When hearing that someone sees a psychotherapist, many people have pejorative associations with diseases, disorders or maladaptation. This is very harmful and stigmatizing thinking, which is inconsistent with the assumptions that are followed not only by specialists but also by the patients themselves. Psychotherapy is nothing more than help in getting back on track and solving problems. Because someone sees a psychotherapist doesn’t make that person defective in some way.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is based on several sciences, including philosophy, psychology and medicine. To explain what psychotherapy is, the easiest way is to say that it is a way of treating various disorders and problems arising from the psychological nature of man, and its main premise is direct contact, conversation and extensive interview. For the therapy to be effective, a series of meetings with a therapist is needed, during which, step by step, the therapist is searching for the causes of problems and for a solution. Psychotherapy is conducted by specialists – psychologists and psychiatrists with various specializations.
In severe cases, psychotherapy can be a complement to pharmacological treatment, and sometimes its therapeutic dimension only involves an intimate conversation that allows emotions, impressions and thoughts to be ventured by an impartial person who can help find a different point of view. A patient who comes to a psychotherapist does not need to have mental disorders at all – he can only feel the desire to improve the quality of his emotional life, find a way to better communicate with other people or with himself.
In the Greek language psyche means soul, and therapein means to heal. So psychotherapy is not so much a medical method of healing as it is healing the human soul. It is said that psychotherapy is a journey into the interior of the human being, while the psychotherapist only acts as a guide whose goal is to ensure safety during this peculiar trip and to show the right direction.
How can psychotherapy help?
Consultations with a psychotherapist can be helpful in the treatment of both psychological and physical illnesses. The therapy directs the patient to the perception of the values and positives of the treatment, helps to reconcile with changes occurring to the body, neutralizes somatic symptoms. Psychotherapy works in the case of such disorders as:
- anxiety, neurosis, phobias, obsessions;
- eating disorders;
- emotional problems related to traumas or resulting from difficult relationships;
- lack of motivation;
- feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem;
- migraine and mood changes.
Types of psychotherapy
There are several types of psychotherapy that include different approaches to patient problems. Each of these types assumes a different method of working with the patient. What are their assumptions?
- Behavioral and cognitive psychotherapy – irregularities and disorders are the result of learned reactions. It is necessary to acquire new skills in responding to problematic situations.
- Humanistic therapy – a human being as a source of enormous potential and abilities for self-development, and the problems result from the use of inappropriate tools in relation to the needs (its branch is Gestalt psychotherapy – human as a complex being should increase his self-awareness, using his own capabilities and internal strength).
- Systemic psychotherapy – interpersonal relationship is a system that requires fixing the communication to work smoothly. Thus it is important to improve relationships between conflicting people. Systemic psychotherapy can take the form of family or partner therapy.
- Narrative psychotherapy – a change of narrative where there is a misinterpretation of reality. Man is a narrator of his own fate and the way he talks about it determines his character and the way he is perceived both by himself and by the others.
- Psychoanalysis (analytical psychotherapy) – the sources of problems are experiences, internal conflicts, events from the past that hinder the proper judgment of reality.
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy – human problems result from his internal, hidden needs that subconsciously control behavior.
- Solution-focused therapy – it focuses on the goal, not the events that are the problem in achieving it.
- Neurolinguistic programming – the subconscious is a powerful force; you need to remove from memory things that are a source of nuisance and focus on successes and achievements.
- Process-oriented psychotherapy – analyzing all events important for the patient in his life and looking for changing attitudes.
- Ericksonian therapy – finding and activating the dormant potential that lies in every person as a unique individual.
The therapy can take the form of both individual meetings with a psychotherapist and group therapies. There can be psychotherapy for couples, family therapies, as well as the therapy for a group that has one problem in common, e.g. trauma after losing a friend.
It is very important to treat a visit to a psychotherapist as a serious form of treatment. It is a real help for all who cannot or do not want to deal with problems alone, and it is also an opportunity for those who want to achieve personal growth and development.