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f your back hurts, chances are

Psychotherapy— This style of therapy is much

I that the best solution is to rest


it and hope the pain goes
away. Most of the time it will.
But if the discomfort persists, it
can be useful to seek help. A
It’s Not What
You Think
more effective and efficient than
old-fashioned, “deep”procedures.
Is it always as effective? Gener-
ally, the science studies suggest
it is much more effective. Does it
skilled professional such as a always work? Of course not — but
chiropractor, osteopath, or mas- it usually does. Most people feel
sage therapist can provide therapy much better by the end of the very
that may assist the healing proc- first session.
ess. Such assistance may not al- Psychotherapy has an intimi-
ways be 100 percent effective, but dating history. There are images
will often result in a welcome of Victorian couches, dim light-
degree of improvement. ing, heavily bearded old men, and
Similarly, if you are stressed, the requirement to expose any-
depressed, or feeling a bit over- thing and everything about your-
whelmed with current life chal- self — whether it seems relevant
lenges, chances are that the best or not — all directed toward some
solution is to make sure you get distant and uncertain therapeu-
some exercise and a few good tic goal. Little wonder, then, that
nights’ sleep. Most of the time, most people under distress take
you will feel better soon. But if care to avoid psychotherapy. Af-
these feelings persist, it can be ter all, who needs this sort of
useful to seek help. In this case, by Douglas J. Lisle, Ph.D. aggravation? But psychotherapy
the skilled helper can be a psy- isn’t like that anymore. It’s not
chologist — a person trained to what you think. Today, if you are
help you get moving in the right stressed or confused by personal
direction. relationships, job issues, monetary concerns, addictive strug-
Unfortunately, most people do not think about seeking gles, weight management challenges, or other stressors, you
psychological help when they are feeling stressed. One rea- may benefit by seeking help. Skilled guidance from a pro-
son is that most people still equate psychotherapy with a deep fessional psychologist can save you a great deal of unneces-
and mysterious process that requires months or years — with sary distress, and get you moving more quickly toward the
some undefined goal of insight or personality change. They life you deserve.
don’t want to spend months or years being analyzed, and so
they avoid seeking help. This makes sense. But modern psy-
chotherapy isn’t what they think it is.
Perhaps modern psychotherapy should have a new name. To order your copy of The
In fact, a new name for such assistance is beginning to emerge Pleasure Trap, please see page
— called “life coaching.” Life coaching is really at the core 43.You can contact Dr. Lisle by
of the psychotherapy enterprise. Psychotherapy is all about calling (707) 586-5555.
coaching — about helping you to see new ways of looking at
situations, and about showing you new ways of dealing with
life challenges. If you are worried about looking for a new
job, for example, a modern psychotherapist would not spend
two years with you, at three sessions per week, analyzing how
Douglas J. Lisle, Ph.D., is a licensed
childhood issues are somehow causing your current concerns. psychologist. He is the Director of
A modern psychotherapist would instead help show you to Research at TrueNorth Health Center
more effectively look for a job, to prepare you for job inter- and is in private practice in Rohnert
views, and to map out strategies for greater success in the Park, California. Dr. Lisle is the co-
workplace. The whole process usually takes just a few ses- author of The Pleasure Trap: Mastering
the Hidden Force that Undermines
sions, and is covered by most insurance.
Health and Happiness.

NATIONAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION H E A LT H S C I E N C E ■ FALL/WINTER 2003 19