Individual therapy (working one-on-one with a therapist or counselor) helps you to develop trust and take the risk of sharing struggles that may be hard to express. It is also a place to learn and practice some new ways of thinking about difficult situations and relationships that are troubling you. This can be a rapid process of exploring, discovering, changing some behaviors, and leaving treatment. Or it can be a longer process of bigger changes to enduring patterns. Building a relationship with an individual therapist who you feel you can trust takes some time, and it also requires your therapist to have some essential qualities:

Your therapist needs to be very knowledgeable about different ways people can struggle with feelings, complicated histories, defensive strategies that are backfiring, and traumatic events that are hard to process. There are many reasons people seek psychotherapy, so it is helpful when therapists have a great depth of knowledge and the creativity to adapt psychological principles to a wide range of situations. 

Your therapist also needs to be someone with whom you actually feel comfortable in the room. You should have a sense early on that your therapist really gets you on some ‘gut’ or intuitive level. Is there a real warmth or liking that you are experiencing? This is important for doing difficult work in psychotherapy. 

The therapist’s personality and therapeutic approach or “theoretical orientation” needs to fit you and what you are needing at this time (it’s not you who needs to adjust to fit the therapist). A therapist might be quite effective with some clients but not with you. Some people would feel very soothed and comforted by a warm, accepting, and emotionally open therapist. But for others, that same therapist might seem fake and annoying. Some people want a more blunt, direct therapist who ‘doesn’t pull punches’ as long as they are being honest, and know what they are doing. But other people might experience that kind of therapist as harsh, pushy, or emotionally unsafe. Finding a therapist with a style that works for you is important and some therapists are very consistent about how they ‘show up’ (which can be helpful) while others have more wide-ranging and adaptable personalities (which also can be helpful). 

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We've simplified the process of finding a great therapist for you. Well, at least we hope we have! With our search tool, you can specify the services you need, your preferred therapeutic approaches, location, session types, and particular challenges you're dealing with. Selecting these options will filter the list of therapists. If your selections are too restrictive, try deleting some of the challenges or approaches, or selecting a slightly different (but related) option to see who appears.

Search for the Right Therapist

At the Colorado Center for Clinical Excellence in Denver and Greenwood Village, we offer a broad range of therapists with varying approaches, personalities, styles of work, and training backgrounds to make sure our clients have some choices about who might be the one who works best for them at this time in their lives. Goals change, and needs change. So, we expect that on occasion, our clients may even change therapists in the midst of their treatment to pivot into a different way of approaching their difficulties.  Feel free to explore more about us by clicking on our images. If you’re unable to find the right fit, we might have other colleagues outside our practice we can recommend. We are happy to refer to trusted colleagues in the community. Please call 303-547-3700, or submit the short online form, or reach out to any of us at our direct phone numbers, to get started.

Indicators That Individual Therapy Could be Helpful

Individual therapy is not the only way to do psychotherapy, but it is the “standard” way–tried and true for many people, while other methods like couples therapy, group therapy, or family therapy can also be beneficial. Sometimes, individual therapy is the most helpful approach to working through your struggles, and sometimes family therapy, group therapy, or couples therapy can be more effective. You can discuss this with your therapist at the outset. Individual therapy allows for the building of trust and delving into the struggle you are having with consistency and continuity over time. 

The relationship is key here. This is not just about your therapist “giving good information” or “providing the answer.” You can get those from a book, or a youtube video, or maybe artificial intelligence. There is no shortage of canned advice and simple solutions to complex problems. But, for someone to really get to know you over time and understand your struggles or the way you are getting stuck from a more complex and human dimension, and to help you unravel these things and find new ways of being, coping, or feeling, it takes a real person (real in every sense) to connect with you over time. Below are some key indicators that might suggest you could experience significant benefits from engaging in one-on-one counseling:

Persistent Feelings of Sadness or Hopelessness: If you’re constantly feeling down, hopeless, or struggling to find joy in activities you once loved (or if you realize you have never really been a joyful or happy person), this could be a sign that therapy may be helpful to work through what is keeping you in this emotional valley. 

Anxiety Interfering with Daily Life: While experiencing anxiety is a normal (even essential) part of life, if it’s frequently overwhelming and disrupting your everyday activities, it might be time to seek professional help. Fear is a very important feeling to have, and learning how to interact with it more effectively so it doesn’t take over is a skill you can learn in therapy.

Difficulty Coping with Stress: If you’re finding it increasingly hard to cope with stress, whether from work, relationships or other areas of life, a therapist can provide strategies and techniques to manage it better. Or therapy can even help you sort through some fundamental changes that might reduce your stress, but you have been too afraid to make. 

Struggling with Relationships: If you’re having recurring issues in your personal or professional relationships, individual therapy can help you understand problematic patterns and develop healthier ways of relating to others. Group therapy or couples therapy can help these patterns surface in a “live” way to be worked on, while individual therapy can be a safe way to delve deeper in a more concentrated way.

Experiencing Trauma: If you’ve been through a traumatic event, or a series of events that you can’t finish processing, a therapist who is skilled with trauma resolution can provide support and help you ‘metabolize’ and move past the traumatic experience.

Feeling Isolated or Alone: If you’re feeling disconnected or isolated, therapy can provide a safe space to express these feelings and explore ways to connect or reconnect into satisfying, fun, real, and meaningful relationships and friendships. Sometimes group therapy is very helpful for this, but individual therapy can be 

Dealing with Major Life Changes: Significant transitions like moving, changing jobs, divorce, or loss can be stressful or devastating. A therapist can help you navigate these changes and the emotions they bring up.

Negative Thought Patterns: If you often find yourself stuck in negative thoughts or self-criticism, doing individual therapy can provide strategies to break these patterns and foster a more positive mindset. The repetition of these patterns over multiple sessions can make it easier for your therapist to address in individual therapy.

Remember, it’s okay to seek help, and reaching out to a therapist is a courageous step towards improving your mental health and the quality of your life. We only get one life, so if you are unsatisfied and things aren’t moving or developing in the direction you need, consider reaching out to a professional–the right one for you–for support.

Exploring the Advantages of Individual Counseling

Individual therapy offers a wide range of benefits, providing vital support for individuals navigating various life challenges. Here are some of the key advantages:

Personalized Attention: One-on-one sessions with a therapist ensure you receive undivided attention and care tailored to your specific needs. Our therapists check every session to see if the quality of that attention is needing improvement in some way.

Safe and Confidential Environment: Individual therapy provides privacy for you to express your emotions and thoughts freely and discuss very sensitive and difficult situations. A surprising number of our clients come from law enforcement, aviation, and security-clearance-oriented professions where privacy and secrecy is of paramount importance. While there are some very specific dangers we are required to report for reasons of safety, we can talk at length about those limits before you start, or if at any time there is a concern about what you might want to share being totally confidential.  

Improved Self-Understanding: Therapy helps you gain insights into your behaviors, feelings and thoughts, fostering self-awareness and understanding. The more you understand, the more choices and creativity you can apply to situations that you may have been responding to in an automatic way.

Problem-Solving Skills: Therapists can teach you effective strategies and techniques for problem-solving, enhancing your ability to manage life’s challenges. We track with you along the way to see if the way we are helping you is actually resulting in changes in your well-being and how well you feel that you are managing your life. 

Coping Mechanisms: Therapy can equip you with practical coping mechanisms to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and other emotional difficulties. These are the “tools in the toolbox” that people sometimes talk about when they go to therapy. The tools are important but so is the ability to know when, how, and with whom to use them.

Boosted Self-Esteem and Confidence: Through therapy, you can work on self-esteem issues, ultimately boosting your confidence and improving your self-image. The roots of not feeling good about ourselves can run deep and start early. By unpacking the early messages and lessons we learned, we can sometimes get more traction in changing these messages, noticing the real difference between who we are in the world and those old ways of seeing ourselves, and then feeling genuinely good about ourselves.

Improved Relationships: Therapy can provide you with tools to communicate more effectively, enhancing your interpersonal relationships. We did not receive an instruction book and many of us lacked good models for healthy communication, especially when we are feeling threatened, scared, or hurt. Developing great ways of effectively communicating our real experiences, desires, fears, etc. can do wonders for creating and maintaining deeply satisfying relationships.

Remember, each therapy experience is personal and unique to the two individuals in the room, and the benefits you gain can vary widely depending on how these two people work together. By getting ongoing feedback from you every session about how change is progressing and how the process is experienced, we hope to maximize the chances that your experience in individual therapy is life-changing. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Individual Therapy

What is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy, also known as psychotherapy or counseling, is a process where a trained therapist works one-on-one with an individual to explore their feelings, beliefs, or behaviors, work through challenging or painful memories, identify aspects of their lives they would like to change, better understand themselves and others, set personal goals, and work toward desired change.

How Long Does Each Therapy Session Last?

Typically, an individual therapy session lasts between 45 minutes to 60 minutes. However, the duration can vary depending on the therapist’s approach and the client’s needs.

How Often Should I Attend Therapy Sessions?

The frequency of sessions can vary widely depending on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s most common to start with weekly sessions, although some people may benefit from more or less frequent sessions. Some forms of individual therapy, including intensive therapy or psychoanalysis, occur 2-5 times per week for an extended period of time.

How Is Individual Therapy Different From Group Therapy?

In individual therapy, you work one-on-one with a therapist, which allows for personalized attention and care. Group therapy involves one or more therapists working with several individuals in the room at the same time. Both have their benefits and can be used separately or in conjunction. Many people do both individual therapy and group therapy each week to work on different aspects of their growth or recovery (sometimes with different therapists).

Is Everything I Share in Therapy Confidential?

Yes, therapists are bound by professional codes of ethics and laws to maintain the confidentiality of their clients. There are only a few exceptions to this rule, such as when there is an imminent risk of death, or when there is reason to believe a child or similarly vulnerable person has been abused.

How Do I Know if Therapy is Working?

Signs that therapy is working can include feeling better, achieving your therapy goals, improved relationships and better management of emotions. It is important to remember that progress can sometimes be slow and is often non-linear.

Can I Switch Therapists if I Need To?

Absolutely. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your therapist. If for any reason you feel the need to switch, discuss this with your current therapist or seek help from another professional. Often, seeking that second opinion provides a lot of clarity about whether the dissatisfaction is something to wrestle with in your current therapy (conflict or conflict-avoidance are sometimes important things to work through) or whether stopping therapy or switching therapists is therapeutic.

How Long Does Therapy Usually Last?

The length of therapy can vary greatly depending on the individual and their specific needs. Some people may find benefit in a few sessions, while others may engage in therapy for several months or several years. Sometimes, a person comes to therapy thinking that it will take years, and finds they make tremendous progress in a few months. Other times, a person comes in to work on a specific problem but finds that there are a lot of other issues tangled up with that problem that may benefit from a much longer process than they had imagined. The choice is always up to you whether to continue with therapy or any particular therapist. And any therapist who knows what they are doing will not be hurt or threatened in the least by you questioning the process, or getting a second opinion about how to proceed. Psychotherapists should understand more than most professionals the necessity of questioning or doubting the professionals!

There are thousands of psychotherapists and counselors in Denver and surrounding communities. But there are not thousands of great psychotherapists. So, remember, it’s always okay to ask questions and get the information you need to make the best decision for your mental health and get the best help available. Always.

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