How Psychology Therapy Can Change Your Life

Updated June 17, 2024by MyTherapist Editorial Team
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When faced with a mental illness or another psychological issue, there are many ways to deal with it. Some may turn to medication. Others may try self-help, even though such a method can be complex. Some may turn to psychology therapy or psychotherapy for short. Learn more about what psychology therapy is and how it can help you.

What is psychology therapy?

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Also known as psychotherapy or just therapy, psychology therapy involves talking to a mental health professional who can help you find ways to cope with your mental illness. There are benefits that can help you live the best life possible.

Psychotherapy can help someone in many different ways, including the following:

  • Helping someone realize how certain behaviors, thoughts, and other feelings or situations can worsen their mental illness. For example, some self-defeating thoughts can make your depression worse. Speaking with a therapist during psychotherapy can help the person avoid these triggers or learn how to cope.
  • It can help people see how certain events can contribute to their mental illness. For example, if you have a new job, have someone die in the family, or have any other change, it can affect your mind and lead to situational depression or anxiety. A psychotherapist can help you find the reasons for your problems and help you move on.
  • A psychotherapist can help you control your life. They will allow you to keep a sense of pleasure or control that you haven’t experienced before.
  • You can learn different techniques that can help treat your illness and your way of thinking. You can also learn life skills that can allow you to solve problems much easier.

There are many ways someone may go to therapy. Here is a list of a few of the most common and powerful options.

Individual therapy

The most popular form of therapy, individual therapy, involves the client and the therapist in a one-on-one conversation. You can talk to your therapist about whatever you want in a room where no one else can hear you, and you can trust the therapist to keep things secret. You can be yourself and don’t need to censor your thoughts or feelings because someone else is around you. Your therapist is not there to judge you but to offer an unbiased perspective. Sometimes when we’re personally affected by situations or people, it isn’t easy to see things objectively. Your therapist may be able to spot patterns you’re unable to see so that you can learn to move forward.

Couples therapy

Being married or in a long-term relationship comes with many challenges. A couples therapist listens to the couple and figures out what is causing miscommunications, arguments, and other problems. If someone in the relationship has developed a mental illness, a therapist can talk to the couple and teach them how to adjust to this new illness. A couples therapist will never pick sides. Instead, they ask open-ended questions and guide your conversation so that each person can see the issue from their partner’s perspective. They can also help you understand each other's personalities by utilizing the concepts of personality psychology. 

Family therapy

A family therapist can help families who are having problems. Parents and children with broken relationships, children who don’t listen, parents who are too strict, and other issues can be resolved with therapy. A psychotherapist is especially good for mental illness in the family. For example, if the parent develops dementia in their old age, a therapist can teach the children how to care for them and have patience. From child rearing advice to knowing how to communicate with teens, a family therapist can be helpful.

Group therapy

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However, some prefer group therapy, where they work with different clients. For example, if someone is dealing with substance abuse problems, they may want to have a group therapy session with other people who have been there. Some benefits of group therapy are that it allows people in treatment to talk about their problems together, trade different techniques they can use to help them cope, and allow the therapist to lead the group to come up with solutions. Group therapy can help you build a strong support network. Group therapists are there to help guide the conversation in meaningful ways.

Different types of psychology therapy

What does a psychologist do? It depends on the type of psychologist. Many therapists or psychologists will have various approaches. People have different problems and may respond better to certain therapeutic techniques. Hence, it makes sense that a therapist will offer multiple ways to treat psychological problems based on the client’s preference. These include:

Psychodynamic therapy

Psychodynamic counseling believes that many of our problems come from past conflicts, especially during childhood. They are unconscious yet control how we behave. This form of therapy involves clients talking to their therapists about their thoughts, feelings, and other problems to determine what conflicts prevent them from enjoying their lives. Psychodynamic therapy may take many sessions for it to work.

Interpersonal therapy

Interpersonal therapists will look at a person’s interactions with those around them. During interpersonal psychotherapy, interpersonal therapists work to improve family communication and communication from other social relationships like friendships. Interpersonal therapists often work with people whose relationship roles are changing. It may be worth trying if you have trouble with one of your relationships.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

You may have heard about cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. This treatment is for people with mental illnesses or other issues that can be resolved by changing their thinking. CBT is designed to reframe negative or self-defeating thoughts. Therapists who practice CBT will help you learn to recognize your negative thoughts so that you can reframe them and turn them into positive behaviors.

Many people can benefit from CBT, including a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorder, and sleep disorders, to name a few. It’s not just for mental illness, though. CBT therapists can also help people with emotional challenges, like preventing a relapse, managing emotions, coping with grief, managing the effects of physical symptoms, and learning to cope with stress.

Dialectical behavioral therapy

Also known as DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy is good for clients who may be challenging to treat. “Dialectical” means that two opposites (when implemented in therapy) can bring promising results. These two opposites are acceptance and change. Someone can learn how to accept problems currently but then work ahead to change them in the future. Not every situation will get fixed immediately, and some issues may require you to accept them.

DBT is designed for people who have behavior that may be dangerous or threaten the order around them. There are a few ways that DBT can help you. Here are some principles of DBT:

  • Distress tolerance. When you feel anger, instead of hurting others or yourself or using drugs to calm you down, learn how to feel your emotions and let them go.
  • Emotion control. This is when someone is mindful of their emotions and can adjust or realize their emotions will pass.
  • Speaking of mindfulness, mindfulness is a valuable tool in DBT. Mindfulness means recognizing the present and being attentive to the world around you. Many are focused on the past or future while putting the present on the back burner. Mindfulness can help you look at the big picture and not allow you to worry so much.
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  • Interpersonal effectiveness. This is when conflict is resolved through assertiveness rather than passiveness. Sometimes, you must tackle the problem head-on and avoid tap dancing around it. Interpersonal effectiveness involves changing how you approach the problem so that it can be challenging at first. But once you master it, you can improve your problem-solving skills quite a bit.

It can be difficult, if not impossible, to learn how to implement these principles of DBT in your daily life. This is where speaking with a professional therapist can help you.

Therapy is effective, but you must do the work

One of the challenges of therapy is committing to it. You need to attend sessions regularly if you want to succeed. Some people may not see results immediately or as fast as they would like and give up. In reality, you may need to try a new technique. A good psychotherapist will work with you from many different angles.

It’s also important to know you don’t need a mental illness to seek therapy. A therapist can help you with many obstacles and give you the tools to work through your problems.

Online therapy is an excellent option if you are interested in starting therapy but don’t want to commute to an office or meet with someone in person. With online therapy, you attend treatment from the comfort of your home or anywhere you have an internet connection. When you sign up for online treatment, you’re matched with an available therapist who can start helping you right away. Studies show that online treatment is effective. One review of 14 studies found that online treatment is as effective as in-person therapy. If you’re ready to learn more, sign up with BetterHelp to get started.

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