Psychotherapy and Mental Health
Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living. This usually includes increasing individual sense of well-being, dialogue, communication and behavioral mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family). Psychotherapy may be performed by practitioners with a number of different qualifications, including psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatrists.
Most forms of psychotherapy use spoken conversation. Some also use various other forms of communication such as the written word, artwork, drama, narrative story or music. Psychotherapy occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client(s). Purposeful, theoretically based psychotherapy began in the 19th century with psychoanalysis; since then, scores of other approaches have been developed and continue to be created.
Therapy is generally employed in response to a variety of specific or non-specific manifestations of clinically diagnosable and/or existential crises. Treatment of everyday problems is more often referred to as counseling. However, the term counseling is sometimes used interchangeably with “psychotherapy”.
Whilst some psychotherapeutic interventions are designed to treat the patient employing the medical model, many psychotherapeutic approaches do not adhere to the symptom-based model of “illness/cure”. Some practitioners, such as humanistic therapists, see themselves more in a facilitative/helper role. As sensitive and deeply personal topics are often discussed during psychotherapy, therapists are expected, and usually legally bound, to respect client or patient confidentiality. The critical importance of confidentiality is enshrined in the regulatory psychotherapeutic organizations’ codes of ethical practice.
Psychotherapy traditionally focuses on serious problems associated with intrapsychic, internal, and personal issues and conflicts. It emphasizes on the past more than the present, on insight more than change, on the detachment of the therapist, and the therapist’s role as an expert. It usually involves a long-term relationship (20 to 40 sessions over a period of six months to two years) that focuses on reconstructive change.
There are several forms of psychotherapy that include; psychoanalitical therapies, behavioral therapies, group therapy, family therapy, marital therapy, cognitive therapies and art therapy among others.