The goal of psychology month is to raise awareness about the role that psychology plays in our lives, including our communities and workplaces. To that end, I wanted to write about a topic that is critical for those seeking help: What promotes psychological change?
There is heated debate about which approaches will best address depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. Rather than arguing, I would rather focus on where we can find consensus. What helps people to change in therapy? The following principles have been associated with psychological change (adapted from Goldfried, 2019):
- Providing the client with hope that therapy can help.
- The establishment of a bond between the therapist and client, along with a shared understanding about the tasks of therapy.
- Helping clients to become aware of what is contributing to their difficulties.
- Encouraging clients to have corrective experiences. That is, experiences that are different from what they have known before.
The decision to enter therapy is a leap of faith. It is no easy feat to explore our minds, our behaviors, and to contemplate real change. If one chooses to embark on this journey, I encourage them to do so thoughtfully. It is important to understand the differences between mental health professionals, so you may find one who best suits your needs. To learn more about mental health professionals and psychology in Alberta, please visit:
Goldfried, M. (2019). Obtaining consensus in psychotherapy: What holds us back? American Psychologist, 74 (4), 484-496.