What is Psychotherapy?

Using psychological methods, Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental and emotional disturbances and disorders. This type of therapy may last for just a few sessions, or treatment may last for several years, depending on the individual needs of the patient. The therapy may involve just one individual at a time or a group of individuals. Psychotherapy is used to help people solve problems, achieve goals, and manage their lives by treating a variety of mental health issues. This type of therapy is used to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, and substance abuse. Depending on the needs of the patient, it may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies and treatment methods.

How does Psychotherapy work?

Unlike some other therapies, psychotherapy is limited to conversations. It does not include drug therapy or other physiological treatment methods. As such, practitioners do not have to be medically qualified in order to provide this type of treatment. However, a certain level of knowledge of psychological issues is expected.

Research shows that most people who receive psychotherapy experience symptom relief and are better able to function in their lives. About 75 percent of people who enter psychotherapy show some benefit from it. Psychotherapy has been shown to improve emotions and behaviors and to be linked with positive changes in the brain and body. The benefits also include fewer sick days, less disability, fewer medical problems, and increased work satisfaction.

With the use of brain imaging techniques researchers have been able to see changes in the brain after a person has undergone psychotherapy. Numerous studies have identified brain changes in people with mental illness (including depression, panic disorder, PTSD and other conditions) as a result of undergoing psychotherapy. In most cases the brain changes resulting from psychotherapy were similar to changes resulting from medication.


An individual seeking psychotherapy will usually meet with his or her chosen therapist for a period of days, weeks, months, or years. The treatment methods used vary with each therapist. In general, most types of therapy can be classified as cognitive, behavioral, eclectic, or humanistic. To help get the most out of psychotherapy, approach the therapy as a collaborative effort, be open and honest, and follow your agreed upon plan for treatment. Follow through with any assignments between sessions, such as writing in a journal or practicing what you’ve talked about.

Is Psychotherapy for me?

Globally, a great number of psychotherapists take an eclectic approach to treatment, combining different methods and techniques. Often, this approach allows therapists to tailor treatment methods to the needs and personalities of their clients.

Sometimes psychotherapy is used to treat more than one person at a time. In such cases, methods effective in group, family, and couple's therapy may be employed. At times, a therapist may choose to meet with group therapy patients individually, as well as in the group setting.

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