What Therapy is Not

I want to note that treatment for mental health is typically quite different from treatment for physical ailments. In our Westernized culture, the expectation that people have when they visit a medical doctor is that they will receive a diagnosis and will be given a treatment (e.g. a medication, or a surgery) that corresponds to that diagnosis. Oftentimes this can be a somewhat passive process for people--they are diagnosed, they are treated, and then if all goes right, they are better. By contrast, therapy requires active engagement from a participant, and while initial diagnoses can provide a starting point for treatment, therapy is often a process that unfolds over time as the person and therapist develop a relationship with one another, rather than the more routine type of process that typifies Westernized medicine. While some healing will likely occur from a person simply feeling understood and cared about, the deepest growth usually occurs when people progressively take emotional risks in their lives, both inside and outside the therapy room, that allow them to master the challenges they face. The therapist provides the feedback, support, and safety needed to facilitate those risks.