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Overview of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is composed of counseling by a trainedprofessional, and a client who is experiencing mental health issues. The aim ofpsychotherapy is to help the client be as functional and as productive in theeveryday life as possible. Most psychotherapists focus on communication and changes ofpatterns of behavior by employing various techniques. There is a wide range ofprofessionals who can perform psychotherapy, and some include psychiatrists, varioustype of psychologists, marriage, family or school counselors, psychiatricnurses, and so on. Individuals who are trained in psychotherapy have completedgraduate studies as well as supervised clinical internships or residences. Thereis a wide range of mental health issues that are dealt with in psychotherapy.Some include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, variouspersonality disorders, addiction, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. Itshould be noted that psychotherapy, although sometimes performed by medicaldoctors, does not necessarily result in a diagnosis, and it recommended foranyone experiencing hardship. When it comes to possible risks of psychotherapy,those are fairly low. However, confronting some underlying issues can be veryagonizing. For instance, exploring deeply buried painful feelings is for mostindividuals fairly unpleasant. Also, those who suffer from any type of phobiawill have to face their fears, which are generally avoided if possible. Having to deal with a stressful situation can produce anxiety, but the therapist is there to teach the client numerous coping strategies that ultimately lead to better handling of debilitating beliefs, attitudes, and feelings. It should be noted that psychotherapy is mostly used in treating problems which had a number of years of accumulate.

Basic Elements of Psychotherapy

Forms of psychotherapy have been practiced for years, butthe first widely accepted form is psychoanalysis, developed by Sigmund Freud inthe early 20th century. Psychoanalysis is a form of long termtherapy still practiced today, and some of the most characteristic techniquesinclude transference, dream interpretation, free association, and so on. Psychodynamictherapy stems from psychoanalysis and it dwells into the unconscious mind,connecting it with the perception of self. Like psychoanalysis, it can takeyears to complete, while in some cases it is an ongoing process. Behavioraltherapy attempts to alter destructive behavioral patterns by teachingindividuals new, effective behavior. Techniques employed by behavioraltherapists are conditioning, and principles of social learning theory. Behaviorists deal more with the symptoms of disturbances rather than theirroot causes. Anxiety disorders and various phobias are very successfullytreated with behavioral psychotherapy. In addition, many clinicians employtechniques of existential psychotherapy, such as unconditional positive regard,congruence, and empathic understanding. The relationship that the clinicianestablishes with the client is essential for the psychotherapy to be fruitful. Theaim of existential therapy is to allow the client to express their deepestthoughts, feelings, and perceptions, and find full understanding from thetherapist. The cognitive approach is focused on dealing with the currentsituation, and altering the individual’s reactions and beliefs. Cognitive behavioraltherapy is an approach that deals with the individual’s debilitating beliefsand behaviors. Finally, systems therapy is focused on the patient’s family andother groups.

What to Expect in Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is beneficial for anyone who is enduringdifficult life phases, and in many cases teaches conflict resolution,relaxation and anti stress techniques. Psychotherapy helps when having to dealwith death of a family member or friend, or divorce. In addition, there are manyelements of everyday life which require effective, constructive behavior,and it can be taught in psychotherapy. Regular counseling sessions lead tobetter sleep hygiene, and reduction of sexual problems. Individuals who have todeal with serious illnesses can benefit from psychotherapy as well as thoserecovering from various types of abuse. Depending on the types of problems,psychotherapy may be sufficient, but at the same time clients should keep inmind that for persistent mental health problems psychotherapy is most effectivewhen combined with medications. In addition, when a client is referred to apsychotherapist, he or she is asked to answer various questions regarding bothpsychological and physical health history. The more information a therapistreceives the better understanding he will have of the client, and therefore be moreable to assist by choosing the most appropriate course of action. Anyone whoenters psychotherapy should be aware of the psychological paradigm thetherapist will follow as well as the length of therapy and its goals. Those whosee the therapist on a regular basis are expected to attend once a week for anhour long session. In case the person does not believe there is a good fitbetween himself and the therapist, another practitioner should be sought asestablishing a strong relationship is crucial for favorable results. Ultimately, when the clients can identify and understand their feelings as well as beliefs they are better equipped with management skills necessary to deal with difficult or challenging situations.

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