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Individual Therapy refers to psychotherapy with an individual client.

Often, a person enters individual therapy with the goal of reducing psychiatric symptoms and improving functioning. Additionally, they may also want to address situational stressors, family relations, life span issues or substance use disorders (“Psychotherapy,” 2016). 


Reasons to seek therapy include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed and your problems do not seem to improve.

  • Difficulty concentrating or performing daily activities.

  • Excessively worry and feeling on edge. 

  • Engaging in excessive substance use.

  • Problems with relationships.

  • Externalizing behaviors such as anger or aggression.

  • Cope with major life changes.

  • Problems with eating or sleep.


After deciding to seek therapy, consider:

  • What are the credentials and experience of the therapist? Does therapist have a specialty?

  • What are the goals of therapy? 

  • Has your therapist discussed the treatment plan with you (including diagnosis)?

  • What approach will the therapist take to help you and is it evidence based therapy? 

  • Does the therapist recommend a specific time frame or number of sessions? 

  • Are medications an option? How will medications be prescribed if the therapist is not an M.D.?


It is important to keep in mind that engaging in individual therapy may bring to the surface painful emotions, traumatic memories, and latent parts of oneself. However, with a skilled and attuned therapist, individual therapy has the potential to help overcome obstacles to wellbeing, increase positive feelings, learn new skills for coping with difficult situations, improve decision making, and help reach goals of symptom reduction and improved functioning (Norcross & Wampold, 2018). Interestingly, some individuals go to therapy simply for continued self-growth, even after their acute symptoms have subsided (Goodwin, 2015).

Dr. John Norcross Interview

Dr. John Norcross is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton and author of the acclaimed self-help book Changeology. He has authored over 400 publications and written many books on the field of psychotherapy, including the APA Handbook of Clinical Psychology and the Systems of Psychotherapy which currently in its 9th edition.  Dr. Norcross has received many awards, including Pennsylvania Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation, the Distinguished Contributions to Education & Training Award from APA, Fellow status in multiple associations, and election to National Academies of Practice.


Click below to find out more about Individual Therapy.


Dr. John Norcross


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