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What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a way to treat people with a mental disorder by helping them understand their illness. It is sometimes called "talk therapy." Psychotherapy helps people develop strategies and tools to deal with stress and unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Through psychotherapy, patients may be better able to manage their symptoms and function at their best in everyday life.

Depending on each person's unique situation, psychotherapy may be the only treatment or it may be used in combination with medications or other therapies.

There are several different types of psychotherapy. For example:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is a blend of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy and can benefit individuals diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders or schizophrenia.
  • Interpersonal therapy is most often used on a one-on-one basis to treat people with depression or dysthymia (a more persistent but less severe form of depression).
  • Family-focused therapy was designed with the assumption that a person's relationship with his or her family is vital to the success of managing the illness. It includes family members in therapy sessions to improve family relationships, which may support better treatment results.

In addition to these therapies, many more psychotherapy approaches exist and some forms of psychotherapy continue to evolve.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health