Psychotherapy Tips

What is the meaning of psychotherapy in bangla

What is Psychotherapy?

Learn about psychotherapy.

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.

Problems helped by psychotherapy include difficulties in coping with daily life; the impact of trauma, medical illness or loss, like the death of a loved one; and specific mental disorders, like depression or anxiety. There are several different types of psychotherapy and some types may work better with certain problems or issues. Psychotherapy may be used in combination with medication or other therapies.

Therapy Sessions

Therapy may be conducted in an individual, family, couple, or group setting, and can help both children and adults. Sessions are typically held once a week for about 30 to 50. Both patient and therapist need to be actively involved in psychotherapy. The trust and relationship between a person and his/her therapist is essential to working together effectively and benefiting from psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy can be short-term (a few sessions), dealing with immediate issues, or long-term (months or years), dealing with longstanding and complex issues. The goals of treatment and arrangements for how often and how long to meet are planned jointly by the patient and therapist.

Confidentiality is a basic requirement of psychotherapy. Also, although patients share personal feelings and thoughts, intimate physical contact with a therapist is never appropriate, acceptable, or useful.

Psychotherapy and Medication

Psychotherapy is often used in combination with medication to treat mental health conditions. In some circumstances medication may be clearly useful and in others psychotherapy may be the best option. For many people combined medication and psychotherapy treatment is better than either alone. Healthy lifestyle improvements, such as good nutrition, regular exercise and adequate sleep, can be important in supporting recovery and overall wellness.

Does Psychotherapy Work?

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.1 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.2

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.

Types of Psychotherapy

Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use several types of therapy. The choice of therapy type depends on the patient’s particular illness and circumstances and his/her preference. Therapists may combine elements from different approaches to best meet the needs of the person receiving treatment.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people identify and change thinking and behavior patterns that are harmful or ineffective, replacing them with more accurate thoughts and functional behaviors. It can help a person focus on current problems and how to solve them. It often involves practicing new skills in the “real world.” CBT can be helpful in treating a variety of disorders, including depression, anxiety, trauma related disorders, and eating disorders. For example, CBT can help a person with depression recognize and change negative thought patterns or behaviors that are contributing to the depression.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a short-term form of treatment. It helps patients understand underlying interpersonal issues that are troublesome, like unresolved grief, changes in social or work roles, conflicts with significant others, and problems relating to others. It can help people learn healthy ways to express emotions and ways to improve communication and how they relate to others. It is most often used to treat depression.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy is a specific type of CBT that helps regulate emotions. It is often used to treat people with chronic suicidal thoughts and people with borderline personality disorder, eating disorders and PTSD. It teaches new skills to help people take personal responsibility to change unhealthy or disruptive behavior. It involves both individual and group therapy.
  • Psychodynamic therapy is based on the idea that behavior and mental well-being are influenced by childhood experiences and inappropriate repetitive thoughts or feelings that are unconscious (outside of the person’s awareness). A person works with the therapist to improve self-awareness and to change old patterns so he/she can more fully take charge of his/her life.
  • Psychoanalysis is a more intensive form of psychodynamic therapy. Sessions are typically conducted three or more times a week.
  • Supportive therapy uses guidance and encouragement to help patients develop their own resources. It helps build self-esteem, reduce anxiety, strengthen coping mechanisms, and improve social and community functioning. Supportive psychotherapy helps patients deal with issues related to their mental health conditions which in turn affect the rest of their lives.

Additional therapies sometimes used in combination with psychotherapy include:

  • Animal-assisted therapy – working with dogs, horses or other animals to bring comfort, help with communication and help cope with trauma
  • Creative arts therapy – use of art, dance, drama, music and poetry therapies
  • Play therapy – to help children identify and talk about their emotions and feelings

Finding and Choosing a Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy can be provided by a number of different types of professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses, and others with specialized training in psychotherapy. Psychiatrists are also trained in medicine and are able to prescribe medications.

Finding a psychiatrist or other therapist with whom an individual can work well is important. Sources of referrals include primary care physicians, local psychiatric societies, medical schools, community health centers, workplace Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), and online resources (see links to online locators below).

Federal law requires that in most cases mental health services, including psychotherapy, be covered by health insurance similar to other medical care costs. (Read more about insurance coverage of mental health care)

Online Locators for Psychotherapy/Counseling:

References

  1. American Psychological Association. Understanding psychotherapy and how it works. 2016.
  2. Karlsson, H. How Psychotherapy changes the Brain. Psychiatric Times. 2011.
  3. Wiswede D, et al. 2014. Tracking Functional Brain Changes in Patients with Depression under Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Using Individualized Stimuli. PLoS ONE. 2014.http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0109037

Physician Review

Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.

Lior Givon, M.D., Ph.D.

January 2019

Overview

Psychotherapy is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider.

During psychotherapy, you learn about your condition and your moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Psychotherapy helps you learn how to take control of your life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills.

There are many types of psychotherapy, each with its own approach. The type of psychotherapy that’s right for you depends on your individual situation. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy, counseling, psychosocial therapy or, simply, therapy.

Why it’s done

Psychotherapy can be helpful in treating most mental health problems, including:

  • Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder
  • Addictions, such as alcoholism, drug dependence or compulsive gambling
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia
  • Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder or dependent personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia or other disorders that cause detachment from reality (psychotic disorders)

Not everyone who benefits from psychotherapy is diagnosed with a mental illness. Psychotherapy can help with a number of life’s stresses and conflicts that can affect anyone. For example, it may help you:

  • Resolve conflicts with your partner or someone else in your life
  • Relieve anxiety or stress due to work or other situations
  • Cope with major life changes, such as divorce, the death of a loved one or the loss of a job
  • Learn to manage unhealthy reactions, such as road rage or passive-aggressive behavior
  • Come to terms with an ongoing or serious physical health problem, such as diabetes, cancer or long-term (chronic) pain
  • Recover from physical or sexual abuse or witnessing violence
  • Cope with sexual problems, whether they’re due to a physical or psychological cause
  • Sleep better, if you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep (insomnia)

In some cases, psychotherapy can be as effective as medications, such as antidepressants. However, depending on your specific situation, psychotherapy alone may not be enough to ease the symptoms of a mental health condition. You may also need medications or other treatments.

Risks

Generally, there’s little risk in having psychotherapy. But because it can explore painful feelings and experiences, you may feel emotionally uncomfortable at times. However, any risks are minimized by working with a skilled therapist who can match the type and intensity of therapy with your needs.

The coping skills that you learn can help you manage and conquer negative feelings and fears.

How you prepare

Here’s how to get started:

  • Find a therapist. Get a referral from a doctor, health insurance plan, friend or other trusted source. Many employers offer counseling services or referrals through employee assistance programs (EAPs). Or you can find a therapist on your own, for instance, by looking for a professional association on the Internet.
  • Understand the costs. If you have health insurance, find out what coverage it offers for psychotherapy. Some health plans cover only a certain number of psychotherapy sessions a year. Also, talk to your therapist about fees and payment options.
  • Review your concerns. Before your first appointment, think about what issues you’d like to work on. While you also can sort this out with your therapist, having some sense in advance may provide a good starting point.

Check qualifications

Before seeing a psychotherapist, check his or her background, education, certification, and licensing. Psychotherapist is a general term rather than a job title or indication of education, training or licensure.

Trained psychotherapists can have a number of different job titles, depending on their education and role. Most have a master’s or doctoral degree with specific training in psychological counseling. Medical doctors who specialize in mental health (psychiatrists) can prescribe medications as well as provide psychotherapy.

Examples of psychotherapists include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed professional counselors, licensed social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses, or other licensed professionals with mental health training.

Make sure that the therapist you choose meets state certification and licensing requirements for his or her particular discipline. The key is to find a skilled therapist who can match the type and intensity of therapy with your needs.

What you can expect

Your first therapy session

At the first psychotherapy session, the therapist typically gathers information about you and your needs. You may be asked to fill out forms about your current and past physical and emotional health. It might take a few sessions for your therapist to fully understand your situation and concerns and to determine the best approach or course of action.

The first session is also an opportunity for you to interview your therapist to see if his or her approach and personality are going to work for you. Make sure you understand:

  • What type of therapy will be used
  • The goals of your treatment
  • The length of each session
  • How many therapy sessions you may need

Don’t hesitate to ask questions anytime during your appointment. If you don’t feel comfortable with the first psychotherapist you see, try someone else. Having a good fit with your therapist is critical for psychotherapy to be effective.

Starting psychotherapy

You’ll likely meet in your therapist’s office or a clinic once a week or every other week for a session that lasts about 45 to 60 minutes. Psychotherapy, usually in a group session with a focus on safety and stabilization, also can take place in a hospital if you’ve been admitted for treatment.

Types of psychotherapy

There are a number of effective types of psychotherapy. Some work better than others in treating certain disorders and conditions. In many cases, therapists use a combination of techniques. Your therapist will consider your particular situation and preferences to determine which approach may be best for you.

Although many types of therapies exist, some psychotherapy techniques proven to be effective include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones
  • Dialectical behavior therapy, a type of CBT that teaches behavioral skills to help you handle stress, manage your emotions and improve your relationships with others
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy, which helps you become aware of and accept your thoughts and feelings and commit to making changes, increasing your ability to cope with and adjust to situations
  • Psychodynamic and psychoanalysis therapies, which focus on increasing your awareness of unconscious thoughts and behaviors, developing new insights into your motivations, and resolving conflicts
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy, which focuses on addressing problems with your current relationships with other people to improve your interpersonal skills — how you relate to others, such as family, friends and colleagues
  • Supportive psychotherapy, which reinforces your ability to cope with stress and difficult situations

Psychotherapy is offered in different formats, including individual, couple, family or group therapy sessions, and it can be effective for all age groups.

During psychotherapy

For most types of psychotherapy, your therapist encourages you to talk about your thoughts and feelings and what’s troubling you. Don’t worry if you find it hard to open up about your feelings. Your therapist can help you gain more confidence and comfort as time goes on.

Because psychotherapy sometimes involves intense emotional discussions, you may find yourself crying, upset or even having an angry outburst during a session. Some people may feel physically exhausted after a session. Your therapist is there to help you cope with such feelings and emotions.

Your therapist may ask you to do “homework” — activities or practices that build on what you learn during your regular therapy sessions. Over time, discussing your concerns can help improve your mood, change the way you think and feel about yourself, and improve your ability to cope with problems.

Confidentiality

Except in rare and specific circumstances, conversations with your therapist are confidential. However, a therapist may break confidentiality if there is an immediate threat to safety (yours or someone else’s) or when required by state or federal law to report concerns to authorities. Your therapist can answer questions about confidentiality.

Length of psychotherapy

The number of psychotherapy sessions you need — as well as how frequently you need to see your therapist — depends on such factors as:

  • Your particular mental illness or situation
  • Severity of your symptoms
  • How long you’ve had symptoms or have been dealing with your situation
  • How quickly you make progress
  • How much stress you’re experiencing
  • How much your mental health concerns interfere with day-to-day life
  • How much support you receive from family members and others
  • Cost and insurance limitations

It may take only weeks to help you cope with a short-term situation. Or, treatment may last a year or longer if you have a long-term mental illness or other long-term concerns.

Results

Psychotherapy may not cure your condition or make an unpleasant situation go away. But it can give you the power to cope in a healthy way and to feel better about yourself and your life.

Getting the most out of psychotherapy

Take steps to get the most out of your therapy and help make it a success.

  • Make sure you feel comfortable with your therapist. If you don’t, look for another therapist with whom you feel more at ease.
  • Approach therapy as a partnership. Therapy is most effective when you’re an active participant and share in decision-making. Make sure you and your therapist agree about the major issues and how to tackle them. Together, you can set goals and measure progress over time.
  • Be open and honest. Success depends on willingness to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and to consider new insights, ideas and ways of doing things. If you’re reluctant to talk about certain issues because of painful emotions, embarrassment or fears about your therapist’s reaction, let your therapist know.
  • Stick to your treatment plan. If you feel down or lack motivation, it may be tempting to skip psychotherapy sessions. Doing so can disrupt your progress. Try to attend all sessions and to give some thought to what you want to discuss.
  • Don’t expect instant results. Working on emotional issues can be painful and may require hard work. You may need several sessions before you begin to see improvement.
  • Do your homework between sessions. If your therapist asks you to document your thoughts in a journal or do other activities outside of your therapy sessions, follow through. These homework assignments can help you apply what you’ve learned in the therapy sessions to your life.
  • If psychotherapy isn’t helping, talk to your therapist. If you don’t feel that you’re benefiting from therapy after several sessions, talk to your therapist about it. You and your therapist may decide to make some changes or try a different approach that may be more effective.

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