What Is Psychotherapy?

When dealing with illnesses that are hard to manage, patients often seek alternative therapies for answers. Combined with medical treatment, they may be quite helpful. One such therapy is psychotherapy.

Before you hang your head, psychotherapy is not the traditional “lie on the couch and tell your life story” type of therapy. It doesn’t focus on the past but on the now. No one will psychoanalyze you to find answers to your problems in your childhood.

Psychotherapy has found some success when treating mental and emotional disorders. It is a way in which patients can learn to recognize the feelings, behaviors and thoughts they have surrounding their disorder, and learn to deal with them constructively. You and your therapist are a team working together to find answers for you.

A psychotherapy session is conducted by a professional much like other therapy sessions. The person may be a psychologist, a social worker, a counselor or someone else with the necessary skills. There are different types of psychotherapy so choose the one that is best for your needs.

Who sees a psychotherapist? Disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia may be managed with psychotherapy. These disorders have no known cure so learning to manage the symptoms is one benefit of the therapy.

Others who use this type of therapy are:

* Those who want to avoid psychiatric medicines
* Alternative to traditional treatments
* Not wanting to try antidepressants and experience their side effects
* Manage emotional responses to illness

Psychotherapy is not limited to these issues. If you are dealing with phobias, depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and even substance abuse, this type of therapy may prove beneficial. Work-related matters may also be resolved through this treatment.

When it comes to risk, psychotherapy rates very low on the scale. Like we said before, the therapy is a team effort. It can only go as far as you want it to. One form of psychotherapy called exposure therapy involves trying the very thing you are afraid of, like holding a tarantula or flying in an airplane. But, you can still stop the session if you are in distress.

Before beginning any therapy:

* Choose a therapist that fits you
* Check with your insurance company about co-payments
* Decide what you will talk about on that first visit

Most people are nervous about visiting a therapist because they don’t know what to expect. Your first session usually involves finding out about each other. The therapist will want to know about your issue so that they can devise a plan of treatment. As for you, feel free to ask the therapist about their style and what they expect from you. As with other health professionals, conversations are confidential.

Psychotherapy is an alternative or complementary approach to treating certain disorders. The point is to evaluate your behaviors and find coping skills to manage your attitude towards the disorder.