The Benefits Of Psychology Therapy

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated April 19, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Dawn Brown, LPC

Mental illness and mental health is a major issue facing any society, and Psychological Therapy seeks to treat it using a variety of means and disciplines. Psychotherapy has a long history of theory and practice. At its core, it is the field of mental treatment to help patients overcome or learn to live with mental health issues. Using methods discovered and proven in the field of psychology, therapists treat or develop coping mechanisms for many different disorders. Methods are many and varied, but all involve some form of personal interaction, on an individual or group level.

What Is Psychological Therapy?

Psychotherapy is a field that focuses on long-term treatment through mental rehabilitation and behavioral methods to alter the mental states and habits of patients for the better. Psychological Therapy differs from Psychiatry in that Psychiatry utilizes medication, whereas psychotherapy utilizes behaviors. However, these fields are complementary to each other - often tools from both fields are used in a given patient's case. Psychotherapy is typically one of the first stops along the road to a patient's improvement of mental health, life, and happiness.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 18.5% of U.S. adults (amounting to 43.8 million or one in five) experience some form of mental illness in a year. Mental illness interferes with daily life and limits one's ability to engage in any number of important life activities. Equally prevalent among youth, with 21.4% of those in the age group 13-18 and 13% of 8-15-year-olds experiencing a mental illness considered severe during their life. Substance abuse disorder is a physical or mental addiction to a substance such as alcohol or a controlled substance such as narcotics. Significantly, fully half of all adults with the substance abuse disorder have a co-morbid mental disorder.

Why Psychological Therapy Near Me?

The impetus to treat mental illness is powerful and far-reaching. There are social consequences, physical health consequences, financial consequences, and loss of life at risk. In the U.S., suicide is one of the most significant causes of death for youths, being 3rd for ages 10-14 and 2nd for ages 15-24. Across the whole age spectrum, it remains 10th overall and is one of the ultimate negative consequences of untreated mental illness. As infectious as a physical virus or illness, self-harm and suicidal ideation spread through a population. In Reporting on Suicide, it is asserted that failure to follow guidelines in reporting and entertainment about suicide can lead to ideation and contagion.

Mental illness is a very complex tapestry of disorder, the understanding of which continues to build and adapt over time with research and treatment. Most patients can accurately be diagnosed with more than one mental illness, and many illnesses are comorbid. Comorbidity refers to the presence of more than one illness at a time. This understanding of mental disorders having comorbidity is along the suggestion that they often have similar or linked causes.

Psychotherapy's ultimate aim, alongside all other mental health-related professions, is to reduce the impact of mental illness. In the individual, this is seen in the goal of achieving a healthy life, treating and coping with mental illnesses that may impede daily function. In communities and society at large, this is seen in its impact in seeking to treat spirals of anxiety and ideation.

The Difference Between Psychotherapy, Psychiatry, And Psychology

Psychotherapy is designed in all methods as a way to examine the patient's needs and fulfill their therapy goals. As a means to an end of a healthy, happy life, Psychological Therapy is often utilized alongside other disciplines. This might start with generalized counseling or therapy, followed by Psychological treatment in concert with the prescription of a psychiatrist if necessary.

Counseling is often enough for treating mild to moderate mental illness. Patients sit down with a therapist and discuss their problems in talk therapy. It is appropriate to think of this as a form of assisted self-help, as a therapist's goal at the outset is to lead the patient into making choices that lead to long-term benefit.

Psychology, engaged in by the same therapist during sessions, is the practice of observation and specific treatment. As a discipline, Psychology refers to those who have a Doctorate in Psychology and are trained in the administration of tests and diagnosis. Psychotherapy will prescribe behaviors and exercises meant to stimulate mental coping and growth. These range from the provision of coping mechanisms, to thought experiments, to taking formalized tests for diagnosis. It is through psychotherapy that patients often can overcome or cope with more severe disorders such as DID, BPD, PTSD, phobias, and more.

Psychiatry is a discipline involving a medical degree to prescribe psychotropic medication. Psychiatrists may engage in talk therapy with patients, and many do. However, the discipline, also referred to as psychopharmacology, focuses on prescription. Like all medical disciplines, the most important aspect is the doctor-patient relationship. Through getting to know the patient, their reactions to medication and their habits, Psychiatrists can better help them achieve their goals. A therapist of any stripe will work with a psychiatrist if they deem medication is necessary.

What Approaches To Psychological Therapy Are Available?

The imprint of a psychological theory starts with psychoanalysis, and the psychodynamic therapies. Beginning with the theories of Sigmund Freud, this approach focuses on the relationship between the patient and therapist specifically. It is a useful diagnostic tool and often forms the basis for initial exploration.

Next is Behavioral Therapy. This is the approach that brings classical conditioning and operant conditioning to the table. It explores the role of behaviors in shaping the mind and their importance in informing and changing mental disorder. An approach from this theory will present patients with actions they can take to begin changing what they do, to change how they think. The use of positive reinforcement such as creating rewards for patients may be involved. Ivan Pavlov and E.L. Thorndike are among the therapists who helped form this approach.

Cognitive Therapy is the inverse of the previous. It focuses on what people think, and how thoughts lead to behaviors. It is the theory that dysfunctional behaviors stem from dysfunctional thoughts. Cognitive Therapy will focus on exercises for the patient, affirmations, and coping mechanisms. It will look at the "why" of a patient's behaviors, the motivations behind thoughts, and the potential causes for dysfunction.

Humanistic Therapy takes a patient-driven approach to the patient's therapeutic goals. Empathy, respect, and concern are important themes in this approach. Therapists will focus on the patient's concerns while avoiding making assertive claims as to their mental conditions. There is less of an emphasis on specific processes and more of an adherence to a self-driven philosophy.

The NIMH Mental Health Information Index lists a full index of disorders along with suggested approaches, and many of them offer approaches from multiple theories. Most psychotherapists engage in an approach described as "integrative." This is a mixture of many different approaches. Patients will more often than not see therapy styles, processes, and theories that draw from all categories.

Where Can I Find Psychological Therapy Near Me?

Seeking local help for mental health issues is often a challenge. Almost 60 million people in the United States live in rural locations. Seeking face-to-face talk therapy, psychological treatment, or psychiatric help can involve a long commute. Barriers to seeking treatment are a significant factor in whether a patient will receive adequate help. Stigma, pressure from unsympathetic peers and family, and difficulty in finding therapists capable of empathizing with the patient are all of great importance.

Therapy is useful to everyone. Mental illness, domestic abuse, and substance abuse are all major problems in the United States. Statistics of these are based on reported instances. What that means is, these statistics are under full representative extent of an issue. There are many reasons to seek therapy that does not have to be related to severe mental illness. Financial and employment worries, social or domestic issues, and personal growth and achievement are all examples of significant life elements that might benefit from therapy.

It is hard enough to find a therapist in a city where the pool might still be large but shallow. It is even harder to find one in a rural or suburban area. It is important that a therapist's own experiences reflect or complement what the patient needs. Every patient is different, and every therapist has a different history of studies and experiences. Some patients need therapists exactly like them, while others might need therapists who dwell outside their specific set of problems.

If you're asking yourself "why is there no one available for Psychological Therapy near me?" then you want to take a look at the MyTherapist matching page. Here, patients will be able to find therapists to talk to without worrying about a commute. A detailed questionnaire will provide you the ability to pre-screen your selection, and you will be able to select from a variety of communication options.

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