Written By: Advaitha Reddy, First Year, St. Francis College for Women, Begumpet
Anxiety disorders such as PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Mood disorders such as bipolarity, addictions, eating disorders, etc. are examples of mental disorders. And unlike cold or a headache, they don’t end overnight with meds. The answer is Psychotherapy. What exactly is Psychotherapy? Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing. We have read about it in books and in movies where people sit on a couch and talk to a therapist about problems they are having. These problems may include difficulties in coping with daily life; the impact of trauma, medical illness or loss, like the death of a loved one; and specific mental disorders, like depression or anxiety.
Many people are against therapy or don’t generally believe it, and therefore the question arises, does psychotherapy really work? Research shows that most people who receive psychotherapy experience symptom relief and are better able to function in their lives. About 75 percent of people who enter psychotherapy show some benefit from it. Psychotherapy has been shown to improve emotions and behaviors and to be linked with positive changes in the brain and body. The benefits also include fewer sick days, less disability, fewer medical problems, and increased work satisfaction. How does Psychotherapy work? Psychotherapy helps people with a mental disorder to: Understand the behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute to his or her illness and learn how to modify them. Understand and identify life problems or events -- like a major illness, a death in the family, a loss of a job, or a divorce -- that contribute to his or her illness and help him/her understand which aspects of those problems he/she may be able to solve or improve. Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life. Learn healthy coping techniques and problem-solving skills.
To help get the most out of psychotherapy, approach the therapy as a collaborative effort, be open and honest, and follow your agreed-upon plan for treatment. Follow through with any assignments between sessions, such as writing in a journal or practicing what you’ve talked about and sometimes medication is also prescribed.
There are however a few types of psychotherapy. And they can fall into 5 broad categories:
· Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Therapies
This approach focuses on changing problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their unconscious meanings and motivations. Psychoanalytically oriented therapies are characterized by a close working partnership between therapist and patient. Patients learn about themselves by exploring their interactions in the therapeutic relationship.
· Behavior Therapy
This approach focuses on learning's role in developing both normal and abnormal behaviors.
· Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy emphasizes what people think rather than what they do. Cognitive therapists believe that it's dysfunctional thinking that leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviors. By changing their thoughts, people can change how they feel and what they do.
· Humanistic Therapy
His approach emphasizes people's capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential. Concern and respect for others are also important themes.
· Integrative or Holistic Therapy
Many therapists don't tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each client's needs.