Psychotherapy is a general term which is used for describing the process of treating different kinds of psychological disorders and mental distress through the use of psychological and verbal techniques.
During the process, a trained psychotherapist assists the client in tackling specific and general issues like some definite kind of mental illness and the ultimate source of life stress.
Based on the approach utilized by the therapist, there is a wide range of strategies and techniques that can be utilized. Almost all kinds of psychotherapy involve forming a therapeutic relation, creating and communicating a dialogue and working to overcome problematic behaviors or thoughts.
Psychotherapy is viewed as one of the most distinct professions in its own realm but there are several types of professionals who offer it, which include clinical psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses and health counselors.
Different Types of Psychotherapy
When people hear the term ‘psychotherapy’, they instantly imagine a patient who lies on the couch talking about his issues while a therapist sits beside the patient writing down each and every thought process in a notepad.
But the reality is much different from what you perceive psychotherapy to be. There’s more to it than just this and there are several techniques used in psychotherapy. There are pros and cons to group psychotherapy; you can read more about the pros and cons on BetterHelp. Let’s check out the main kinds of therapies that are available.
While psychotherapy was practiced in different forms during the time of ancient Greeks, it received its start when Freud started using talk therapy to work with patients.
The psychoanalytic approach involves moving deeper into the thoughts and past experiences to seek out feelings, unconscious thoughts, memories and feelings which might have an influence on your behavior.
When behaviourism started becoming a prominent school of thought during the initial part of the 20th century, various techniques started playing a vital role in psychotherapy. While behaviourism might not be as dominant as it was, there are several other methods which are still getting famous day by day.
Behavioral therapy uses operant conditioning, classical conditioning and social learning to assist clients in changing their problematic behaviors.
This school of thought started off in the 1950s and they began to set an influence in the field of psychotherapy. Today, the aspects of the approach are gradually gaining momentum in psychotherapy. This concentrates on helping people maximize their stress, their potential of free will, self-exploration and self-actualization.
The cognitive revolution of the 1960s has had a major impact on the practice of psychotherapy and psychologists started gaining increasing focus on how the human thought process influences the functioning and behavior.
Cognitive therapy is entirely based on the idea that our thoughts have had a powerful influence on our mental well-being. The main goal is to recognize the cognitive distortions which lead to this kind of thinking.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This approach is called cognitive behavioral therapy and CBT is a psychotherapeutic treatment which helps patients understands the feelings and thoughts which influence behavior. CBT is used to treat a wide range of conditions including addiction, phobias, anxiety and depression.
CBT involves behavioral and cognitive techniques to change all kinds of toxic behaviors and thoughts. This is an approach that helps people in changing their underlying thoughts that lead to stress and consequently modify these behaviors that lead to positive thoughts.
Formats of Psychotherapy
There are various formats of psychotherapy that depends on the style of the therapist you’re seeking help of and the requirements of the patient. Few of the formats that you may encounter are as follows.
- Individual Therapy that includes working personally, one-on-one with the psychotherapist and discussing all issues on your own.
- Couples Therapy which includes the therapist working with a couple to improve how they both function in a relationship.
- Family Therapy that revolved around enhancing the dynamics within families and this can include multiple people within a single unit of a family.
- Group Therapy that includes a small group of people who share a common goal. The members of the group offer and receive support from the others and also practice new behaviors within a receptive and supportive group.
What to know before trying Psychotherapy
There are few concerns or issues for both the clients and the therapists. When you choose a therapist, think whether or not you are comfortable about divulging all your personal details to the therapist. Also make sure you assess the qualifications of the therapist including the total numbers of years he has held experience in this field.
People who offer psychotherapy hold different degrees or titles. The titles like ‘psychiatrist’ or ‘psychologist’ carry definite licensing and educational requirements. Individuals who have the power of offering psychotherapy include psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, social workers and psychiatric nurses.
While offering services to the clients, psychotherapists should keep in mind things like confidentiality of the patient, informed consent and duty to alert.
Informed consent is the practice of keeping the client informed of all the potential risks linked with this treatment. This includes describing the proper nature of the treatment, any potential risks, costs and available alternatives.
Psychotherapy – How effective is it?
One of the biggest criticisms that are levelled against psychotherapy calls in the question of its effectiveness. A psychologist named Hans Eysenck found out that two-thirds of participants either improved or recovered within 2 years irrespective of whether they’ve received psychotherapy.
Surprisingly, Bruce Wampold reported that there are few factors like the personality of the therapist and their belief in effectiveness of the treatment played a vital role in deciding the result of psychotherapy.
He also suggested that this type of therapy and basis of treatment doesn’t have an impact of the outcome. The disagreement has motivated the researchers to continue to study and examine the worthiness of psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy comes in different forms but all of these are designed to assist people in overcoming challenges, developing the coping strategies and leading healthier and happier lives.