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Do I really need therapy if I'm already taking medication?

When it comes to mental health or addiction, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach.  Some people respond very well to talk therapy alone, while others may need medication to assist with the process.  When combined with therapy, medication can be an important part of the treatment process.
I emphasize the word "part" because unlike antibiotics, psychotropic medications do not cure the disorder but rather help you to feel better in order to function and fully participate in the process of recovery.  Medication without therapy is like a Band-Aid; it covers the cut, but the cut is still there.  It isn't the Band-Aid that heals the cut but rather the body doing the work of repairing the wound.  Likewise, therapy is the work that is required to heal the wound, and the medication provides cover (alleviates symptoms) to allow you to do the work.
Recent posts

What is "Normal" When it Comes to Emotions?

By: Kari Mika-Lude
Q: What is "normal" when it comes to emotions?  How will I know if I actually have a problem?
The dictionary defines normal as "conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected".  But who determines what is standard, usual, typical, or expected?  Society, I suppose... which makes "normal" a matter of opinion.  
What I will say is that the human experience brings with it a variety of emotions.  When you really break it down, emotions - even the ones that don't feel so great - serve a purpose.  For one thing, they provide feedback about what's going on around us and help us navigate through our day-to-day lives and potentially hazardous situations.  If you've ever gotten that prickly feeling on the back of your neck or that fluttering in your chest, then you've had an emotional response (fear) that told you something wasn't right (danger?) and to get the heck outta there!  
Emotions also help us communicate with ea…

What is therapy, and how long does it take?

By: Kari Mika-Lude
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines therapy as “a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a [therapist]”.  Therapist is a general term used to describe professional counselors, psychologists, social workers, and even psychiatrists who provide therapy services.  Other terms, such as counseling and psychotherapy, are often used interchangeably and, for the most part, mean the same thing. 
To put it more simply, therapy is simply partnering with a professional to work through particular symptoms or stressors.  And I emphasize the word work because therapy can be tough!  The role of the therapist is to offer guidance, support, and encouragement through the use of evidence-based treatment strategies.  The therapist’s responsibility is to push clients to think for themselves, make their own choices, and work through their healing.  If the therapist does all the problem-solving, the client then becomes dependent on the th…

Understanding Mental Health Meds

When it comes to mental health or addiction, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach.Some people respond very well to talk therapy alone, while others may need medication to assist with the process.When combined with therapy, medication can be an important part of the treatment process.
It is important to note that unlike antibiotics, psychotropic medications do not cure the disorder but rather help you to feel better in order to function and fully participate in the process of recovery.Medication without therapy is like a Band-Aid; it covers the cut, but the cut is still there.It isn’t the Band-Aid that heals the cut but rather the body doing the work of repairing the wound.The Band-Aid merely provides a cover to allow the body to do its work.Likewise, therapy is the work that is required to heal the wound, and the medication alleviates symptoms to allow you to do the work.
Medications work by changing the imbalance of chemicals in the brain.These chemicals, also known as neur…

Beyond the Magic Wand

By: Kari Mika-Lude
A good therapist is always working himself or herself out of a job.In other words, the most basic goal of therapy is to no longer need therapy.However, the therapist can only do so much.The therapist’s role is not to solve problems or make things better.Unfortunately, therapists are not magicians or wizards, and there is no magic wand.
Consider physical therapy for a moment.In physical therapy, there is a therapist.The role of the physical therapist is to facilitate the healing process through the use of exercises, education, and so on.Ultimately, the work itself falls on the patient; if the patient does not do her part, then healing will not take place.Physical therapy can be a long and painful process, but that pain is accepted as a means to an end.The therapist’s job is similar to that of a coach, offering guidance, support, and encouragement throughout the process, but if the therapist does not push the patient to stand on her own, the patient is left leaning on t…

Unique, Not Special

By: Kari Mika-Lude
Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemy.  We belittle and berate ourselves, blame ourselves for things we could not have foreseen or prevented, and then we wonder why we are left feeling defeated and stressed.  One of the most common ways we do this to ourselves is by personalizing things that just aren’t personal.
For example, let’s say you send an email to a potential employer about a job posting.  You are really excited about the job opportunity and are eager to hear back.  You begin checking your email every few hours, hoping to see a response in your inbox.  A few days pass, and still nothing.  Where does your mind go with that?  More than likely, you are telling yourself that you were an idiot to think that you could ever get the job, the person reading your résumé is laughing at you, and you should just crawl into a hole and never come out. 
On the other hand, if it were your friend instead of you, you would probably be more rational and remind your friend that h…