Psychotherapy is one type of treatment available for psychological conditions. It is helpful for several mental health conditions and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help individuals with a wide variety of psychological conditions and emotional difficulties.
Some of the issues that psychotherapy can help with include the impact of trauma, coping with daily life, medical illness, loss, and psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.
There are many different types of psychotherapy, and certain types are more suited to specific issues than others.
This article further defines psychotherapy. It also talks about how it compares with other treatment methods, the different types of psychotherapy, and its effectiveness.
What is psychotherapy?
Mental health professionals use psychotherapy to help people with various psychological conditions and emotional difficulties.
Psychotherapy typically begins with a discussion about your background, including your family life and important events you have experienced, and the concerns that led you to seek help in the first place. After the initial assessment, you and your mental health professional will discuss treatment options and come to an agreement. This is often called a treatment or therapy contract.
Occasionally, this contract will be written down. More often, however, it is simply a verbal discussion between you and your mental health professional.
Typically, the treatment contract will include:
- the specific goals of the treatment
- the procedures of the treatment
- the regular time, location, and duration of your sessions
Psychotherapy is either short-term, lasting only a few sessions, or long-term, lasting months or even years.
People seek psychotherapy for many different reasons, such as when they:
- are dealing with severe or long-term stress
- are seeking treatment for a loved one who has a condition affecting their mental health
- have symptoms with no physical explanation
- have or may have depression, anxiety, or another psychological condition
One of the basic and most important aspects of psychotherapy is confidentiality. You should feel safe and comfortable sharing your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with your mental health professional and know that they will not share those discussions with anyone else.
What can psychotherapy help treat?
Research suggests that psychotherapy is an effective treatment option for improving the symptoms of numerous psychological conditions. This has made it a popular and versatile approach.
Psychotherapy typically takes place in a one-to-one setting. However, it can be useful for groups, couples, and families as well.
Psychotherapy can help with a variety of psychological conditions and mental health concerns, including:
- anxiety disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- eating disorders
- drug misuse
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Psychotherapy has many uses, and mental health professionals often administer it in combination with other types of treatment, such as medication.
Psychotherapy vs. counseling
The main difference between psychotherapy and counseling is the training, licensing, and education of the mental health professional conducting the treatment.
Counselors tend not to need the same level of education as psychologists do. Although psychologists are required to have a doctoral degree, counselors are only required to have a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes, an associate’s degree is all that is required.
Counselors tend to provide guidance to their clients, and their approach to client care may vary widely. Psychologists, on the other hand, tend to stay more within their field of expertise and often adopt a specific type of therapy or treatment in their client care.
Counseling also tends to focus more on how people function both personally and in their relationships throughout all the stages of life. On the other hand, psychotherapy tends to focus on treating the psychological condition at hand and the symptoms it is causing.
Psychotherapy vs. psychology
Psychology refers to the study of people.
It is a discipline that is predominantly interested in the functioning of the mind. Specifically, it focuses on how people think, act, react, and interact.
Psychology is concerned with all aspects of a person’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings and the underlying motivations for their healthy and unhealthy behaviors. It also explores areas such as learning, memory, and psychological development.
In contrast, psychotherapy is one type of treatment for a wide array of psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders.
Psychotherapy vs. medication
Often, based on the type and severity of your mental health condition or concern, a professional may recommend a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
Medication can play a role in the treatment of several different psychological conditions.
Not everyone will react to medication in the same way, however. It is important to discuss the details of any recommended medications with your doctor before you begin taking them.
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