Understanding Psychotherapy: An Overview for Beginners

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Mental health treatment for any disorder involves psychotherapy in some capacity. Commonly referred to as ‘talk therapy,’ psychotherapy includes various healing and therapeutic techniques. The aim is to help you identify and alleviate the impact of unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors. It’s an evidence-based practice and is recognized as a recognized practice for treating mental disorders. 

Researchers have proven the technique’s efficacy for a number of mental disorders. URPBH Mental Health Treatment is used to treat depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, OCD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and others. Even people without mental health issues can benefit from psychotherapy as it helps them build resilience and emotional balance and manage stress. 

Who Needs Psychotherapy? 

Some people may require psychotherapy due to chronic anxiety or feelings of depression. On the other hand, there are some who may need it due to a mental disorder that impacts their emotional and physical well-being. Meanwhile, others need professional guidance on navigating short-term issues like approaching a major life change, going through a divorce, or having trouble making friends.

You should consider seeing a psychotherapist if you’re struggling with any of the following:

  • Persistent and overwhelming feelings of sadness and helplessness 
  • Inability to focus on work and everyday activities 
  • Your behavior is negatively affecting others
  • You’re always worrying 
  • You can’t seem to solve your problems no matter how hard you try 

Typical Psychotherapy Session

Practitioners can provide psychotherapy in different formats, such as individual, family, group, or couple settings. And therapy can be adapted for children as well. Each session lasts between 45 minutes and an hour, with the frequency depending on your treatment program. For example, people in an outpatient treatment program will have weekly or biweekly sessions. And if you’re enrolled in a residential program, you can expect daily sessions. 

Your therapist can select an approach depending on your specific concern, so it can be either short-term or long-term to deal with immediate challenges and complex problems, respectively. Before starting the therapeutic process, your practitioner will discuss the goals of your treatment and its duration. 

Pharmacotherapy and Medication 

If you’re seeking psychotherapy for a mental disorder, it’s likely that your psychiatrist will prescribe medication as well. In some cases, a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy is more effective than providing either alone. Additionally, you can benefit from lifestyle changes like a steady sleep schedule, daily exercise, and balanced nutrition. 

The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy 

Research analysis indicates that most people who undergo psychotherapy report improved function and support relief. According to the American Psychological Association, 75 percent of people who take therapy sessions are able to benefit from it in some way. Studies have linked the practice to enhanced emotional well-being and lasting, positive changes in the brain. In many cases, brain changes that resulted from psychotherapy were similar to those caused by medication

Approaches Used In Psychotherapy 

Psychotherapy is, in fact, an umbrella term that comprises various approaches that are used to address different mental health concerns. 


Psychodynamic Approach 

The psychodynamic approach is based on the perspective that mental well-being and behavior depend on childhood experiences. The approach builds on the work of Sigmund Freud, who emphasized bringing unconscious feelings to conscious awareness as a way to address behavioral issues. During these sessions, you’ll work with your therapist to enhance self-awareness, analyze your behaviors to identify defense mechanisms, and alter deep-seated patterns. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Perhaps the most common type of psychotherapy used, CBT, is objective and systemic, which allows for a clear focus. Since it’s rooted in scientific research, it’s a preferred approach due to its effectiveness. 

The underlying theory looks at the relationship between how people interpret their feelings and behave in response to that interpretation. Therefore, the goal is to change your perception so it has a beneficial effect on your behavior. 

It helps people in identifying unhelpful behavior patterns and replacing them with different thoughts and functional behaviors. Because of its narrow focus, it’s short-term, goal-oriented therapy that addresses a specific problem.

Family-focused Therapy 

In this setting, the psychotherapy session involves all family members. It focuses on improving the family’s functioning as a whole unit. It’s based on the family systems theories, which emphasize the collective family process as opposed to the individual parts. In these sessions, the therapist helps members understand their roles, improves members’ problem-solving skills, and strengthens their communication. 

Interpersonal Therapy 

In interpersonal therapy, you relieve symptoms by enhancing interpersonal functioning. A core idea of interpersonal therapy is that symptoms are a response to existing difficulties in everyday relationships with people. It’s a structured and time-limited form of psychotherapy that focuses on communication and interpersonal relationships. Rather than focusing on past relationships, it addresses the here and now. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy 

Dialectical behavior therapy stems from cognitive behavior therapy and is adapted for people who experience intense emotions. It’s quite effective for people with borderline personality disorder as it works on developing crucial skills like mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. 

In this form of psychotherapy, the practitioner assures you that your feelings and behavior are valid. But at the same time, they teach you personal responsibility to alter disruptive or unhealthy behavior. 

Holistic Approach 

Nowadays, psychotherapists don’t opt for a single approach but a combination of techniques from different approaches. This is called the holistic approach, which focuses on overall well-being instead of treating the mental disorder itself. Many treatment centers implement this method in addition to relaxation therapies like animal-assisted therapy, sound therapy, and meditation. 


Psychotherapy is a highly effective treatment method for people struggling with mental disorders. It can be used in combination with medication and relaxation therapies for long-lasting benefits. There are many different forms of psychotherapy, such as CBT, DBT, and family-focused therapy.  As an evidence-based method, it’s proven to be effective for numerous disorders. It can also help people who aren’t struggling with a disorder and just need some guidance on navigating different challenges.