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What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” involves speaking to a Psychologist, Psychotherapist or a Social Worker in a safe and confidential environment to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and learn coping skills. Unlike talking to a trusted friend or family member, opening up to a psychotherapist can give you insight into your thoughts and feelings and learn new, healthy ways to manage difficult situations. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a referral from a primary care physician or a mental health diagnosis to benefit from psychotherapy.

Studies consistently show that individual psychotherapy effectively improves symptoms in a wide range of mental illnesses, making it the first-line treatment for many mental health conditions. Talk therapy can also be helpful to families, couples, and groups. In many cases, mental health professionals recommend combining medication and therapy to help individuals with mental health conditions function in their daily life.

Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” involves speaking to a Psychologist, Psychotherapist or a Social Worker in a safe and confidential environment to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and learn coping skills. Unlike talking to a trusted friend or family member, opening up to a psychotherapist can give you insight into your thoughts and feelings and learn new, healthy ways to manage difficult situations. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a referral from a primary care physician or a mental health diagnosis to benefit from psychotherapy. Studies consistently show that individual psychotherapy effectively improves symptoms in a wide range of mental illnesses, making it the first-line treatment for many mental health conditions. Talk therapy can also be helpful to families, couples, and groups. In many cases, mental health professionals recommend combining medication and therapy to help individuals with mental health conditions function in their daily life.

Different types of Talk Therapy

Depending on your preferences and specific symptoms, mental health professionals may recommend different types of psychotherapy, such as:

Cognotive Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) uses a combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy to explore the relationships between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. During CBT, you’ll work with your therapist to identify unhealthy thought patterns and how they may be causing problematic behaviors and beliefs.

By recognizing negative thought patterns, you’ll develop healthy ways of thinking that lead to more positive behavior patterns and beliefs. For example, if you’re struggling with low self-esteem, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can help you replace negative thoughts (“I’m not good at anything”) with different ways of thinking (“I’m good at this, based on my past experiences”).

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Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) combines CBT methods with meditation techniques. Originally used to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD), DBT involves a combination of individual therapy and group therapy. Today, psychotherapists commonly use DBT methods to treat eating disorders, personality disorders, and self-harm behaviors.

Like CBT, DBT involves short-term, structured therapy sessions. However, DBT builds on CBT by emphasizing validation or accepting negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors instead of struggling. By coming to terms with negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you’ll be able to work with your therapist to create a gradual treatment plan toward recovery.

DBT is an effective treatment for various mental health disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. DBT helps reduce the frequency of dangerous behaviors by emphasizing individual strengths, teaching coping skills, and using positive reinforcement to motivate change.

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Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on recognizing and resolving negative emotions and behavior patterns rooted in past experiences. During this type of therapy, your therapist may ask you open-ended questions or use free association to encourage you to discuss whatever is on your mind.

Your mental health professional will then work with you to sift through past experiences and identify unconscious patterns of behavior and feeling. By learning how childhood experiences have influenced your behaviors and emotions, you can learn new skills to overcome unhealthy behaviors.

Psychodynamic therapy is typically used to treat mood disorders and anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and panic disorder.

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Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy adopts a whole-person approach to resolve negative thinking and behavioral patterns, using various theories and techniques to promote self-development.

Humanistic therapy helps you explore your relationship with different parts of yourself, including your emotions, body, mind, and behavior, as well as your interpersonal relationships with other people, such as your friends and family members. Above all else, this type of therapy aims to help you grow, find support, and live a meaningful life.

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Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of therapy led by a facilitator or a practitioner experienced in talk therapy who introduces members and helps the conversation flow. During group therapy sessions, people find solutions together, share past experiences, and learn from each other in a supportive, confidential group setting.

Group therapy is a form of therapy led by a facilitator or a practitioner experienced in talk therapy who introduces members and helps the conversation flow. During group therapy sessions, people find solutions together, share past experiences, and learn from each other in a supportive, confidential group setting.

Interpersonal

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) focuses on your interpersonal relationships to improve your interpersonal skills. During IPT, you’ll work with your therapist to assess your social interactions, identify negative patterns, and learn new ways to interact positively with other people daily.

Couples & Family Therapy

Family therapy and couples counseling are forms of group counseling in which couples or families work with a psychotherapist to sort out difficulties in their relationships. Family therapy can help family members and loved ones understand and support those with mental health disorders, especially individuals with eating disorders, depression, and schizophrenia. Meanwhile, mental health professionals may recommend couples counseling when individual therapy sessions for each spouse do not resolve communication issues.