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Individual Therapy for Adults

Individual therapy means working one-on-one with a mental health professional. Individual therapy is beneficial in that it provides a safe place for you to share your concerns and address uncomfortable symptoms. It also provides opportunities for personal growth. Every therapeutic relationship is unique and, for therapy to be effective, it is important that you feel safe and comfortable with the therapist you choose.

There are many different types of individual-based therapies, as well as various treatment styles. The approach a therapist chooses will depend on your presenting issues and on therapist training. Some common treatment approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, and Art Therapy, to name a few. Often, therapists use a blend of approaches in their work. We invite you to read through the Types of Therapy listed in our Mental Health Resources page to learn more about the different approaches to individual therapy.

There are some aspects of individual therapy that are common across most treatment methods. When starting individual therapy, you can expect the therapist to take some time to learn about your concerns and your goals for treatment. The therapist will work collaboratively with you to create a plan that includes recommendations about treatment approach and duration. During therapy, you can expect to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You may be encouraged to explore aspects of your history, or uncover things that you have bottled up over time. You may be taught hands on coping skills, such as mindfulness and relaxation. Some therapists encourage practical exercises between sessions to further the therapeutic work.

Therapy can feel challenging at times, and everyone proceeds at a different rate. Some may participate in individual therapy for a few months, and others may benefit from a year or more of individual work. On some days you might leave a session feeling relieved and relaxed, and at other times sad or angry. Things may get harder before they get better. All of this is a normal part of the therapy process and contributes to the healing benefits of individual therapy.

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