Dr. Jan Mark Burte, Ph.D., MSCP, DAAPM, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jan Mark Burte - Home Page Dr. Jan Mark Burte - Clinical Sports Psychology Dr. Jan Mark Burte - Pain Management Dr. Jan Mark Burte - Psychotherapy Dr. Jan Mark Burte - Hypnosis


Dr. Jan Mark Burte - Psychotherapy



Psychotherapy is the process of helping individuals understand how their thoughts, belief systems, behaviors and emotions interact. It may focus on earlier in life experiences, current issues or concerns and beliefs about the future. There are a myriad of different orientations or ways in which therapists conduct psychotherapy.

Two primary concerns exist which may influence the effectiveness of psychotherapy. The first is the training of the therapist. Unfortunately in many states, there are only limited guidelines governing who can call themselves a psychotherapist. However, there are strict guidelines on who may call themselves a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, certified social worker or mental health counselor. Individuals who have received appropriate training and met their state requirements for licensure or certification represent the group of professionals recognized to provide psychotherapy. Dr. Burte believes that individuals seeking treatment should be wary of anyone professing proficiency as a psychotherapist who has not fulfilled these requirements.


Secondly, even once you’ve hopefully selected a therapist from this group you should ask questions as to the training and experience they have in the orientation or treatment philosophy they employ with regards to the condition for which you are seeking help.


In psychotherapy as in other health care professions often specialized training and certification distinguish professionals in areas where they have done additional studying and have seen more patients. In the medical profession this is more clearly demarcated. Few individuals would consider seeing a proctologist for pain radiating down their arm. The field of psychology is becoming increasingly more specialized. Indeed, both insurance carriers and professional referral sources often ask their providers to list areas of specially and to provide documentation of their specialized training. Within the American Psychological Association multiple divisions of specially exist and the opportunity for board certification of specialty through the American Board of Professional Psychology is also available.


Before entering into therapy there are important questions, which your perspective therapist should be able to answer for you. In some cases, it may be prior to your first session, or in other cases it may occur during your first session. However, if you do not feel comfortable with a psychotherapist, you should discuss with him or her before you agree to initiate therapy. Dr. Burte believes that, in psychotherapy, "one size does not fit all".


Do not hesitate to discuss with your prospective therapist your concerns. If they are competent they will understand your concerns and perhaps even recommend someone better suited to your needs or preferences. If they respond in a defensive or offended manner then it is just as well that you've chosen to select someone else.


Psychotherapy Orientations


There are multiple orientations (i.e., types of psychotherapy) to choose from and thousands of books have been written describing and detailing them. A brief overview of some of these general orientations is presented below.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) In this orientation the therapy is generally directed toward helping the individual understand how their thoughts and belief systems affect their behaviors and emotions, and how their behaviors and emotions may influence thoughts and beliefs. CBT may focus on past pattern of thinking and behaving, it may ask the patient to question the veracity of their current belief systems and offer alternative ways of thinking and behaving. At this time CBT is considered the most frequently utilized psychotherapeutic intervention.


Behavioral Approaches focus more upon using behavioral interventions such as positive reinforcement, punishment and negative reinforcement to help patients develop new patterns of behavior. This approach is more focused upon modifying behaviors, but may employ a plethora of behavioral techniques such as relaxation training and systematic desensitization.


Interventional Approaches may include biofeedback, neurofeedback, hypnosis, and guided imagery. These techniques and interventions are often directed toward changing the bio-physiological aspects of the persons functioning.


Psychoanalysis Approaches the bringing about of change via examining the role of earlier unresolved issues in the persons past and learning the role of past relationships and experiences in light of current functioning.


Finding the Best Approach For You


The best way to determine which orientation is best for you are by asking yourself what you hope to get out of therapy and then speaking with one or more potential treating therapists. Typically, patients know after a visit or two if they are "clicking" with their therapist or whether they need to seek help elsewhere.

Finding a psychotherapist can be a challenging task. Asking other health care professions whom they recommend, a referral from a friend of colleague and referrals from professional associations that address your specific condition (e.g., American Academy of Pain Management, The Fibromyalgia Foundation, the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists) are good sources of referrals. Once you have a referral you can check the person's credentials with the state licensing board.


Finally, their personality, your comfort and the empathetic communication between you and your therapist are important factors in developing a productive therapeutic alliance (i.e., a good therapeutic relationship).




There is generally no predetermined time frame for treatment and recovery. Though some therapies may been seen as more brief than others, it is the nature of the condition, the motivation of the patient to resolve the problem, the skill of the therapist, and the specific diagnosis which often dictates the duration of treatment. Other factors might include the age of the patient, their level of cognitive abilities, the chronicity of the problem, secondary gains (the ways the individual benefits from having the problem) and a myriad of other outside influences. In Dr. Burte's experience, many problems, for which his patients have sought help, typically seem to show sufficient improvement within six to twelve months, at a treatment rate of one visit per week.