Psychotherapy is concerned with the person as a whole: their life history, their past and present relationships, and both their conscious & unconscious.
The relationship between the therapist and the client facilitates self-discovery, change and growth. It is a process which requires time and regular attendance at sessions.
Psychotherapy usually refers to a broad range of treatments that have in common the use of psychological means to treat mental suffering and pain. In this respect, psychotherapy differs from medication.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), 4th Edition, refers to such types of pain and suffering as mental disorders. Cited from the manual, "In DSM IV, each of the mental disorders is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (e.g., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom."
The broad range of psychotherapeutic treatments available today varies on form (i.e., Personal/Marital, group, or Children/Family settings), techniques (relaxation, drama, bilateral brain stimulation, flooding, etc.), or underlying theoretical conceptualization (psychoanalytical, Gestalt, behaviorism, cognitive science, client centered, and more). The quality and success (or failure) of a treatment also depends greatly on the qualities of the therapist as a person, and on a successful match of qualities in both therapist and client.
It is often highly beneficial to combine more than one psychotherapeutic treatment that may also include medication, into a treatment program .
Psychotherapy is a profession, and as such requires from those who conduct it a long and complex training, adherence to an ethical code, and a membership in an organization of professionals where their abilities, successes, and failure is monitored.
Counselling is a term that sometimes overlap psychotherapy. However, we tend to agree with the majority of professionals, that counselling should be referred to as a tool besides psychotherapy, as such:
It is a type of troubleshooting. A counsellor facilitates a client with a problem in person, over the phone, or through internet
Debriefing may be another way to describe what counselling does. It is actually about giving the client an opportunity to be listened to. It is very often used during, and mainly after, crises, often as a stage that precedes, or leads to, psychotherapy.
The following issues, mild or not, indicate whether a professional is required to help resolve these. Third-party intervention generally does not necessarily mean an in depth therapy. In some cases a simple consultation would be adequate. If you present with one or more of the issues listed below, you may want to consider visiting your general practitioner. That is, to understand and become more knowledgeable of the way medical issues could play a role in your distress in one or more issues listed below, you could be prompted to visit your General Practitioner. Together with this we recommend you to see a mental health professional as well.
Most people can benefit from therapy, provided that they suffer from one or more of the issues mentioned above (see How Do I Know if I Need Help). A more useful question to ask is, therefore, how do I know if the therapy will be conducted in a way that would help me? To answer this, you may find it beneficial to talk to the potential therapist, or even meet them in person. Look into What Does Therapy Usually Look Like and compare it with what you hear. If the approach to your problem feels serious, and if you feel that the therapist is professional and empathic, then you have good reason to expect to benefit from therapy.
A well-conducted psychotherapy very often has two kinds of positive outputs. One is, the reason for your initial visit has been resolved, e.g., painful symptoms have substantially declined or diminished. The other output is related to growth. A successful treatment has a huge potential to install hope, to feel better about yourself and the world, and to put past issues into the right perspective.
No it does not. Lying on the sofa is part of the psychoanalytic legend. In most of the psychotherapeutic treatments currently in use, the therapy settings consist of chairs (two or more), with some exceptions as in the case of drama therapy or relaxation techniques.
Most treatments have certain common elements with respect to their structure and duration of time. Three or more phases are seen most often:
Phase I: Initial contact. At this stage you may be already aware of the need to receive professional help. You contact a therapist and agree on the date and time for an initial session.
Phase II: This phase usually takes place at the therapist's office and lasts one or more sessions. The aim is to become knowledgeable about your problem and to make a treatment plan. You and the therapist may agree to refer you to another professional based on the specific issues and on the therapist's expertise. Respectively, you may agree on a combined treatment with another professional. At this stage you may already have heard about the type of psychotherapy the therapist may offer, and now feel well informed.
Phase III: From the second/third session of treatment onwards, very often it is structured, perhaps one hour weekly, for a short-term period of 15 weeks. Practically all of the therapeutic work takes place at this phase. See also What Can I Expect From Therapy.
Phase IV / V: The last phase or phases are usually less intensive (e.g., biweekly or monthly sessions) and are aimed to prevent the initial problems returning, and to permit follow up.
At times there could be a need to enter in to a new treatment, several months or years after the initial therapy. The reasons for this could vary; and it is good to be aware of the possibility. if such a situation arises, it would not mean that you are at fault.
The psychiatric treatment often overlaps with this picture. However, sometimes it may look different in the following way - for example:
Initial meeting is devoted to a comprehensive psychiatric assessment, which usually lasts at least 1.5 hours. Detailed personal history is taken and current and past mental illness issues are explored. A diagnosis is established and discussed with the client. Then, a treatment plan is offered. If applicable, appropriate medication is prescribed and its function, its possible side effects and their management are discussed. Range of alternative and non-pharmacological therapies are also discussed and referrals to appropriate therapists offered.
Follow-up meetings usually last up to one hour and their length gradually shortens, depending on the improvement of symptoms, ending with 15 minutes every 4 to 8 weeks, for short medication checks. With regard to the nature of the problem presented, the treatment plan is based on medication, or psychotherapy, or a combination. Progress of therapy is continually discussed so that treatment can be adjusted flexibly .
Psychological assessment refers to the work involved in gaining information about the client's behaviour, mental and emotional state, personality, cognition, interpersonal qualities, and current stress areas and psychosocial situation. The information may further involve client history, family history, history of issues, and client's plans for the future.
By offering assessment, the mental health professional actually says: It is pretty difficult for one person to really know another person, because psychological information is naturally well concealed, nevertheless this knowledge is crucial for us to manage the treatment and provide real help.
Assessment helps reveal psychological information, and is using various methods to achieve this. See Children, Adults, Corporate assessment.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a form of psychotherapy that examines how beliefs and thoughts are linked to behaviour and feelings. It teaches skills that retrain your behaviour and style of thinking to help you deal with stressful situations.
Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT) – uses methods from both psychodynamic psychotherapy and CBT to work out how your behaviour causes problems, and how to improve it through self-help and experimentation.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) - a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy found to be effective for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) - a short-term, evidence-based, group or individual intervention program for people with mild to moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. When CST is provided one-on-one with an individual, rather than a group, it may be referred to as iCST. The goal of CST is to stimulate people with dementia through a series of themed activities designed to help them continue to learn and stay socially engaged. The individual approach also serves to enhance the relationship between the individual and the facilitator.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) - provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual's ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.
Hypnotherapy - is guided hypnosis, or a trance-like state of focus and concentration achieved with the help of a clinical hypnotherapist. This trance-like state is similar to being completely absorbed in a book, movie, music, or even one's own thoughts or meditations. In this state, clients can turn their attention completely inward to find and utilize the natural resources deep within themselves that can help them make changes or regain control in certain areas of their life.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) – looks at the way an illness can be triggered by events involving relationships with others, such as bereavements, disputes or relocation. It helps you cope with the feelings involved, as well as work out coping strategies.
Humanistic Therapies – encourage one to think about oneself more positively and aim to improve one’s self-awareness.
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) - a form of psychotherapy that addresses the behaviors of couples or families who have problems in their relationships with each other and wish to sort and solve these among themselves. Treatment is usually divided between time spent on individual therapy and time spent on couple therapy, family therapy, or both, if necessary. MFT may also be referred to as couple and family therapy, couple counseling, marriage counseling, or family counseling.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) - a modified form of cognitive therapy that incorporates mindfulness practices such as meditation and breathing exercises. Using these tools, MBCT therapists teach clients how to break away from negative thought patterns that can cause a downward spiral into a depressed state so they will be able to fight off depression before it takes hold.
Person-Centered Therapy – utilizes a non-authoritative approach that allows clients to take more of a lead in discussions so that, in the process, they will discover their own solutions. The therapist acts as a compassionate facilitator, listening without judgment and acknowledging the client’s experience without moving the conversation in another direction. The therapist is there to encourage and support the client and to guide the therapeutic process without interrupting or interfering with the client’s process of self-discovery.
Psychodynamic (Psychoanalytic) Psychotherapy – a psychoanalytic therapist will encourage one to express whatever is going through one’s mind. This will help them become aware of hidden meanings or patterns that may be contributing to their problems.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) - a set of language- and sensory-based interventions and behavior-modification techniques intended to help improve the client’s self-awareness, confidence, communication skills, and social actions. The goals of NLP are to help the client understand that the way one views the world affects how one operates in the world, and that it is necessary to change the thoughts and behavior patterns that have not proven beneficial in the past.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) - a short-term form of psychotherapy that helps you identify self-defeating thoughts and feelings, challenge the rationality of those feelings, and replace them with healthier, more productive beliefs. REBT focuses mostly on the present time to help you understand how unhealthy thoughts and beliefs create emotional distress which, in turn, leads to unhealthy actions and behaviors that interfere with your current life goals. Once identified and understood, negative thoughts and actions can be changed and replaced with more positive and productive behavior, allowing you to develop more successful personal and professional relationships.
Transpersonal Therapy - Unlike most forms of psychotherapy that concentrate on improving mental health, transpersonal therapy takes a more holistic approach, addressing mental, physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual needs, with an emphasis on the role of a healthy spirit in healing. To facilitate healing and growth, transpersonal therapy places great emphasis on honesty, open-mindedness, and self-awareness on the part of the therapist as well as the client.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) - a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that addresses the specific emotional and mental health needs of children, adolescents, adult survivors, and families who are struggling to overcome the destructive effects of early trauma. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is especially sensitive to the unique problems of youth with post-traumatic stress and mood disorders resulting from abuse, violence, or grief. Because the client is usually a child, TF-CBT often brings non-offending parents or other caregivers into treatment and incorporates principles of family therapy.
Eclectic Therapy - an open, integrative form of psychotherapy that adapts to the unique needs of each specific client, depending on the problem, the treatment goals, and the person’s expectations and motivation. The therapist draws from a variety of disciplines and may use a range of proven methods to determine the best combination of therapeutic tools to help the client. In effect, the therapist customizes the therapeutic process for each individual by using whatever form of treatment, or combination of treatments, has been shown to be most effective for treating the particular problem.
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