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What is Therapy? Your Complete Guide to Psychotherapy

Therapy is also called psychotherapy, talk therapy or counseling. It is an effective treatment option for a wide variety of emotional and mental health issues. There are many different types of therapies, some of which are aimed at a particular condition; and some which are used for a variety of conditions. Therapy can take place individually, as partners, as a family, or in a group. Mental health professionals who guide therapy sessions are usually psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed counselors or social workers. Therapy can be a treatment option on its own, or it can be administered together with other types of treatment, such as medication.

What is Therapy?

Therapy sessions are typically held once a week and last for about 50-minutes. During the session, you will be encouraged to express your thoughts, feelings and anxieties or any concerns that you may have about your mental health. Therapy is based on establishing an honest, open and trusting relationship between the therapist and client.

The therapist’s job is primarily to listen and to gently guide people into looking at situations differently or adopting new skills to help them to resolve their concerns. Your psychologist or psychiatrist will never tell you what to do. Instead they will help you to understand your emotions and to discover behavioral options, that you may not have considered, for improving your mental health. Together with the therapist, you will define the problems you wish to solve and set goals to help you achieve emotional well-being. Usually, therapy sessions will continue for less than a year, but they can sometimes go on for longer.

Benefits of Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy has the benefit of being totally natural and without side effects. While it can take some time for results to be noted, therapy has the advantage that the benefits tend to be long-lasting.

  • Therapy can provide support during a difficult period. It can help you to set realistic goals in your life and it can show you how to make positive changes in the way you deal with things.
  • Therapy can offer guidance in a specific relationship, life or work issue. And it is also effective for tackling long-standing mental health conditions.
  • Therapy can help you to increase your self-confidence and enables you to face challenges more easily. It can help you to heal past pains and to identify and change behaviors which are getting in the way of your happiness and well-being.
  • Setting goals can also help along with learning new ways to solve problems. It can show you how to deal better with strong emotions and provide you with ways in which you can improve your relationships.
  • Therapy can also help you to learn more about your condition or your symptoms, so that you can cope better.

Types of Therapy

There are many different types of therapeutic approaches. The most common ones are listed below.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This therapy is known to work well for many mental health conditions especially anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. It can work in two ways. First off, it helps the person to develop positive thoughts and beliefs about their life and to dispel negative misconceptions. Additionally, it helps them to learn how to take actions that are healthier and better for them in the end.

Humanistic Therapy

This therapy focuses on each person’s strengths and aims at boosting their self-image. It considers each person to be a totally unique individual, capable of understanding and adapting their feelings to achieve fullness in life. The therapist helps the person to gain better insight into their inner conflicts and to become self-actualized.

Family Therapy

This type of therapy encourages better communication between family members. It shows them how to deal with conflicts and how to seek solutions to problems. It is often used for people with eating disorders or bipolar disorder.

Psychodynamic therapy

This therapy looks for repressed memories or unresolved conflicts which could be contributing to your current mental health problems. It helps people to discover unconscious emotions and to come to terms with them.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is still led by a therapist but involves a group of people usually with shared or common mental health conditions or situations. Sharing experiences with others can be very helpful in finding solutions.

Online Therapy

Many people are now opting for this option as they can choose from many different therapists, it reduces traveling, they have various appointment options, it can be less expensive and it offers a very similar success rate as face to face counseling. Also, it ensures your total privacy. Many people find it easier to talk with someone while sitting in the familiar surroundings of their own home. Be sure to seek an online therapist from an approved site such as Thrivetalk.

Making the Decision to Seek Therapy

Many people find making the decision to seek therapy the hardest part. Some may fear the stigma that is still unfortunately attached to mental illness and psychological health problems. Others may feel embarrassed about the prospect of discussing their innermost thoughts with a stranger. Most, however, find that once they have made the initial contact; they feel fine about therapy and that their fears were unfounded. Therapists are professionals who respect your privacy and they are skilled at making you feel comfortable so that you can open up and find the solutions to your problems.

Tips for Finding the Best Therapist for You

Always make sure to verify a therapist’s professional qualifications and remember to ask if they are licensed to work in the state you live in. If possible, find their website to read about their skills and areas of specialty. You could also check out the reviews left by other patients. It is important that you decide beforehand if you would feel more comfortable with a man or a woman, someone older or younger, with a formal or a more friendly style, or if you would prefer someone from your own race or culture.

It is really important to find a therapist who you feel at ease with and who you feel empathizes with you. For effective therapy, you need to trust your therapist. Finding the right therapist can sometimes be a trial and error process. If you do not feel comfortable with a therapist, the best idea would be to look for another one.

Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist

Do you have any experience in treating people with conditions similar to mine?

How often will therapy take place?

Can I get in touch with you between sessions if I need to?

How long does each session last?

After how many sessions will I start to see an improvement?

Getting the Most Out of Therapy

Therapy requires commitment. Sometimes, making changes or letting go of past emotions or behaviors can be hard, so it is important to remain motivated and committed. For this reason, it is vital to have confidence in your therapist and a strong desire to feel better. You should also be flexible and willing to try new things. It usually takes several sessions before you feel the benefits of therapy. In fact, some people may feel worse at the start of their therapy journey as they are confronted with feelings and emotions that they have been avoiding for years. However, if you persist you are very likely to get huge benefits out of therapy.

How Can I Find a Good Therapist Near Me?

There are different ways in which you can find a therapist near you. You can ask your doctor to recommend a good therapist or you can find a qualified online therapist who can help you through Thrivetalk. Talking with a therapist online can be just as effective as talking to them face to face and it has many other advantages as mentioned above.

Recently therapy has become much more accepted. It used to be limited to people who could afford it and many people were proud to be able to afford a therapist. Nowadays, therapy has become much more accessible and available to many more people. If you feel that therapy could help you, don’t wait any longer to seek help and begin to feel better!


  1. https://www.goodtherapy.org/what-is-therapy.html
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/therapy
  3. https://psychcentral.com/psychotherapy/
  4. https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/therapy
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