Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental and emotional disturbances and disorders using psychological methods. This type of therapy may last for just a few sessions, or treatment may last for several years, depending on the individual needs of the patient. The therapy may involve just one individual at a time or a group of individuals.
Psychotherapy is used to help people solve problems, achieve goals, and manage their lives by treating a variety of mental health issues. This type of therapy is used to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias, and substance abuse. Depending on the needs of the patient, it may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies and treatment methods.
Unlike some other therapies, psychotherapy is limited to conversations. It does not include drug therapy or other physiological treatment methods. As such, practitioners do not have to be medically qualified in order to provide this type of treatment. However, a certain level of knowledge of psychological issues is expected.
Each country has different rules and requirements concerning the training, licensure, and certification of psychotherapists. In the United States, requirements vary by state. However, any individual may legally use the title of psychotherapist without being trained or licensed. As such, it is highly recommended that individuals seeking therapy ask questions concerning the training and education of a therapist before commencing treatment.
Under the heading of psychotherapy, there are numerous different types of treatment methods. Each method is formed with great consideration for theories concerning the causes of mental health conditions. Though over 250 methods exist, only a small portion of that number are considered acceptable by mainstream therapists.
An individual seeking psychotherapy will usually meet with his or her chosen therapist for a period of weeks, months, or years. The treatment methods used vary with each therapist. In general, most types of therapy can be classified as cognitive, behavioral, eclectic, or humanistic. In the United States, a great number of psychotherapists take an eclectic approach to treatment, combining different methods and techniques. Often, this approach allows therapists to tailor treatment methods to the needs and personalities of their clients.
Sometimes psychotherapy is used to treat more than one person at a time. In such cases, methods effective in group, family, and couple's therapy may be employed. At times, a therapist may choose to meet with group therapy patients individually, as well as in the group setting.