We set up a first appointment (first interview) with the chosen professional to meet him/her in person and evaluate if there can be a suitable "fit" that puts us at ease (setting, atmosphere, appearance and ways, etc.) and to be able to ask all the questions we feel we need to ask, including any competence and specialization in the problem that led us to contact him/her.
In subsequent interviews, they shall agree or define together:
Depending on the method and theoretical approach of the professional, a psychotherapy can be short (some sessions) if the problem is very limited and focused and does not require a comprehensive restructuring / analysis of the client, average (about 1 year / 1 year and a half), or longer (more than two years) if the necessary change proves difficult, tiring and still in need of support / support for a long time.
By definition, psychotherapy does not provide, except in specific cases to be evaluated, for a pharmacological intervention, but this intervention can and must sometimes be considered for certain pathologies (depression, panic attacks, etc.). Research suggests that, for example, medium and high grade depressive diseases respond better to a combination of psychotherapy and drug therapy. The latter must be prescribed, in agreement with the psychologist, by a psychiatrist.
The frequency depends on the availability of the client and the technique used by the professional, but on average once a week.
The Psychiatrist is a medical doctor specialized in psychiatry. He is as qualified as a psychologist to make a psychopathological diagnosis and, if registered in the appropriate list, can to carry out psychotherapeutic activity. He may also prescribe psychotropic drugs.
The end of psychotherapy must be agreed upon by client and professional, whether the desired results have been achieved or (and I would say especially) if the results are not satisfactory: in this case it is particularly important that professional and client openly and honestly discuss the factors (personal or social) that may have hindered progress. In some cases it is certainly appropriate to consider also the transfer of another professional with whom to resume interrupted work.
As with all professional services, the result cannot be guaranteed (those who guarantee it must be seen from the outset with mistrust...), because it depends not only on the motivation for progress (which is, however, indispensable), but on many variables not necessarily under the control of the professional and the client.
Studies on the effectiveness of psychotherapy indicate that:
The psychologist is the only professional authorized by Italian law to make psychological diagnosis and intervention. Art. 1 of Law 56 of 18 February 1989, which established the profession of psychologist in Italy, states: "The profession of psychologist includes the use of cognitive tools and intervention for prevention, diagnosis, qualification-rehabilitation and psychological support activities aimed at the person, group, social organizations and communities. Any professional intervention that touches the assessment and/or intervention on the psychological sphere is therefore reserved to the psychologist regularly registered with the Psychological Association. Over time, various rulings by the Supreme Court have condemned non-psychologists for having carried out interventions that fall within the exclusivity of the psychologist. To carry out psychotherapeutic activities (and therefore to treat psychopathology), a further four-year specialization is required.
Depending on the professional's experience, the hourly rate currently varies between 40 and 100 Euros. There is also a price list which can be consulted on the Psychological Association website (www.opl.it).
There is no "right age", because at every stage of life there may be a problem or obstacle that limits our well-being and self-determination. Some problems are typical of childhood or youth, others of adulthood, others of old age. It is important to choose the "right professional", who is therefore particularly experienced in the field in which the problem/pathology occurs: learning, school, work, addiction, neurosis, etc.