What is Psychotherapy?

Updated November 22, 2022 · 3 Min Read

Explore this resource by Best Counseling Degrees to learn all about psychotherapy.

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Psychotherapy is a type of psychology better known as counseling. The idea behind the term is that medical professionals can help clients feel better about themselves without the use of medical treatments. There are some working in the field today who believe that clients respond best when they use a combination of both counseling and some form of medication. Those working in the field generally attend graduate school and complete a residency or fieldwork component after graduation. There are some things you need to consider when deciding to study this type of psychology.

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What Does the Term Mean?

The terms psychotherapy and counseling are often interchangeable. Also known as talk therapy, professionals working in this field believe in talking things out with their patients. They can work with clients dealing with depression and anxiety, or they can work with patients struggling with home and family issues or serious medical conditions. Psychotherapists generally work out a series of goals with clients during the first few visits. They then spend the remaining sessions helping the client reach those goals. Psychotherapists usually give clients a specific amount of time to work on their goals.

Where Do Therapists Work?

Therapists specializing in this field can work in a variety of different medical fields. Many therapists set up their own practices and treat patients in standalone offices. This lets them decide when they want to work and set their own hours of operation. Therapists can also work in community health centers. These centers offer different types of treatments for those living in the city or the surrounding area, including therapy, physicals and wellness checks. Some therapists also work in practices with other psychologists and mental health doctors to provide all patients with the help that they need.

Types of Therapy

According to John M. Grohol, there are at least seven different types of therapies used in this profession. Those therapies include behavior, cognitive, dialetical behavior, interpersonal, psychodynamic, group and family. Family therapy often brings together a married couple and their children to deal with issues relating to infidelity, money problems, peer pressure and other problems. Behavior therapy is a type of one on one therapy that asks a patient to sit down with a therapist and talk about the issues they have. The therapist shows the patient how to change his or her thoughts, which can then result in behavioral changes.

Medical vs. Non-Medical Treatment

This field of psychology is equally divided between those who believe in medical and those who believe in non-medical treatment. Non-medical treatment usually refers to counseling and talking alone. Proponents believe that patients can change their thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and even lives when they simply talk things out with a neutral party. Medical treatment proponents believe that counseling works better when combined with some form of medication. While clients will still attend counseling sessions with a psychologist or doctor, they'll also receive a prescription for a medication that they can take at home to lessen their symptoms.

Psychology is one of the most diverse fields of study. Those working in the field study abnormal behaviors, analyze forensic evidence, work with individuals and provide support for drug addicts and those addicted to other substances. Psychotherapy is a field of psychology that focuses on talking things out and providing counseling to clients.

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