How to Choose a Therapist

by Mary

I am interested in starting psychotherapy. Should I choose a therapist with a specific specialty? I mean how can I know if Psychoanalysis or Gnostic psychology is better for me? (sorry for my bad English).

Ben's Answer:

There are hundreds of different types of psychotherapists, and sub-types to choose from. It is best to trust your intuition to lead you. This is a vast subject and I couldn't possibly explain the differences of different types here. But since you mention two - I'll comment on those.

There are four major schools of thought that dominate: Psychodynamic, Behavioral/ Cognitive-Behavioral (CBT), Family Systems, and Humanistic schools. Each of these schools has a unique perspective on what causes problems and how to resolve them.

Psychoanaylsis comes from the traditional therapy of Freud, and while it has evolved in many ways, it still has the basic features of being 1)very long-term therapy, 2)often 3-4x/week sessions and 3)the client traditionally lies on a couch, while the therapist sits behind them, out of site and says very little while the client speaks whatever is on her mind. In this therapy, strong tranference takes place, meaning that you unconsciously begin to project onto the therapist,
feelings that you have towards your own parents. You might start to feel anger towards your therapist, because you have supressed anger towards your father. Expressing that anger towards the therapist, as a surrogate figure for your father would eventually lead you to a catharsis that would allow you to let go and move on. This is a long drawn out process. Some feel it has deep and permanent results when you see it through to it's completion, but this can take years.

Gnostic therapy is not a term I've heard before. Gnosis is related to intuition or direct knowing and as such is would be related to Humanistic or Transpersonal therapy - based on more of a present, here-and-now, experiential approach, where the therapist helps the client to be more self-aware, connected to real feelings and insights as they arise in the moment. Existential therapy also comes out of this branch of psychology. All of these types involve a deeply personal, authentic person to person connection with the therapist.

Then there is a whole newer field of psychology that is extremely exciting, called Energy Psychology, in which you will find techniques like EFT (meridian tapping), for deep, fast, and sometimes astonishing changes through accessing the energy centers in the body, such as the meridian system or chakras in order to change your emotional state, beliefs and consciousness.

All you can do is read about different types of therapy, and trust what feels right. Meet different therapists and ask them to explain what they do to help people. Then listen to your intuition.

Most therapists use a blend of all of the above. A smaller number of therapists hold true to just one specific orientation.

Best wishes,

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Dec 17, 2009
thank you
by: Anonymous

Thanks a lot for your response! I found it really helpfull and maybe I 'll use your site again in the future.
Best wishes and happy holidays!:):)

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