Psychotherapy

Often referred to as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy can be very helpful when it comes to overcoming a variety of issues or changes people face throughout their life. Our team of therapy experts is dedicated to approaching psychotherapy as a collaborative effort so you can get the most out of each session.

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy involves communication between a patient and their therapist to help with a variety of problems, including:

  • Family issues, grief, or career dissatisfaction
  • Emotional distress, such as depression, anxiety or fear
  • Negative or destructive thoughts or actions

The goal of psychotherapy is to eliminate or control the troubling symptoms people experience and increase overall well-being. Typically, this type of therapy begins with an assessment, which focuses on the patient’s background and what issue led them to seek help. Afterward, the doctor and patient will agree on a treatment strategy, procedure and session schedule. Everyone’s needs vary and each treatment is catered to the patient’s concerns, personality and life circumstances.

Psychotherapy and psychiatry are often confused as they are overlapping professions. While both are mental health therapies, psychotherapy involves a therapist and not a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is someone who specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. A psychiatrist often prescribes medication and helps patients manage medication. A psychologist is someone who can evaluate and treat mental and emotional disorders, perform psychological testing and provide psychotherapy.

Types of Psychotherapy

The type of psychotherapy a patient receives is dependent on their unique circumstances and preferences. In some cases, elements from different types of therapies are combined to best meet the needs of the patient. There are several different types of psychotherapy, including:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on identifying and changing patterns of thinking and behaving that are ineffective or harmful. CBT focuses on a patient’s current problems and explores how to solve them by applying functional behaviors and more accurate thoughts. This type of therapy can be helpful in treating a variety of disorders, such as:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps regulate a patient’s emotions. Dialectical behavior therapy focuses on teaching new skills to help patients take responsibility and change unhealthy or disruptive behaviors.

This type of therapy is often used to treat:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy usually involves both group and individual therapy.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal therapy is a short-term form of treatment that helps patients understand underlying, interpersonal troublesome issues. These issues can include changes in social or work roles, conflicts with others or unresolved grief. The goal of IPT is to help patients improve their communication skills with others and learn healthy ways to express their emotions. IPT is most often used to treat depression.

Family-Focused Therapy

Family-focused therapy (FFT) is designed to help individuals with bipolar disorder. FFT involves a combination of two therapy approaches – psychoeducation and family-oriented therapy. This therapy treats the whole family of the person with bipolar disorder as it can hugely impact the entire family.

The goal of FFT is to establish healthier familial relationships, enhance connection and improve communication. These improvements can help family members become a better emotional support system for each other and help the person with bipolar disorder manage their disorder and overall well-being.

Who Can Benefit from Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy helps with a wide range of issues, such as low self-esteem, addiction, depression or family disputes. Anyone who is unable to cope with or is feeling overwhelmed by their problems can benefit from psychotherapy.

What to Expect from Psychotherapy

During your first session, your therapist will collect information about you and your needs. You may be asked questions or to fill out a form with information about your current and past physical and emotional health. Keep in mind that it may take you and your therapist a few sessions to determine the best course of treatment based on your unique needs.

The first session with a therapist is also an opportunity for patients to get to know their therapist and ensure the therapist is a good match. In order for psychotherapy to work, a good relationship with your therapist is critical. Ask questions throughout your appointment and, if you don’t feel comfortable, try someone else.

Once you’ve settled on a therapist and treatment plan, you will likely meet at your therapist’s office or online for a session that lasts about 45 to 60 minutes. The frequency of your sessions will depend on your treatment plan and needs, but usually happen once a week or every other week. Depending on your situation, psychotherapy can be as short as a few weeks for short-term situations or, in the case of mental illness or long-term concerns, a year or longer.

In most cases, psychotherapy can be provided at an outpatient facility. If you’ve been admitted for treatment, psychotherapy can take place in a hospital. These sessions usually happen in a group setting and focus on safety and stabilization.

No matter what you’re facing, the experts at Banner Health are here to diagnose, treat and help you feel like yourself again.