Psychology, also known as talk therapy, refers to techniques that assist people in changing problematic behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. It is a catch-all term for treating psychological disorders and mental distress with verbal and psychological techniques.
During this process, a trained psychotherapist assists the client in addressing specific or general issues, such as mental illness or a source of life stress. Various techniques and strategies can be used depending on the therapist’s approach. Almost all types of psychotherapy involve forming a therapeutic relationship, communication, dialogue, and overcoming problematic thoughts or behaviors.
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Although psychotherapy is increasingly regarded as a distinct profession in its own right, it is provided by a wide range of professionals, including clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, mental health counselors, and psychiatric nurses.
This article discusses the various types of psychotherapy available and the potential benefits of psychotherapy. It also discusses the different conditions it can treat and its efficacy for various disorders.
Psychotherapy can take various forms depending on the therapist’s style and the patient’s needs. You may come across the following formats:
Individual therapy entails working with a psychotherapist one-on-one.
Couples therapy entails working with a therapist to improve your relationship’s functioning.
Family therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on improving the dynamics of families and can include multiple individuals within a family unit.
A small group of people with a common goal participate in group therapy. (This approach enables group members to offer and receive support from others and practice new behaviors in a supportive and receptive environment.)
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When most people hear “psychotherapy,” they envision a patient lying on a couch, talking, while a therapist sits nearby, jotting down thoughts on a yellow notepad. In reality, psychotherapy employs a wide range of techniques and practices.
The exact method used in each situation can vary depending on several factors, including the therapist’s training and background, the client’s preferences, and the nature of the client’s current problem. Here is a quick rundown of the various types of therapy.
Conditioning techniques began to play an essential role in psychotherapy when behaviorism became a more prominent school of thought in the early twentieth century.
While behaviorism is no longer as prevalent as it once was, many methods are still widely used today. To help clients change problematic behaviors, behavioral therapy frequently employs classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning.
CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic treatment that assists patients in understanding the thoughts and feelings that influence their behaviors. CBT treats phobias, addiction, depression, and anxiety, among other things.
CBT employs cognitive and behavioral techniques to alter harmful thoughts and behaviors. The approach assists people in changing underlying thoughts that contribute to distress and in changing problematic behaviors resulting from these thoughts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The cognitive revolution of the 1960s also significantly impacted psychotherapy practice, as psychologists began to focus more on how human thought processes influence behavior and functioning.
For example, if you are prone to focusing on the negative aspects of every situation, you will most likely have a more pessimistic outlook and a gloomier overall mood.
Cognitive therapy aims to identify and replace the cognitive distortions that lead to this thinking with more realistic and positive ones. People can improve their moods and overall well-being by doing so.
Cognitive therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts significantly impact our mental health.
Beginning in the 1950s, the humanistic psychology school of thought began to impact psychotherapy. Carl Rogers, a humanist psychologist, pioneered client-centered therapy, which centered on the therapist expressing unconditional positive regard for the client.
Aspects of this approach are still widely used today. The humanistic approach to psychotherapy focuses on assisting people in reaching their full potential and emphasizes the importance of self-discovery, free will, and self-actualization.
While psychotherapy has been practiced in various forms since the ancient Greeks, it formally started when Sigmund Freud began working with patients using talk therapy. Freud’s techniques included transference analysis, dream interpretation, and free association.
This psychoanalytic approach entails probing a person’s thoughts and past experiences to uncover unconscious thoughts, feelings, and memories that may influence behavior.
There are numerous forms of psychotherapy available. Several factors, including your preferences, your condition, and the severity of your symptoms, determine the best type for you.
What Can Psychotherapy Do? Psychotherapy takes many forms, but all are intended to assist people in overcoming obstacles, developing coping strategies, and living happier and healthier lives.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a psychological or psychiatric disorder, an evaluation by a trained and experienced psychotherapist qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions may be beneficial.
Psychotherapy is used to treat a variety of mental health issues, including:
OCD is an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Ptsd is an acronym for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol
Furthermore, psychotherapy has been shown to assist people in dealing with the following:
Chronic pain or severe illness
Breakups and divorce
Bereavement or loss
How to Maximize the Benefits of Psychotherapy
The efficacy of therapy can differ depending on a variety of factors. The nature and severity of your problem will play a role, but there are other things you can do to make the most of your sessions, such as:
Being open and honest with your therapist: Don’t try to hide your problems or emotions. Your goal is to be yourself without hiding aspects of your personality that you are hesitant to reveal.
Feeling your emotions: Negative or distressing emotions such as grief, anger, fear, or jealousy should not be hidden. Talking about these emotions in the context of therapy can help you better understand them.
Being receptive to the process: Work with your therapist to establish an open and genuine therapeutic alliance. According to some research, therapy is most effective when you feel a connection with the mental health professional who is treating you. 1
Attending your classes: Life gets busy, but do your best to stick to your treatment plan and scheduled appointments.
Doing the work: If your therapist assigns homework for you to work on outside of sessions, try to finish it before the next session.
Psychotherapy is frequently less expensive than other types of therapy and is an option for those who do not require psychotropic medication.
Even if you believe that there is something “off” in your life that could be improved by consulting with a mental health professional, you can reap the potential benefits of psychotherapy.
Among the many advantages of psychotherapy are the following:
enhanced communication abilities
Better thinking habits and increased awareness of negative thoughts
Greater understanding of your life Ability to make healthier choices
Improved coping strategies for dealing with stress
improved family ties
One of the most severe criticisms leveled at psychotherapy is that it is ineffective. In one early and widely cited study, Hans Eysenck, a psychologist, discovered that two-thirds of participants either improved or recovered on their own after two years, regardless of whether they had received psychotherapy.
However, numerous subsequent studies have found that psychotherapy can improve clients’ well-being.
According to Verywell Mind’s Cost of Therapy Survey, 8 out of 10 Americans who receive therapy believe it is a good investment despite the high costs. Additionally:
84% are satisfied with their progress toward personal mental health goals, while 91% are satisfied with the quality of therapy they receive.
78% believe therapy plays a vital role in achieving those goals.
According to statistician and psychologist Bruce Wampold’s book “The Great Psychotherapy Debate,” factors such as the therapist’s personality and belief in the effectiveness of the treatment played a role in the outcome of psychotherapy.
Surprisingly, Wampold proposed that the type of therapy and the theoretical foundation of the treatment do not affect the outcome. The disagreement has prompted researchers to continue investigating and studying psychotherapy’s efficacy. 3
Recent research has shown that psychotherapy is effective for some anxiety disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, grief, and trauma.
Mental health conditions can cause distress and make functioning difficult, but psychotherapy can help improve well-being and reduce the negative impact of many symptoms.
Things to Think About
Both therapists and clients have several issues or concerns. Psychotherapists must consider issues such as informed consent, patient confidentiality, and the duty to warn when providing client services.
Informed consent entails informing a client about the treatment’s potential risks and benefits. This includes explaining the exact nature of the treatment and any potential risks, costs, and alternatives. Counselors and therapists have the right to violate confidentiality if a client poses a threat to another person.
Because clients frequently discuss highly personal and sensitive issues, psychotherapists are also legally required to protect a patient’s right to confidentiality. However, if clients pose an imminent threat to themselves or others, psychotherapists have the right to breach patient confidentiality.
How to Determine If You Need Psychotherapy
Even if you understand that psychotherapy can help with life’s problems, it can be challenging to seek help or even recognize when it is time to speak with a professional.
When you experience the following symptoms, it may be time to see a psychotherapist:
The problem is causing severe distress or disruption in your life. If you believe your pain is interfering with several important aspects of your life, such as school, work, or relationships, it may be time to consider psychotherapy.
You use unhealthy or dangerous coping mechanisms. If you are coping with your problem in unhealthy ways, such as smoking, drinking, overeating, or venting your frustrations on others, seeking help can help you find healthier and more beneficial coping strategies.
Friends and family are worried about your health. If it has gotten to the point where other people are concerned about your emotional health, it may be time to see if psychotherapy can help.
So far, you’ve yet to try anything. You’ve read self-help books, tried techniques you read about online, and even tried ignoring the problem, but things seem to be staying the same or worsening.
A common misconception among patients about therapy is that you will feel better right away; however, the reality is that it is a unique process that takes time, depending on the type of psychotherapy you require and the severity of your symptoms.
What to Do First
Psychotherapy is a viable treatment option for a variety of psychological issues. You don’t have to wait until your life becomes unbearably tricky to ask for help. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you will be able to receive the assistance you require to live a healthier, happier life.
If you believe that you or someone you care about could benefit from this type of therapy, take the following steps:
Consult your primary care physician. Your doctor may first rule out any physical diseases that could be causing or contributing to your symptoms. If no specific physical cause can be identified, your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional trained to diagnose and treat mental illness.
Look for someone who is qualified. People who provide psychotherapy may hold a variety of titles or degrees. Titles like “psychologist” or “psychiatrist” are protected and require specific education and licensing. Psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed counselors, licensed social workers, and advanced psychiatric nurses are qualified to provide psychotherapy.
Choose the best therapist for you. Consider whether you are comfortable disclosing personal information to the therapist when choosing one. You should also look into the therapist’s credentials, such as the type of degree they have and their years of experience. Referrals from friends and family members can sometimes lead you to a therapist who can assist you.
Consider whether or not you require medication. Your symptoms should be considered when selecting a treatment and therapist. Seeing a psychiatrist, for example, may be beneficial if the best treatment for you would require prescription medications and psychotherapy. You may be referred to a clinical psychologist or counselor if you would benefit most from talk therapy without prescription drugs. 5
Be prepared to complete the paperwork. When you first begin therapy, your therapist will most likely ask for your medical history and personal contact information. You will almost certainly be required to sign some consent forms as well.
Feel free to experiment with different therapists. Psychotherapy is an art as well as a science. It’s okay to try therapy with someone else if your sessions aren’t helpful or you don’t seem to “click” with your current therapist. Continue looking until you find a professional with whom you feel at ease.
• Review this week’s Learning Resources and reflect on the insights they provide about diagnosing and treating PTSD.
• View the media Presentation Example: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and assess the client in the case study.
• For guidance on assessing the client, refer to Chapter 3 of the Wheeler text.
Note: To complete this Assignment, you must assess the client, but you are not required to submit a formal comprehensive client assessment.
1–2 pages, address the following:
• Briefly explain the neurobiological basis for PTSD illness.
• Discuss the DSM-5-TR diagnostic criteria for PTSD and relate these criteria to the symptomology presented in the case study. Does the video case presentation provide sufficient information to derive a PTSD diagnosis? Justify your reasoning. Do you agree with the other diagnoses in the case presentation? Why or why not?
• Discuss one other psychotherapy treatment option for the client in this case study. Explain whether your treatment option is considered a “gold standard treatment” from a clinical practice guideline perspective, and why using gold standard, evidence-based treatments from clinical practice guidelines is important for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners.
Support your Assignment with specific examples from this week’s media and at least three -five peer-reviewed, evidence-based sources. Explain why each of your supporting sources is considered scholarly. Attach the PDFs of your sources.