Do you ever feel overwhelmed and confused about how to deal with your problems?
If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 25 percent of American adults experience some type of mental disorder in any given year. Even if you’re not suffering from a mental disorder, you may be dealing with excess stress, job loss, relationship troubles, or other issues.
If you don’t address your problems in a timely manner, they can become debilitating. To deal with your problems, you may want to consider turning to psychotherapy.
With psychotherapy, a psychologist can help you live a healthier and more productive life. What is psychotherapy, and how does it work?
Read on to find out.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy involves a psychologist using scientifically validated procedures to help their patients live happier and more productive lives.
Psychotherapy can help people address a broad range of emotional difficulties and mental issues. It can help patients eliminate or control troubling symptoms so they can go on to function better and improve their well-being.
Psychotherapy can help patients address problems related to:
There are many different approaches to psychotherapy, and therefore, many different types of psychotherapists. “Psychotherapist” is an all-encompassing term that may be used to describe a:
Marriage or family therapist
Mental health counselor
Licensed clinical social worker
Psychiatric nurse practitioner
Licensed clinical professional counselor
Who Can Benefit from Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy can help people from all walks of life. Some people find that they need to see a psychotherapist for just a few sessions, while others make psychotherapy a part of their lifelong mental health plan.
You may benefit from psychotherapy if:
You’re experiencing feelings of sadness or hopelessness
You’re feeling anxious
You have difficulty facing everyday challenges
You have difficulty focusing on work or studies
You’ve been using drugs or alcohol in an unhealthy manner
You feel tempted to harm yourself or others
You’ve experienced an abusive situation
You suffer from a mental health condition that affects your daily life
You feel like you’re stuck or that your situation will never improve
Typically, psychotherapy involves seeing a therapist for a number of sessions. During the first session, you’ll collaborate with your therapist to form a treatment plan depending on your needs.
In the following session, you’ll work with your therapist to identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that prevent you from feeling your best.
At the end of your treatment, you’ll have learned new skills that help you better cope with whatever challenges may arise in your future.
Of course, life is unpredictable, and many people find themselves coming back to psychotherapy when new challenges arise. If you come back to therapy, this doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means you need some help dealing with what life throws your way and refining your coping mechanisms.
Mental health professionals use several types of psychotherapy to help patients reach their goals. The chosen therapy will depend on the patient’s particular circumstances and illness. Personal preference also plays a role.
In most cases, therapists combine elements from different approaches to best suit the needs of their patients. Some of the most common kinds of psychotherapy include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients identify and change thoughts and behavioral patterns that are ineffective or harmful. Patients are taught to replace these negative thoughts and patterns with more helpful and accurate ones.
CBT can help patients focus on current problems and learn how to effectively solve them without turning to destructive behavior. This type of therapy often involves practicing new skills in the “real world.” For example, if you suffer from depression, CBT can help you recognize negative thought patterns that are contributing to your illness.
Interpersonal therapy is a type of short-form therapy that helps patients understand underlying interpersonal issues that are wreaking havoc on a person’s everyday life. These interpersonal issues may be related to unresolved grief, conflicts with a significant other, or a change in social or work roles.
Through interpersonal therapy, patients can learn healthy ways to express their emotions improve their communication skills.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
This is a subset of CBT that helps patients regulate their emotions. Therapists often use dialectical behavior therapy to treat patients suffering from suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, borderline personality disorders, or PTSD.
This type of therapy is based on the theory that our behaviors and mental well-being are influenced by our childhood experiences. A patient in psychodynamic therapy will work with a therapist to identify and change old thought patterns and behaviors.
Group therapy involves several or more patients working with one therapist at a time. Often, patients in group therapy are dealing with similar issues, and they may benefit from a support system of others who can understand their perspective.
Group therapy can also be useful for those who feel isolated because of their issues.