This varies slightly from therapist from therapist and from client to client, but typically therapy involves:
- An assessment, which may include any or all of the following: interviews, observation, review of records, behavior rating scales, biological, psychological and social history, and/or mental health evaluation.
- Development of a treatment plan, which includes goals and objectives, therapeutic interventions and estimated length of treatment.
- Implementation of treatment plan.
- Ongoing assessment, discussion of progress, and revisions to the treatment plan as appropriate.
- Completion or termination of treatment when satisfactory progress has been made or treatment goals are achieved.
- Aftercare planning for follow-up care to maintain gains and prevent relapse if needed or desired by the client.
It is important to remember that psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have benefits for people who go through it. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress, but there are no guarantees of what you will experience.