On September 25 every year, we have the opportunity to raise awareness about one of our treatment services here at the Holiner Psychiatric Group. ‘Psychotherapy’ refers to a range of treatments for mental health disorders with the assistance of a therapist. For many patients, psychotherapy equips them to cope and adapt to difficult situations in a more effective way than they have before.
What is Psychotherapy Like?
The number of therapy sessions necessary varies for the individual patient. For some patients, it may be necessary only to have a few sessions, while for others, the issue may be rooted deeper and they may attend therapy for months or years to come. Sessions typically last one hour, once a week, and are carefully and purposefully structured. Sessions may be either one-to-one or done in pairs or groups. Other forms of communication including drama, storytelling, and music may be used depending on the style and philosophy of your therapist.
The Talking Cure
Some psychotherapists call the treatment “The Talking Cure” instead of referring to it as a form of medication. Psychotherapists and psychologists perform an inherently different job than psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners perform. Their viewpoint leans towards individual distress being rooted in human relationships as opposed to a personal disorder. While some psychiatrists perform psychotherapy in addition to prescribing medication, psychotherapy will focus on a greater scope of life such as relationships with family members and co-workers and practical ways the patient can cope with their disorder.
Types of Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is recognized by multiple styles and approaches, including the following:
- Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy helps a patient understand how changing their behavior can change how they feel. Engaging in positive and socially reinforcing activities is a key part of this therapy, and the goal is for better behavioral responses to replace the old ones as time progresses.
- Cognitive Therapy: Cognitive therapy reflects on how our thoughts shape our feelings. Some patient’s mental disorders may be rooted in thought or beliefs that have no evidence such as, “I am useless,” or, “I’m always the problem.”
- Interpersonal Therapy: Interpersonal therapy focuses on interpersonal relationships. Some mental health disorders may be rooted in a patient’s relationship with someone else. If the patient learns how to improve their communication patterns, it could lead to a greater ability to manage their disorder.
- Family Therapy: Family therapy focuses on symptoms within the family context. Some disorders may be rooted in a patient’s family structure to where they require treatment of the family as a whole. A good example of this would be disorders such as depression or anxiety that are the product of a patient’s marriage.
- Group Therapy: Group therapy sessions usually involve 6 to 12 patients and one therapist. Participants in a group therapy session usually have a similar condition and seek improvement through interaction with a therapist, observation of their fellow group members and how they handle their condition, and feedback. Group therapy may be beneficial for patients feeling isolation and loneliness because of their disorder. While intimidation is a normal feeling at first, the sense of community soon becomes evident and makes for a rewarding experience.
- Psychodynamic Therapy: Sometimes referred to as insight-oriented therapy, psychodynamic therapy focuses on the deepest roots of mental disorders. This can include behavioral patterns that started early in life caused by a patient’s upbringing or a specific event, which may continue to impact behaviors to this day. Self-awareness and understanding of how the past affects us is an important basis for this therapy. In some instances, psychodynamic therapy works for a patient when no other form of psychotherapy has had success.
Is Psychotherapy Reliable?
At the end of the day, psychotherapy is a two-way process that requires trust between the patient and the therapist. The patient must first be willing to participate. Consistent appointments should be set, and the patient must be honest regarding their symptoms and completing assignments as given by their therapist.
Ultimately, patients may have to experience changes they didn’t expect or want. For some patients, this may require reliving past events. It’s impossible to predict if and when this will happen, but therapists are trained to address these memories when they do.
Many people express concern with psychotherapy being too expensive and time-consuming. For patients who require treatment, the Mental Health Parity Act requires under the law that insurance providers prioritize the payment of mental health care as they would for traditional medical care.
At the Holiner Psychiatric Group, our Licensed Psychologist Dr. Peter Thomas works with patients through Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to provide quality treatment for mental disorders. If you’re interested in setting up an initial appointment with our office, please call us or fill out our new patient request form.