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Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods based on regular personal interaction with psychiatrist or psychologist, aimed to enable patients to understand their feelings and what makes them feel anxious, worried or depressed. This can equip them to cope with difficult situations in a more adaptive way. Some forms of psychotherapy last only a few sessions, while others are long term, lasting for months or years. Sessions are usually for 45 min to 1 hour, once a week or fortnight. They usually follow a carefully structured process. Sessions may be one to one, in pairs or in groups.

Who can benefit ?

  • i. Overwhelming feelings of sadness or helplessness

  • ii. An inability to cope with everyday problems.

  • iii. Difficulty concentrating in work or studies

  • iv. Drinking too much, taking drugs or being aggressive to an extent that is harming themselves or others

  • v. A sense that problems never improve, despite receiving help from friends and family.

  • vi. Feeling constantly on edge or worrying unnecessarily

  • vii. Marriage guidance (couple therapy)- couples with their internal conflict or adjustment issues with each other.

  • viii. Children with their tantrums, lagging behind in studies, inattentive, hyperactive, restless, aggressive, disobedient

  • ix. Carrier guidance- students going to appear in board exams or any other competitive exams, who need guidance and support to increase their confidence and advice regarding further studies and carrier

  • x. Sex therapy- persons having psychosexual problems, sexual misconceptions etc.

Types of therapy

1. Behavioural therapy:- helps patients to understand how changes in behaviour can lead to changes in how they feel. It focuses on increasing the person’s engagement in positive or socially reinforcing activities. The goal is to replace undesirable behaviour with the desirable one.

2. Cognitive therapy:- starts with the idea that what we think shapes how we feel. Depression for example, stems from having thoughts or beliefs that are not based on evidence, such as ‘’ I am useless’’ or ‘’everything goes wrong because of me’’. Changing these beliefs can change a person’s view of events and their emotional state. It looks at current thinking and communication patterns, rather than the past. Therapist confront the patient and challenge inappropriate thoughts by encouraging different ways of viewing a situation. CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) pairs cognitive with behavioural therapy to address both thoughts and behaviours. It helps in conditions like depression, anxiety, phobia, PTSD etc.

3. Interpersonal therapy:- focuses on interpersonal relationships. Some cases of depression, may stem from a person’s relationship with others. Learning skills for improving communication patterns may help patient to manage depression. First, the therapist may help the patient to identify relevant emotions and where these are coming from. Then they can help them to express the emotion in a healthier way. For example, someone who responds to feeling neglected by getting angry may trigger a negative reaction in a loved one. Learning to express hurt and anxiety calmly can increase the chances of the other person reacting positively. Patient learns to modify their approach to interpersonal problems, understand them and manage them more constructively. People who might benefit from this type of therapy are the ones who are eager to please others at their own expense or who find that they have volatile interpersonal relationships.

4. Family therapy:- some conditions may require the treatment of the family unit. For an example, some have depression because of disputes between family members. Here we can implement cognitive, behavioural or interpersonal therapy as per demand. Identifying family patterns that contribute to symptoms in patient can help them to break negative habits and patterns. It often focuses on improving communication within family. Participants learns the ways of communication, how to ask, how to respond, how to react etc. It involves discussion and problem solving sessions with the patient and their family as a group, in couples or one to one.

5. Group therapy:- It usually involves 6-12 patients, all have similar problems, they observe that how others handle their issues and respond to feedback, by which they got new perspective and help to facilitate improvement and change. This therapy helps those who may feel a sense of isolation because of their problems. Patients realise that they are not alone with the problems, they get strong support from others and find the experience rewarding.

6. Psychodynamic therapy (insight oriented therapy):- it focuses on the deep-seated causes of behaviour. For example, patterns of behaviour stemming from person’s upbringing or earlier life experiences, which continue to impact present day behaviours. The aim is to increase self-awareness and understanding of how the past affects the present behaviour. Unresolved problems can underlie behaviours such as drug or alcohol abuse. This can help people to understand the source of their emotional distress, usually by exploring motives, needs and defences that they are not aware of.

Effectiveness of psychotherapies

Psychotherapy has the benefit of giving patients someone to talk to. It can create a new way of looking at difficult problems and help people move towards a solution. They can gain a better understanding of themselves and their own goals and values and can develop skills for improving relationships. In order for psychotherapy to work, the person must be actively engaged and work during the session as well as between sessions by practising new skills, as suggested by therapist.

How it works ?

Psychotherapy is a two way process, there must be trusting relationships between the patient and therapist. To benefit from it, person must be willing to participate first. They should then attend appointments as set, have enough patience, be honest when describing symptoms and be willing to complete any assignments set. Psychotherapy can seem expensive and time consuming. But it will give sure shot solution to the problems.


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