Therapy – whether individual, couples, or group – works on the premise that humans are social creatures and survive and thrive based on relationships. We need relationships, and because we need relationships, when relationships have been broken – either by abuse, neglect, or loss – we experience various levels of emotional distress which often are masked by unwanted behavior such as aggression, isolation, accommodation, or substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.).
Why therapy can help is that if it is relationship that can complicate our emotional life, it is relationship that can help us repair our emotional life. New ways of relating to others can begin with a therapist, someone who is trained to listen, empathize, understand, and interpret.
In addition to the relationship with the therapist aiding in the healing process, a therapist can help clients bring other family members, especially spouses and partners, into therapy in order to work on not only improving those relationships but also helping clients use those relationships in ways that are adaptive to their own healing.
For those clients prepared for more interactive therapy, group therapy, usually involving 4-6 group members and lead by a licensed and experienced therapist, provides even more opportunity for healthy and corrective relational exposure.
As well as being as a bridge to new and healthier way of relating, therapists are knowledgeable in other forms of therapeutic work which include at-home exercises like Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), trauma-based therapeutic techniques such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and community resources like recovery groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Codependents Anonymous, etc.).