What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, also known as ‘talk therapy’ is a way of helping people to deal with a wide range of mental and emotional health issues that they may be facing in their lives. This type of therapy can eliminate an individual’s troubling symptoms, increase well-being, and help them to function in a more productive way.

Psychotherapy is beneficial in helping individuals cope with:

  • The challenges of daily life
  • The impact of severely stressful situations or trauma
  • Serious medical health issues
  • The loss of a loved one through death
  • Specific mental conditions like anxiety and depression

There are different types of psychotherapy and some may work better with particular issues than others. Psychotherapy may also be combined with medication or other types of therapy if necessary.

How Does a Therapy Session Work?

A therapy session may be with just one individual or it may be conducted with a couple, family, or even group setting. Both adults and children stand to benefit from psychotherapy. These sessions usually last from between half an hour to an hour and both the therapist and the person under treatment have to be actively involved.

It’s essential to have a trusting relationship between the therapist and the person being treated in order for the therapy to be effective. Together, the patient and the therapist decide on the goals of treatment as well as the arrangements for how often and how long the therapy sessions will be. The length of the psychotherapy can be either a few sessions when dealing with immediate issues, or it can be long-term (months or even years) when dealing with complex or long-standing issues.

The relationship between a patient and a psychotherapist should have confidentiality as one of its main requirements, and although patients share their most personal feelings and thoughts with their therapist, intimate physical contact is neither appropriate nor useful.

Psychotherapy and Medication

There are some cases where psychotherapy is used in combination with medication in order to get a more effective result when treating mental health issues. For a lot of people, the combined use of psychotherapy treatment and medication proves to be better than either treatment option on its own. There are, of course, other lifestyle improvements that individuals can make to support in recovery and overall well-being like regular exercise, good nutrition, and adequate sleep.

The Benefits of Psychotherapy

Scientific research has shown that most people who undergo any of the many types of psychotherapy experience relief from symptoms and find it easier to function in their everyday lives. Many types of therapy are linked to positive changes in the body and brain and have been proven to improve behaviors and emotions of individuals under treatment. Most people also experience less disability, increased work satisfaction, fewer sick days, and fewer medical problems overall when they undergo psychotherapy.

These days researchers are able to see changes in the brain after an individual has undergone psychotherapy thanks to brain imaging technology. This includes those with mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, panic disorder, and anxiety. In a lot of the cases, the brain changes from people who underwent psychotherapy treatment were similar to the ones that resulted from medication.

In order to get the most from psychotherapy, the treatment must be approached as a collaborative effort. The patient must be open and honest with their therapist and make a determination to adhere to the course of treatment that was agreed upon. If there are any assignments between sessions, such as writing in journals, or practicing whatever was talked about during the session, the person under treatment should follow through with them.

Common Types of Therapy

There are many approaches to psychotherapy that exist today, and within those various methods, there isn’t just one that works for everyone. A lot of times therapists will even use blended methods to help their clients. They sample techniques from different types of therapy to come up with the best way to help a particular individual to fulfill their own unique set of needs.

Here are the more common types of Therapy:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This therapy helps people change their thinking and patterns of behavior that may be disrupting their ability to live full and productive lives.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

This is a short-term form of treatment which helps individuals understand and resolve underlying interpersonal issues that are creating problems in their lives.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

This type of therapy helps to regulate emotions and is often used to treat people with suicidal thoughts or borderline personality disorders, PTSD, and eating disorders.

Psychodynamic Therapy

This is based on the idea that mental well-being and human behavior are majorly influenced by experiences from our childhood as well as unconscious, inappropriate, and repetitive thoughts and feelings. A more intensive form of this type of therapy is Psychoanalysis Therapy.

Supportive Therapy

This type of therapy uses guidance and encouragement in an effort to help individuals to develop their own resources. It helps to reduce anxiety, improve social functioning, as well as to build self-esteem among other things.

Other Forms of Therapy Are:

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