Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy," is when a trained therapist talks with an individual to evaluate for mental disorders and uses psychological methods to provide treatment. Psychotherapy can be provided by a psychiatrist, psychologist and other professionals who have additional mental health training, such as nurses and social workers. Explore the various forms of psychotherapy below.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to explore the unconscious part of the mind and an individual’s past to provide self-awareness and understanding of one’s current emotions and behaviors. There are different schools of psychoanalytic theory including Freudian, Ego Psychology, Object Relations and Self Psychology. This form of therapy usually requires a long term commitment from the patient and a willingness to explore oneself.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a practical, goal-oriented treatment, with the objective of changing one’s patterns of thinking and/or behaviors to change the way one feels. It is a structured, short-term therapy which involves active participation of the patient, including at home assignments and tasks. It is one of the most effective, evidence-based forms of therapy used in the treatment of anxiety and depression. It can also be used for a variety of other issues, such as stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, and substance abuse.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment originally developed for the treatment of individuals with borderline personality disorder. Various skills are taught in DBT, such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation. Individuals participating in DBT are involved in a skill training group, individual therapy, and phone coaching. This treatment is effective in reducing suicidal behavior, non-suicidal self-injury, psychiatric hospitalization, substance abuse and depression.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a time-limited psychotherapy that focuses on interpersonal issues, which are believed to be a significant cause of psychological distress. The goals of IPT are to improve target symptoms, improve interpersonal functioning and increase social support. It is used for a variety of mood disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) is an evidenced-based, cognitive behavioral therapy used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PE uses real life (in vivo) exposure and imaginal exposure to gradually expose an individual to trauma-related memories, feelings and situations. The goal is to reduce PTSD symptoms by gradually confronting these challenges.
Family Focused Therapy (FFT) is a therapy commonly used for bipolar disorder, that combines psychoeducation and family therapy to treat both the patient and their families. The goals are to help identify triggers and symptoms of the illness, increase treatment compliance and improve family relationships.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a form of therapy often used in substance abuse treatment. With MET, a therapist helps a patient discover and use their personal motivations to resist substance abuse.
Group Therapy involves treatment of a group of individuals by one or two therapists. The groups usually meet for one or two hours every week. Many groups are designed to target a mental illness (e.g. depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders), a social skill (e.g. anger management), or other distress (e.g. grief, shyness, low self-esteem).
Recovery Groups are associations of people who share a common desire to overcome a particular problem. In these groups, individuals can relate to each other through common struggles and provide each other emotional support. Examples of recovery groups include Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous.