Psychotherapy is a general term for a range of different types of therapy, such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy —focuses on how thoughts affect feelings and behavior and altering those thoughts
- Interpersonal therapy—focuses on improving interaction with others and current relationship problems
- Psychodynamic therapy—focuses on childhood experiences, internal conflicts, and problematic thoughts or feelings about yourself
The emphasis is on the relationship between patient and therapist. The goal is to reduce symptoms and improve functioning.
Managing Mental Health Concerns
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Psychotherapy can be used for a range of mental health conditions, such as:
- Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, panic disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder
- Addictions, such as alcohol, drugs, or gambling
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia
- Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder
Mental health conditions can negatively affect your relationships and life. The goal of working with a therapist is to reduce your risk of:
- Emotional pain
- Relationship conflicts
- Doing poorly at work
- Drug use
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts—It is important to remember that, if left untreated, mental health conditions like depression can lead to suicide.
Psychotherapy can also be helpful if you are facing difficult challenges, like:
- Dealing with the loss of a loved one
- Coping with a serious illness or traumatic event
Psychotherapy can improve your symptoms and help you to function better. By working with your therapist, you will gain insight and coping skills.
Last reviewedMay 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.