Psychotherapy or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing.
While there may be different variations of the psychotherapy definition, psychology and mental health authorities like the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Institute of Mental Health, all more or less state that psychotherapy is a term for treatment techniques that can help people overcome emotional difficulties, including very severe ones
Here are a few things that psychotherapy can address:
- Coping with life’s daily challenges
- The impact of trauma
- Medical illness and coming to terms with a diagnosis
- Dealing with loss, like the death of a loved one (bereavement)
- Specific mental disorders, like depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, etc.
Psychotherapy is all about understanding your thoughts and feelings, and while support from family and friends can help you during your time of need; however, a psychotherapist with years of education, training, and experience can offer so much more and can treat complicated issues with their professional skills
Our Approach & Philosophy
Types of psychotherapy
Which type of psychotherapy works best? There’s no simple answer. Just as people respond differently to different drugs, you might do better with one type of therapy than with another. Many people find that a blended approach — one that draws on elements of different schools of psychotherapy — suits them best. There are many forms of psychotherapy, but the two most popular forms are psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on how life events, desires, and past and current relationships affect your feelings and the choices you make. In this type of therapy, you and your therapist identify the compromises you’ve made to defend yourself against painful thoughts or emotions, sometimes without even knowing it. For example, someone with an overbearing parent may unconsciously find it difficult to risk developing intimate relationships, out of fear that all close relationships will involve a domineering partner.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). You work with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist) in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.
CBT is based on several core principles, including:
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
- People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.
CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns. These strategies might include:
- Learning to recognize one’s distortions in thinking that are creating problems, and then to reevaluate them in light of reality.
- Gaining a better understanding of the behavior and motivation of others.
- Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
- Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence is one’s own abilities.
CBT treatment also usually involves efforts to change behavioral patterns. These strategies might include:
- Facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them.
- Using role playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others.
- Learning to calm one’s mind and relax one’s body.
Dialectical behavioral therapy
Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. That’s a form of talk therapy that helps you identify and change negative thinking patterns and to change unhelpful behaviors. DBT may be used to treat suicidal and other harmful thinking.
The term “dialectical” is based on bringing two opposite ideas — acceptance and change – for more effective therapy. DBT focuses on accepting a person’s experience and reassuring them, while at the same time balancing it with tools to change negative behaviors.
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited, focused, evidence-based approach to treat mood disorders. The main goal of IPT is to improve the quality of a client’s interpersonal relationships and social functioning to help reduce their distress. IPT provides strategies to resolve problems within four key areas.
- First, it addresses interpersonal deficits, including social isolation or involvement in unfulfilling relationships.
- Second, it can help patients manage unresolved grief—if the onset of distress is linked to the death of a loved one, either recent or past.
- Third, IPT can help with difficult life transitions like retirement, divorce, or moving to another city.
- Fourth, IPT is recommended for dealing with interpersonal disputes that emerge from conflicting expectations between partners, family members, close friends, or coworkers.
This type of counseling involves a group of people who struggle with depression working together with a psychotherapist.
The term can legitimately refer to any form of psychotherapy when delivered in a group format, including Art therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy, but it is usually applied to psychodynamic group therapy where the group context and group process is explicitly utilised as a mechanism of change by developing, exploring and examining interpersonal relationships within the group.