centered and exploring versus programmed. The question is whether stress is put on exploration, self-analysis and perception or more on working with tasks and a program. On the other hand, the emphasis can be put on the person (to question habits) or on the reduction of complaints (to work solutions focused, without questioning yourself as person). This is all about accents and in practice, therapists combine these approaches. As stereotypes the classical models of psychotherapy can easily be classified according to these axes (behavior therapy at the complaint-centered and programmed side and psychoanalysis at the person-directed explorative side).



For a definition of the classic therapy schools: Different types of psychotherapy

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