Individual therapy is a collaborative process between you and your therapist at Puglisi Counseling that provides the ability to work through personal stressors or life experiences that have been causing difficulties. Together, the therapist and client work together utilizing various treatment models to focus on improving quality of life and inspiring change based on the clients’ goals and desires. People often engage in individual therapy to find healing and hope for issues that are too difficult to face alone.
The goal of individual therapy is to help clients achieve the ability to feel more centered, grounded and calm. Puglisi Counseling can help you learn how to emotionally regulate, tolerate distressing moments, and improve your ability to effectively communicate with others. You can look forward to discovering the necessary tools that will help you achieve goals, make healthy decisions, and become more self-aware.

When is it best to seek therapy?

Many individuals seek therapy for a number of different reasons. Some believe it is time to seek therapy when they are having some stressors in life and need to learn how to cope, whereas others seek therapy as a means of finding the guidance to handle life transitions. Most people can find benefit in individual therapy at some point in their life due to a variety of reasons. Sometimes, individuals find obvious reasons why they need to seek mental health services, but for others it may not be as easy to decide. Something may feel slightly off and the individual cannot figure out exactly what is happening, but they continue with their busy life trying to manage until the point where it becomes unbearable. However, how can we know it’s time to seek therapy before life becomes unmanageable?
It could be time to seek therapy if you are finding yourself unable to cope with life’s demands and you are finding yourself becoming easily stressed. Perhaps you have realized that you are more short-tempered or anxious than usual. Sometimes, individuals are finding they are relying more on unhealthy coping patterns such as overeating, excessive drinking, oversleeping, or relying on the comfort of another’s presence more heavily. Difficulty regulating emotions can be a sure sign that you may need the assistance of a mental health professional to help ensure your emotions are serving you well.
However, there are many other reasons for seeking therapy beyond difficulty regulating emotions. You may be struggling to achieve the life goals you had planned for yourself and now have this “stuck feeling”. Maybe there are some difficulties within your relationship, and you want to learn how to improve your circumstances. Major life events can also trigger a need for seeking mental health services, such as starting a new job, becoming a new parent, or moving to a new state.
Have you found yourself needing the service of a mental health professional, but you are avoidant? You are not alone! It is not uncommon for people to find themselves avoidant of seeking support and there are many reasons for this including:
If you are finding yourself becoming avoidant for any of these reasons, it is important to work through this avoidance by understanding the nature of why you feel the way you do. Mental health care has become increasingly popular throughout not only the United States, but the entire world. There are many reasons individuals seek support and it is not one size fits all. Your individual sessions with your therapist will be unique and designed to fit your needs as best as possible. It can be helpful to understand that our mental health clinicians are trained professionals that can help you work through your difficulties with compassion, kindness, support and most importantly while maintaining confidentiality.

What can individual therapy help with?

Counseling, therapy and woman therapist talking to client in a consultation or counseling conversat

What to expect during an individual therapy session

The first session in individual therapy is called the Intake. This is where the therapist and client work together to gather information that focuses on a variety of topics including physical and mental health history, as well as the reasoning behind what is bringing you for services. During the intake, you will have the opportunity to provide your therapist with specific information that will help guide the focus of treatment sessions. However, it is important to keep in mind that it may take your clinician several sessions to have a good understanding of your situation.
Finding a clinician you’re comfortable with is vital to successful treatment. That is why we find real importance and value in ensuring you feel your therapist is the right fit. However, it is imperative that the clinician is given sufficient time to determine if you and they are a good fit. This may not happen on the first day of treatment, especially when the session can feel more focused on gathering information rather than solutions to what led to seeking services. It is important that you communicate your expectations to your therapist including your treatment goals, how you want sessions to be structured, and how many sessions you feel you may need.
As treatment progresses, you may find it difficult to engage in conversation regarding intense experiences that elicit negative emotions, which is completely normal. As you continue to work with your therapist, you will find it more comfortable to explore these areas. When you do, some intense emotions may arise, which is totally normal, and you can expect that your therapist will help guide you through and help keep you emotionally regulated.
A common method in individual therapy involves receiving therapeutic homework that helps reinforce the tools provided in session. Homework is sometimes a critical component of the therapeutic process, as it allows for you to continue your treatment and progress in between sessions. Depending on the topic or coping skill discussed, this could look like specific activities such as journaling, reciting positive affirmations, breathing exercises among other assignments with the goal of promoting a positive mood and increasing healthier thinking patterns.
In the therapy process, confidentiality is the utmost important concept and clients should discuss any concerns regarding this with their clinician. During the first session, your clinician should explain the limits of confidentiality and provide written guidelines that can outline the process in the event confidentiality will not be possible.

How Does Individual Therapy Work?

There are a vast number of forms of therapy that can be utilized in individual sessions. However, depending on specific needs, some types of treatment will work better than others. It is often common for a clinician to combine therapeutic frameworks when working individually with a client to best address their needs.
One of the most common forms of individual therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is a therapeutic framework that is incredibly powerful in improving one’s ability to make connections between our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. As a result of making these connections, we often find a significant reduction in depressive and anxiety symptoms and improve your quality of life. CBT places an emphasis on changing thinking and behavioral patterns through various strategies that the clinician and client develop together.
Though, it is important to note that not all individual sessions have to involve CBT and some methods may work more effectively depending on the circumstances. For instance, when an individual is coming to therapy for symptoms related to a personality disorder, it would be more effective to be treated by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) instead. In DBT, treatment will look a little different than that of someone treated with CBT. Using DBT, the therapist will focus on four modalities of skills including mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. These skills are often essential in helping individuals achieve a sense of capability in managing intense emotions, reducing impulsive behaviors, and improve social functioning.
At Puglisi Counseling, we are proud to offer multiple treatment modalities that can benefit the client regardless of what they are going through. Our team has extensive experience in treating many mental health disorders and emotional difficulties that includes, but is not limited to trauma, anxiety, depression, LGBTQ issues, personality disorders as well as everyday stressors.
Our clinicians utilize various interventions to help clients achieve their goals such as:
As licensed clinicians, we use a strength-based approach with compassion and empathy for treatment. Utilizing various treatment interventions, we can work together to bring change.
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How long do individual therapy sessions last?

Depending on the circumstances of the client, individual therapy sessions can range from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. However, the amount of time and how often sessions occur are dependent on several factors including but not limited to:
For some individuals, some difficulties can be addressed in a short time. However, individuals with more complex or chronic mental health afflictions may require long-term treatment. Progress can be different for each individual and should never be rushed or forced, in order to sustain lasting improvements.

How effective is individual therapy?

Ultimately, the individual is the driving factor in how effective individual therapy helps improve symptoms and reach set goals. Individual therapy will be different for every individual and cannot be guaranteed to “cure” what afflictions you may be facing. However, with determination and desire, it can help develop healthier ways of managing unwanted emotions and behaviors, as well as improve the ability to engage in social interactions in a positive manner.
There is much research to support the effectiveness of individual therapy and how symptoms improve over time. Many individuals have found success in improving their quality of life and sustaining desired outcomes long-term after therapy has finished. There is much research to also support that therapy is often more effective long term than some psychotropic medications will achieve alone. The therapeutic interventions utilized by Puglisi Counseling are considered evidence-based, which means they have been researched and subjected to clinical observations to ensure that they can help clients improve.
One of the key components to successful therapy will also be finding the right clinician that is a good fit. When you find comfort and trust in your therapist, you are more likely to cooperate and engage in the therapeutic process in a more effective way. Honesty and trust in the therapeutic relationship is vital to ensure clinicians can find the right form of treatment approach that will greatly improve your needs. Some days you may find it hard to go to therapy because it is easier to avoid the difficult parts we do not want to deal with, but it is essential that each session is attended, and homework assigned is completed. With the assistance of your clinician, and being patient, open, and honest, you will be able to lead the life you want.
Finding a clinician you’re comfortable with and cooperating with them can help you get the most out of treatment. When you’re open and honest, clinicians generally are better able to address each issue and adjust the treatment approach as needed. Going to therapy might feel difficult on some days. But it’s important to attend each session and complete any homework assigned. Being patient and sticking to the treatment plan can facilitate long-term success in therapy.
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