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Psychotherapy: Definition, Benefits, Preparations & Procedures


Psychotherapy: Definition, Benefits, Preparations & Procedures

Definition of psychotherapy

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or psychological therapy, is a common method used to treat a variety of mental disorders and emotional problems. This method is given by a professional therapist who is an expert in the field of mental health, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Through this therapy, the therapist will identify and change your feelings, emotions and moods, thoughts, and behaviors that are disturbing and depressing you. The therapist will also help you learn how to take control of your life and deal with challenging situations in a healthier and more effective way.

In these ways, you can improve your well-being and acquire new skills and habits in overcoming the challenges that arise in the future.

Conditions requiring psychotherapy

Who needs psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a type of therapy that is commonly used as a way to treat mental or psychological disorders. People with the following mental disorders can be treated with psychotherapy:

  • Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other types of anxiety disorders.

  • Mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder (bipolar disorder).

  • Addictions, such as alcoholism or drug dependence.

  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia.

  • Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.

  • Schizophrenia or other disorders that cause a person to be unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality (psychosis).

Conditions that also require psychotherapy

Although identical to the mental illnesses above, not everyone who does psychological therapy has a mental disorder. This is what is often misunderstood by many people, giving rise to various myths about psychotherapy, one of which is that this therapy is only for mentally ill or insane people.

In fact, psychotherapy is not only a way to help cure mental illness. However, this therapy can also be used for anyone who wants to understand themselves better or find ways to deal with problems, pressures, or conflicts in their lives. The following are some signs or symptoms that may require psychotherapy:

  • Feeling excessive and protracted sadness and hopelessness.

  • The problem has not been solved even though I have tried my best with the help of the closest people.

  • Difficulty concentrating and performing daily activities.

  • Worrying and worrying excessively to the point of not being able to think positively.

  • Appears to exhibit negative behavior, such as irritability, excessive alcohol consumption, or aggressive behavior that harms you or others.

  • Changes in certain habits or symptoms, such as changes in eating (including emotional eating) and sleep, reduced energy, or lack of interest in an activity you enjoy.

Usually, these signs are common for someone who has experienced severe stress or psychological trauma, such as losing a loved one, facing divorce, losing a job, having relationship or family problems, having a chronic physical illness that affects psychological conditions, and others.

Not only that, psychotherapy is also sometimes needed by someone who has family members or children with certain mental conditions. Usually, this is needed to know how to help and treat others with mental disorders.

Benefits of psychotherapy

What are the benefits of psychotherapy that can be obtained?

Psychotherapy is not a way to stop events that cause stress in a person. However, this mental therapy can help you understand yourself better and give you the strength to deal with stress or other psychological problems in a healthier way.

In addition, here are some other benefits that you can get by doing psychotherapy:

  • Resolve conflicts with partners or other people.

  • Relieves anxiety or stress due to certain events or situations.

  • Coping or living life better after a major life-changing event, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job.

  • Have the ability to learn to manage unhealthy responses to a problem, such as anger (agitation) or aggressive behavior.

  • Have a strong and healthy mentality in the face of serious and chronic physical health problems, such as cancer or diabetes.

  • Recovering from physical or sexual abuse, including abusive relationships, or the trauma of witnessing violence.

  • Overcome sleeplessness and sleep better, especially if you have insomnia.

Reporting from the Mayo Clinic, in some cases, psychotherapy is as effective as drugs for dealing with psychological problems, such as antidepressant drugs. However, psychotherapy alone may not be enough to address any mental health problems you have. You may also need to have this mental therapy along with other medications or treatments.

Types of psychotherapy

There are many different approaches to psychotherapy. Usually, the therapist will apply one or a combination of several approaches that best suit your condition. Here are the types of psychotherapy you might undergo:

Cognitive and behavioral therapy (CBT)

In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), you will be helped to detect unhealthy thought patterns or behaviors that are the source of problems in your life. Then, you have to get used to forming new, better patterns of thought and behavior.

This type of therapy is usually given to treat various mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or disorders related to trauma.

Psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapy

This type of therapy leads you to look deeper into your subconscious. You will be invited to explore various incidents, problems, or inappropriate thoughts that you were not aware of affecting your behavior and mental health.

Then, the therapist will help you to change that inappropriate thought pattern, so you can deal with the problem better.

Interpersonal therapy

Interpersonal therapy is a type of short-term psychotherapy. This type of therapy helps evaluate and understand how you relate to other people, such as family, friends, or coworkers. From here, you will become more sensitive when interacting or resolving conflicts with other people.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

So that you can deal with problems more healthily, you will be trained to be aware of and accept your feelings and thoughts instead of denying or avoiding them. After that you have to commit to changing it.

Dialectical behavior therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy or dialectical behavior therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches positive behaviors to help manage stress, control emotions, and improve your relationships with others.

Supportive psychotherapy

In this type of therapy, you will be assisted by a therapist to identify stressful events that affect your mental health and strengthen your ability to cope with stress and various difficult situations that may come your way.

Family therapy

Family therapy aims to improve family relationships. Not only you, this therapy will also be done with all your family members.


Hypnotherapy is a type of therapy performed using hypnosis. This type of therapy can control unwanted behaviors and thoughts to help you better cope with anxiety or pain. You will usually feel more calm, relaxed, and open when you are under hypnosis.

Preparation before psychotherapy

There are three main things you need to consider before undergoing psychological therapy. Here are the three things:

Finding the right therapist

Before starting psychotherapy, you certainly have to find the therapist who is right for your problem and is trusted. You can look for it yourself at the relevant professional association, but you can also ask your doctor, health insurance, friends, or other trusted sources for advice.

Do not forget to check the background, education, certification, and licensing or license of the psychotherapist you are going to. Examples of psychotherapists that you can choose from include psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, marriage and family therapists to help fix marital problems, or other professionals who are licensed to treat mental health problems.

Find out the costs required

The second step is to figure out the fees you will incur and the payment options. If you have health insurance, also find out if the health insurance benefits you have will cover the psychotherapy you will undergo, including how many psychotherapy sessions will be covered.

Re-detail the complaint or problem

You may need to reiterate the problem that you will bring to the therapist. This can help you understand the overall problem you have so that you and the therapist can find a more effective treatment.

In addition to re-detailing your complaint, you can also prepare a list of questions related to the psychotherapy session that you will undergo, such as the length of each session (duration) and how many sessions you need to undergo.

Psychotherapy procedures

What will be done when the psychotherapy procedure begins?

Psychotherapy, regardless of type, can be done individually, with a partner, family, or specific group. This therapy can be short-term (only a few sessions), immediate problem solving, or long-term (up to months or years). This depends on the complexity of the problem, the severity of the symptoms, how long the problem has been going on, and how quickly you are progressing.

In the first session, the therapist will gather information about you, the problems you have, and your reasons for and needs for psychotherapy. You may also be asked to fill out a form about your current and past physical and emotional health.

It also includes any mental health history you have in your family, how the problem has affected your daily life, as well as social support, including family, friends, or relatives, during this time.

From the results of the discussion and filling out the form, you and the therapist will determine the type of therapy that is suitable, the goals of therapy, how many sessions are needed, and the length of each session. However, it should also be understood, sometimes the therapist needs several sessions to understand the whole situation and find out which type of therapy suits you.

As for generally, each session that is run can last for 45-60 minutes. You may need to meet at the therapist's office or clinic once a week, or at the hospital if you need intensive hospitalization to treat your condition.

What will happen during the psychotherapy sessions?

During a psychotherapy session, the therapist will generally encourage you to talk about the thoughts and feelings that are bothering you. The therapist will also help you to be more confident, open, and comfortable while conveying these disturbing things.

During the procedure, you may cry, feel irritated, or even angry with emotions when you talk about your condition. This is a natural thing to happen because this mental therapy does involve intense emotional discussions.

In fact, some people may even feel physically exhausted after the session is over. But don't worry, the therapist will help you deal with these explosive feelings and emotions.

After sharing your condition, the therapist may ask you to do some “homework”. These are usually specific activities to help you develop the skills you learned during the session.

Over time, your “homework” and discussion sessions with a therapist can help improve your mood and change your thinking and behavior in dealing with problems.

Results of psychotherapy

What results will be obtained from psychotherapy?

It should be understood, you will not completely recover from the mental condition or psychological problems you have. However, as a result of this mind and soul therapy, you will gain the strength and skills to deal with various problems in a healthier way. You too can have a better life in the future.

In certain cases, the therapist may advise you to consult a doctor. This is to find out if there are other diseases that may be underlying your condition, such as a thyroid disorder. You may also need to undergo other types of treatment to treat the medical condition. Consult a doctor and mental health professional for appropriate treatment.

How to get the most out of psychotherapy?

There are several tips or ways you can do to get the most out of the psychological therapy you are doing, namely:

Be honest and open with the therapist.

Be an active participant in therapy.

Take your time and make therapy sessions a routine, as this mental therapy can last for months.

If that doesn't work, consult another type or approach of therapy that may be more helpful.

The risks of psychotherapy

Generally, the risk of undergoing psychotherapy is very small. You may just feel uncomfortable having to talk about old experiences, feelings, or wounds that are so painful. However, this risk can be reduced when you work with a skilled therapist who can adapt to your needs.

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