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 specific 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.
Psychotherapy can be helpful in treating most mental health problems, including:
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:
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.
In general, 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 is able to match the type and intensity of therapy with your needs. The coping skills you learn can help you manage and conquer negative feelings and fears.
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 subtypes and variations on therapies exist, some psychotherapy techniques proven to be effective include:
Psychotherapy is offered in different formats, including individual, couple, family or group therapy sessions, and it can be effective for all age groups.