Understanding Psychotherapy And The Techniques Used
Just like physical health, your mental health is essential and needs to be taken care of. Some situations in life may affect your mental health, and at times you may not notice. But in most cases, you will realize that it is not business as usual once it becomes difficult for you to make decisions, manage small stresses, or act accordingly. You need to understand that being mentally unwell is not the same as having a mental illness.
If you’ve been through a period where your mental health was not well or if you are currently undergoing this challenge, you should know that there is help for you through psychotherapy.
What Is Psychotherapy?
Simply put, psychotherapy is a treatment option for mental disorders where only psychotherapy techniques are used instead of medicine.
Approaches to Psychotherapy
They fall into five broad categories:
1) Psychoanalysis therapy
With this approach, the treatment is focused on the problematic traits, emotions, and feelings in a patient, and hence finding a solution for them. Psychoanalysis treatment can only be successful if there is a functional relationship between the patient and the therapist. Therefore, for this approach to work, appropriate psychotherapy techniques such as relating have to be employed. This allows the patient to understand and appreciate their role in the treatment process.
2) Behavioral therapy
Behavior therapy focuses on identifying poor and destructive habits in a patient and seeking to change them. This therapy is based on the theory that every habit is learned, and thus, the unhealthy ones can be changed. It also encourages the learning of new positive behaviors. Behavioral therapy can be used to treat people with anxiety problems and even those suffering from depression.
For patients suffering from anxiety, a psychotherapy technique known as desensitizing is used to help treat the phobia. This is where a patient is repeatedly exposed to the stimuli that trigger their anxiety until it no longer affects them.
Another technique associated with behavioral therapy is operant conditioning where good behavior is rewarded while bad behavior is punished.
3) Cognitive therapy
This approach focuses on the mind rather than the actions. The theory behind this therapy is that poor behaviors and emotions are brought about by negative thinking. Therefore, transforming how patients think, consequently leads to a change in their behavior and emotions.
4) Humanistic therapy
With this approach, the central area of focus is on the humane part of the patient. It focuses on improving a person’s capacity to make sound choices and respect other people. Humanistic therapy is divided into three sub-branches.
Client-centered therapy; this branch uses a treatment approach where the therapist and the client are on the same level; no one is above the other. Therefore, the therapist is only able to help through showing interest, care, and making their concerns known to the patient.
Gestalt therapy; focuses on organismic holism. Clients are helped to understand and take responsibility for the present rather than what influence the past has on their present life.
Existential therapy; this form of psychotherapy approaches life’s difficulties from a philosophical angle. It encourages free will, finding a deeper meaning in life, and celebrating successes.
5) Integrative therapy
It is also known as holistic therapy, where all approaches are integrated into one treatment to suit the needs of the patient. Many therapists prefer it because it allows them to treat several mental conditions at once.
Effective Psychotherapy Techniques
The following techniques are used to ensure the proper treatment of mental health problems.
There has to be a standard level where the therapist and the patient meet so that the treatment can be effective. It has been proven that patients are willing and heal much quicker when they feel that their therapist understands them. Ask the patient questions, but respect their boundaries, struggles and any flaws that they may have. But optimally, show kindness.
Sometimes during therapy, the actual problem causing mental issues in your patient may not be what they are saying, but what they are not saying. For effective treatment, it is crucial to carefully listen and understand what the patient is saying, but also pay attention to that which they are not saying. Study their body language and craftily ask questions that will force the patient to give you more details.
A level of understanding has to be there between the involved parties during a therapy session for effective results. Considering that cognitive biases in the client and the therapist have a significant influence on how the treatment proceeds. It is always important for the therapist to explain the factors that made them come to a particular conclusion. The patient is at liberty to accept the findings or deny them all the same.
Creative art therapy is an effective technique used in psychotherapy. Combining art with the other techniques mentioned, helps people express themselves through imagery. An experienced art therapist can help a patient use art, not just words, to express their feelings.
What Steps Should You Take When Seeking Psychotherapy Help
Taking care of your mental health is of great importance, and once you notice that you are not doing well mentally, it is advisable that you seek professional help. Follow these steps.
I. Find a therapist
The first and most crucial step in getting treatment for your mental health lies in finding a psychotherapist. You can get good recommendations from your doctor, friends, or family members. If you are lucky, your company may have a counseling program, and you don’t have to find a therapist on your own. You can also search the internet to find the best psychotherapist on your own.
When looking for a therapist, it is vital to ensure that they are licensed to operate- licensed therapists are usual qualified and have the expertise to offer the help you require. Their psychotherapy techniques are approved by a regulatory body and will you no harm. Working with an unlicensed therapist puts you at risk. If they violate your rights in any way, it will be difficult to hold them accountable.
II. Factor in the costs
It is important to note that psychotherapy care costs differ from one therapist to another. Find out how much it will cost you to get the services from each therapist and work with one that you can afford. If your insurance plan covers psychotherapy covers, find out how many sessions it will cover so that you don’t go for an expensive option that you won’t afford once the covered sessions are over.
III. Review your concerns
Before you walk into that therapy room, first review your mental health condition. What exactly are you seeking help for? Do you wish to change some bad behavior, or are you just depressed? Although your therapist can help you identify your problem, having some idea about it in advance will make the healing process more straightforward.
There are excellent psychotherapists all over. If you live in New York, specifically Long Island, then Creative Sanctuary with Ed Regensburg, LCAT comes highly recommended. Ed is a creative, clinical art psychotherapist with over 40 years of experience.
Creative Sanctuary with Ed Regensburg, LCAT
37 Willoughby Path
East Northport, NY 11731
Phone: (631) 493-0933
Psychotherapy and counseling are different but do you have similarities that aim for the same outcome. People usually go for Counseling and seek a Counselor for certain issues and situations like grief or addiction. Psychotherapy on the other hand may dive in to past issues that may be contributing to the present problem.
A Psychotherapist can also be a Counselor and vice-versa. Psychotherapy generally requires more school and training while a Counselor is more of an advisor. A Counselor works with a patient together on his or her problems, while a Psychotherapist will work with the patient and provide more treatment.
Psychotherapy is a long term treatment that focuses on past emotional problems to solve a person’s present thought process. Basically, Psychotherapy focuses on the root issues of present problems to improve personal growth.
Counselors will focus more on the present while Psychotherapists focus on chronic or recurring issues. Counseling is specific, while Psychotherapy is big picture.
Psychotherapy requires analyzing your past and working together to better understand how past experiences affect you today. Counseling is about your current events and how they affect you now.
Either Psychotherapy and/or Counseling can be used in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Studies have found that Counseling can be just as effective in dealing with anxiety and depression as Psychotherapy.
If your anxiety or depression is severe and has lasted for many years you may decide to see a Psychotherapist instead of a Counselor. This is because there may be a lot of underlying issues in your past that only a skilled Psychotherapist could truly treat.
When you choose a therapist deciding between a Counselor and a Psychotherapist could come down to what you are struggling with and what your insurance will cover. You may want to start with Counseling first and see how that goes. A Counselor may even recommend seeing a skilled Psychotherapist as a next step.
Psychotherapist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Counselor, Social Worker - the titles alone can confuse a person seeking help. There is some overlap amongst these professions.
A professional that provides Psychotherapy services can be any of these:
Psychotherapist is the umbrella term for professionals trained to treat people for their emotional problems. Depending upon academic degree, a Psychotherapist can be a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, or Counselor.
Psychiatrist is a Medical Doctor who specializes in Psychopharmacology and can prescribe medication. Psychiatrists may also practice in talk therapy, or Psychotherapy.
Psychologist has a Doctoral Degree (PhD, PsyD, or EdD) in Psychology and offers talk therapy services. Psychologists have training in Psychological testing.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor has a Master's Degree (MA) in Psychology, Counseling, or a related field. Counselors also need two more years' working alongside a mental health professional after graduating. A Counselor can diagnose and provide treatment for mental health problems by providing Counseling and/or Psychotherapy.
Clinical Social Worker has similar education to a psychologist’s, though not a PhD but rather a Master's Degree. Social Workers do not provide any Psychological testing.
The main thing is if you are struggling, seek help. The first and sometimes hardest step is asking for help. A big factor in your decision between a Counselor and a Psychotherapist is how comfortable you feel with that therapist.
Keep checking back on our Creative Psychotherapy blog to keep the discussion going.
Communication is key.