Thierry Bonfanti. Psicologo di formazione

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PsychotherapyWhat is psychotherapy?

The word “psychotherapy” contains the Greek root “terapeia” which means “healing”. Looking at its etymology, one would think that psychotherapy is therefore for the sick. But are those who decide to undergo therapy really ill? Precisely this might be one of the reasons why so many people are reticent towards psychologists. When someone suggests going to a psychologist, the reply is often “But I’m not mad!”. And the person is usually right. They are neither mad nor ill. Their only mistake might be in not letting themselves be helped. Despite the etymology of the term, undergoing psychotherapy does not necessarily mean “being ill”. However, the image of a mad person springs to mind and it is easier to admit one has a physical problem than a psychological one. Why do certain people undergo psychotherapy? Very often suffering is the reason. They might be facing a problem that needs to be solved at a specific moment in their lives. They might find themselves in a situation where they have to take an important decision, for example, a separation or a decisive professional decision. They might be dissatisfied with their lives in general, living in anxiety, feeling depressed. But they might also decide to follow this path for the simple reason that they want to get to know themselves better. Psychotherapy activates resources that are sometimes dormant, and that contribute to personal growth. Therapy is working on oneself. It is an opportunity to learn to talk about oneself more deeply. In this sense, it is also an opportunity to learn to communicate. A better understanding of oneself makes a better understanding of others possible. Psychotherapy can therefore also be seen as relationship training. This is even more so for group psychotherapy. While it is indispensable for a psychotherapist to have undergone psychotherapy, it would also be more than desirable for anyone working in the field of relations (teachers, educators, trainers, social assistants, mediators, etc.). From a therapeutic point of view, James Pennebaker’s research deserves mentioning (Emotion, Disclosure and Health and Opening Up to name just two of his key works). Indeed, Pennebaker has proven that there is a link between the expression of one’s own feelings and emotions on the one hand, and one’s health, both physical and psychological, on the other. The method used by psychotherapy aside, it appears that the simple fact of expressing one’s own emotions has a certain preventive and therapeutic effect. It should also be remembered that psychotherapy is not just a client (the patient) being treated by a health professional (the psychotherapist). It implies both the client’s participation and involvement. Accordingly, the result of psychotherapy depends both on the psychotherapist and the client. This is why if someone decides to undergo psychotherapy to please someone else, it hardly ever yields optimal results. Undergoing psychotherapy requires the will and desire to do so.

How long does psychotherapy last?

This question is difficult to answer. However, it would be incorrect to speak of psychotherapy to define a series of sessions spread over a couple of weeks. In this case it would be more correct to speak of “consultation” or “psychological support”. Non-directive intervention psychotherapy lasts as long as the person feels they need it. This means that it is the person themselves who ultimately decides whether it is opportune or not to continue psychotherapy, after having talked to their psychotherapist. It might last several months or years, depending on the case. The average frequency is a session lasting around 50 minutes once a week. However, this is not a hard and fast rule and I usually come to an agreement with my clients on an individual basis. It can vary depending on the client’s situation and needs.

What commitments are there for the client?

I personally do not ask any fixed commitments from my client/patient. Appointments are made from one session to the next. Appointments can be postponed. All I ask is at least 24-hours’s warning before any changes are made. Should that not be the case, the cost of the session remains unvaried, with the exception of acts of God.

How much does psychotherapy cost? How can I make an appointment?

At present, I charge Euro 80,00 per session. In Italy, the invoice I give you will allow you to recover 20% of the cost of psychotherapy for health costs when you do your income tax return. I only receive prior to appointment. You can phone me at +39 0461 868 001 or on my mobile +39 329 23 75 200.