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What is Psychotherapy?

 Learn more about how psychotherapy works, the benefits of psychotherapy, and what to expect from a typical session.

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychological disorders counseling, commonly known as psychological therapy or psychotherapy, is a form of mental health treatment used to address and treat psychological conditions. Psychotherapy employs a multifaceted approach, such as combining verbal and psychological tools to assist people in changing dysfunctional behaviors, ideas, and emotions.1

Psychotherapy is commonly referred to as talk therapy because it is centered around an individual’s interaction with one or more trained psychotherapists or counselors. These psychotherapists assist them in addressing both general and specific issues, such as mental illness or a source of stress in their lives, by communicating and working collaboratively in an environment that projects understanding. One of the critical characteristics of psychotherapy is to change negative outlooks or behaviors.2

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Does Psychotherapy Work?

While researchers and healthcare professionals have debated the efficacy of psychotherapy and the uses of psychotherapy and counseling for years, most individuals who receive psychotherapy experience relief from symptoms and function better daily. Psychotherapy has proven beneficial for various mental and behavioral health issues.

A 2016 study showed that approximately 75% of people who begin psychotherapy experience some positive effects, as they demonstrate improved emotional and behavioral functioning compared to their counterparts who did not receive psychotherapy.3

Benefits of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy interventions have been demonstrated to significantly enhance a person’s quality of life. One of the primary uses of psychotherapy is the ability to make individuals more capable of functioning and performing daily tasks than before therapy initiation.

In addition to improving general mental well-being, other benefits of psychotherapy include:

  • Improved communication skills
  • Healthier thinking patterns
  • Greater insights about your life
  • Ability to make healthier choices
  • Better coping strategies to manage distress
  • Stronger family bonds

Types of Psychotherapy

Psychologists use one or more scientifically proven psychotherapy techniques to assist clients in developing healthy coping mechanisms and combating negative thoughts. The type of care a patient receives is influenced by several variables, including a psychotherapist’s underlying theories and what is most effective for that patient in a particular circumstance. The different types of psychotherapy are detailed below.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common of all psychotherapy techniques. It combines cognitive therapy with behavior therapy to identify negative or dysfunctional thoughts, emotions, or behavior patterns and replace them with positive ones.4

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches people how to recognize and alter unhelpful or disturbing thought patterns that negatively affect their behavior and emotions.5

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal therapies (IPT) are time-limited and scientific-based psychotherapy approaches that improve interpersonal functioning to alleviate psychotic and depressive symptoms. One of the goals of psychotherapy through IPT is to show that psychiatric symptoms can be a reaction to present issues in one’s relationships. IPT therapists are proactive, encouraging, and cheerful, as the goal is to be the patient’s ally while presenting possibilities for change.6

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a psychotherapy treatment specifically designed for individuals who experience emotions intensely. DBT is a slight modification of cognitive behavioral therapy and aids people in learning healthy coping mechanisms, making healthy lifestyle changes, and enhancing interpersonal relationships.

Psychodynamic Therapy

The foundation of psychodynamic therapy is that discussing issues with qualified psychotherapists can both facilitate feelings of relief and provide the tools needed to deal with them. Unlike other psychotherapy techniques, it acknowledges all facets of a person’s life. It teaches patients how to identify suppressed feelings while unconsciously influencing factors that might be responsible for their current behavior.7


Psychoanalytic therapy is a psychological disorders counseling method based on Sigmund Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis. This therapeutic approach investigates how an individual’s unconscious mind affects their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It focuses on how past experiences, often childhood, might influence one’s present circumstances and behavior.8

Supportive Therapy

This approach relies on the close and beneficial bond between a therapist and patient to reduce symptoms of severe emotional distress, boost self-esteem, restore a sense of reality, control irrational thoughts and impulses, and strengthen coping mechanisms for stressful situations.

What Psychotherapy Can Help With

Psychotherapy uses a variety of therapeutic modalities to address a range of psychological and emotional concerns, such as:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

How To Get The Most Out Of Psychotherapy

The various types of psychotherapy aid a person in identifying the actions necessary to reach a more favorable mental or emotional state. Even though each person’s therapy journey will have a different focus, following the steps detailed below can help guarantee a fruitful and satisfying psychotherapy experience.

Being Honest with Your Therapist

One of the most significant characteristics of psychotherapy is trusting and being honest with your therapist. Being open and honest allows psychotherapists to provide better, more immersive care.

Lying about or leaving out important information may make the therapist unable to fully comprehend the problems at hand. This can be highly detrimental if the patient receives advice that does not truly reflect their needs.

Feeling Your Feelings

While there are various levels of psychotherapy, finding out what emotions you are trying to work through and learning how to concentrate on each one separately are the first steps in learning to “feel your feelings.” It is advised to bring all of your tears, anger, anxiety, humiliation, and other emotions you may be experiencing to each psychotherapy session.

Being Open to The Process

There is no avoiding the fact that psychotherapy is challenging. While opening up to a stranger may not be easy, doing so in a clinical setting can be highly beneficial. Typically, the therapy process gets easier as time progresses.

Attending Your Sessions

It is impossible to overstate the importance of consistent attendance at therapy sessions. Regular attendance helps individuals get proper, timely feedback and evaluation.

Doing the Work

Therapy works best when individuals put in effort outside of therapy sessions to make connections and conscious decisions to facilitate positive life changes. Bearing all the psychotherapist’s responsibilities in mind, patients should seek a deeper understanding of the situation and put in personalized efforts.

How Effective Is Psychotherapy?

The American Psychological Association (APA) asserts that three elements combine to determine effective psychotherapy interventions. The first is the application of a given condition to evidence-based treatment. The therapeutic experience of the psychologist or therapist is the second crucial aspect. Finally, the client’s traits, values, tastes, and culture are incredibly important to effective treatment.9

Research into the efficacy of psychotherapy has discovered that these interventions are highly effective. For instance, one extensive study that looked at sixteen CBT meta-analyses found that it was as effective as, or superior to, other therapies in treating PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), depression, and social anxiety disorder (SAD).10

What Happens in Psychotherapy Sessions?

An average psychological therapy session lasts forty-five to fifty minutes. First, in a guided conversation, the therapist will ask several questions to understand the patient’s state of mind. Next, the therapist may want to assess the severity of the psychological or emotional issue, pinpoint significant personality traits, and unearth maladaptive coping mechanisms.

One of the strategies of psychotherapy is to keep exploring the patient’s condition through talking, after which the problem-solving phase begins. Here, patients and therapists collaborate to develop new approaches to thinking, acting, and handling emotions. As treatment progresses, patients gain new abilities that change their worldview and start proactively addressing issues. Patients also gain resiliency, which will enable them to more effectively handle difficulties in the future.11

How to Know If You Need Psychotherapy

Everyone encounters stress, nervousness, mood changes, and other emotional and mental states. Psychological therapies help offer additional support needed to hasten recovery.

There are various levels of psychotherapy; you should seek psychotherapy treatment if:

  • The issue is causing significant distress or disruption in your life
  • You are relying on unhealthy or dangerous coping mechanisms
  • Friends and family are concerned about your well-being
  • Nothing you have tried so far has helped

Get Psychotherapy at Ripple Ranch Recovery

Ripple Ranch Recovery utilizes a team-based approach to psychological therapy. Clients can meet with specially-trained therapists at least once weekly to work on resolving any psychological or emotional distress and track their progress.

Our psychiatrists and mental health professionals typically employ evidence-based psychotherapy approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to help clients reach their goals of reconfiguring thoughts and behaviors to overcome negative behavioral and thought patterns.

Reach Out Today and Begin Healing

You can count on Ripple Ranch Recovery to provide you with a unique treatment plan tailored to your needs. For more information on psychotherapy, please get in touch with us today.