Psychotherapy: How to Approach it Effectively Thumbnail

A definition of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a method used by mental health experts to treat mental health issues.

Studies show that around 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental health condition. With stress, anxiety, depression, and other disorders on the rise, many seek effective treatment to feel better and improve their well-being.

When life becomes overwhelming, and symptoms of depression and anxiety do not go away, psychotherapy offers treatment options to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy encompasses a variety of techniques to help individuals with mental illness, stressful events, or difficult life transitions. Psychotherapy can be beneficial on its own or work well with other forms of treatment.

Benefits of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be life-changing for individuals suffering from mental health disorders. Effective in treating a variety of conditions, some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors
  • Reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and anger
  • Analyze and solve life problems that are contributing to your symptoms
  • Work through challenging emotions
  • Take back control of your life
  • Repair relationship problems
  • Improve communication skills with loved ones
  • Develop healthy coping techniques and problem-solving skills
  • Get back to enjoying life again

How to Know if You Need Psychotherapy

While it's normal to feel down and have anxiety from time to time, difficult emotions should not take over your life. When symptoms persist and begin to affect different aspects of your daily life, psychotherapy can help you resolve issues and manage emotions for a happier and more fulfilling life. If you are experiencing any of the following, you may benefit from seeing a mental health professional.

  • Feeling overwhelmed frequently
  • Intense feelings of sadness or anger
  • Relationship problems
  • Decline in physical health
  • Eating habits change
  • Inability to sleep or oversleeping
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Disinterest in once enjoyable activities
  • Substance abuse

Left untreated, mental health conditions can severely impact a person's ability to function in everyday life. If you are having feelings of harming yourself or others, do not delay treatment. Seek help immediately.

What Conditions Can be Treated with Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy can help people identify unhealthy behaviors, deal with difficult emotions, take control of their lives, and develop effective coping skills. Beneficial for a variety of mental health problems, psychotherapy can help individuals suffering from:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Grief
  • Relationship issues
  • Stress
  • Transitions in life
  • Eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance abuse
  • Personality disorders
  • Adjustment disorders

Getting Started with Psychotherapy

The first step to starting psychotherapy is finding a therapist you feel comfortable with who meets your specific needs. There are multiple licensed mental health professionals who offer a variety of therapy techniques. Asking the following questions can help you select the right therapist:

  • What is your training?
  • What is your area of expertise?
  • What treatments do you use?
  • How long is each session?
  • How much treatment will I need?
  • What hours are you available?
  • Do you offer teletherapy (online sessions)?
  • Do you take insurance?
  • What is the cost of therapy?

If this is your first time going to therapy, you may be unsure of what to expect during treatment. Most therapy sessions last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. On your first visit, your therapist will likely take a history, talk about your reasons for attending therapy, and discuss your treatment goals.

In therapy sessions, your therapist will guide you through conversations and may ask a variety of questions. In between sessions, you may also be given tasks to complete at home. These assignments will help you progress in your treatment and help you develop important skills for coping with difficult emotions in everyday life.

Types of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be delivered in a variety of ways. Depending on your specific needs, your therapist may choose one or more of the following:

Individual Therapy

During individual therapy, a patient works one-on-one with a mental health professional. The therapist will help the patient work through difficult emotions, better understand their thoughts and feelings, and develop important coping mechanisms for an improved quality of life.

Group Therapy

Group psychotherapy involves a therapist supervising a group of patients who discuss their problems together. This type of setting allows individuals to talk with others who are going through similar experiences. It can also create a supportive environment to encourage others during difficult times.

Couples Therapy

Also referred to as marriage counseling, couples therapy aims to improve romantic relationships and resolve conflicts between two people in a relationship. This type of therapy can also help spouses and partners understand a loved one's mental health condition, how they can help, and how to cope.

Family Therapy

Family therapy addresses problems affecting a family's mental health and functioning. During therapy sessions, family members will work with a therapist to improve communication, solve problems, and better understand each other.


Mental health professionals can provide psychotherapy using a variety of techniques. Treatment methods used will depend on your condition and treatment goals. Among the most common forms of psychotherapy are:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy identifies a person's negative thought patterns and behaviors. During therapy sessions, patients will learn how to replace these negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones. With time, these new skills will improve a person's emotional state and quality of life.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

In dialectical behavior therapy, individuals learn how to regulate emotions, cope with stress effectively, improve relationships, and live mindfully. Initially developed for borderline personality disorder, this form of therapy can treat a variety of mental health conditions, especially those who have difficulty regulating emotions or partake in self-destructive behaviors.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy aims to improve your interactions with family and friends. This short-term treatment helps individuals gain better communication skills and boost their self-esteem. Individuals suffering from depression, relationship problems, stressful life events, or social isolation are typically well-suited for this type of treatment.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Effective for a wide range of mental health conditions, psychodynamic therapy examines the impact of people's past experiences on their current behavior. During this form of treatment, patients gain insight into problematic behavioral patterns and learn how to overcome them.

Supportive Therapy

Supportive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that integrates various types of therapy to improve symptoms, boost self-esteem, build self-awareness, regulate negative thoughts, and improve coping skills. Effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, the patient and therapist will enter into a therapeutic alliance to work through issues and develop strategies to improve quality of life.

How to Maximize the Benefits of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is most effective when participants are actively involved. Commitment, consistency, and effort are all crucial components for successful treatment. To get the most out of your therapy, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Stick to your treatment plan. Be sure to attend all of your scheduled therapy sessions. Frequently missing appointments can derail your progress. If you feel unmotivated, your therapist can provide support to help you get back on track.
  • Set goals. At the start of treatment, discuss your goals with your therapist and review them periodically.
  • Be honest and open. It is important that you communicate with your therapist openly and honestly about your feelings, thoughts, and experiences. If you feel uncomfortable or scared to talk about something, tell your therapist.
  • Complete your homework. You may be asked to journal, practice techniques learned during sessions, or write down questions before the next session. Completing these tasks allows you to participate in your therapy actively and gives you important tools that can be applied to your daily life.
  • Practice self-care. Therapy can sometimes be challenging and may evoke difficult emotions. Be patient, go easy on yourself, and rest if things get tough.
  • Don't expect immediate results. Treatment can take time and may require several sessions. Be patient and trust in the process.

Your therapist is your partner in health. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask. If you feel things are not helping, be sure to let your therapist know. Keeping an open dialogue and being honest about your needs will help you get the most out of your treatment and ensure success.

Psychotherapy at CHE

Whether you're struggling with depression, looking to improve your relationships, or aiming to regain control of your life, psychotherapy can help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

At CHE Behavioral Health Services, we offer compassionate and effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions. With an experienced network of over 850 licensed mental health professionals, CHE provides affordable, convenient, and personalized care.

To learn more about psychotherapy and its benefits at CHE Behavioral Health Services, please call 888-515-3834. We are ready to talk, and ready to listen.