Psychotherapy, treatment of individuals with emotional problems, behavioral problems, or mental illness primarily through verbal communication. In most types of psychotherapy, a person discusses his or her problems one-on-one with a therapist. The therapist tries to understand the person’s problems and to help the individual change distressing thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.
People often seek psychotherapy when they have tried other approaches to solving a personal problem. For example, people who are depressed, anxious, or have drug or alcohol problems may find that talking to friends or family members is not enough to resolve their problems. Sometimes people may want to talk to a therapist about problems they would feel uncomfortable discussing with friends or family, such as being sexually abused as a child. Finding a therapist to talk to who is knowledgeable about emotional problems, has patients’ best interests at heart, and is relatively objective can be extremely helpful.
Psychotherapy differs in two ways from the informal help or advice that one person may give another. First, psychotherapy is conducted by a trained, certified, or licensed therapist. In addition, treatment methods in psychotherapy are guided by well-developed theories about the sources of personal problems.
At one time the term psychotherapy referred to a form of psychiatric treatment used with severely disturbed individuals, whereas counseling referred to the treatment of people with milder psychological problems or to advice given on vocational and educational matters. Today the distinction between psychotherapy and counseling is quite blurred, and many mental health professionals use the terms interchangeably. Psychotherapists and counselors often treat the same kinds of problems and use the same set of techniques.
II PROBLEMS TREATED WITH PSYCHOTHERAPY
Psychotherapy is an important form of treatment for many kinds of psychological problems. Two of... [continues]
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