Psychotherapy in Pennsylvania
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, counseling, or therapy, is used to treat mental health and behavioral health conditions by speaking with a trained counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. A trained professional will have therapy sessions with an individual, couple, family, or a group, using a range of techniques to address mental health issues or problems people may be struggling to manage.
What is Psychotherapy?
Therapists are licensed mental health care professionals, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses. The goal of psychotherapy is to reduce the symptoms of psychological distress, change negative behavior and thought patterns, and guide individuals through difficult periods or transitions in life. The therapist and client set goals for treatment and have sessions in which the client talks about their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in a safe, guided setting. The therapist uses a range of techniques to help clients to overcome personal issues, deal with stress, and manage mental health conditions. Psychotherapy for drug addiction is a common tool used privately and in treatment programs.
Psychotherapy provides people with a safe space to explore emotions, thoughts, and feelings without fear of judgment or retribution for anything they may say during a session. All conversations between a therapist and client are protected by confidentiality and HIPPA laws, except in the case of a client threatening self-harm or to harm others, in which case the therapist is required by law to disclose this information.
Some insurance covers psychotherapy for drug addiction and mental health conditions, but sometimes a person must look for other options when the cost is a concern. Many places offer reduced cost, or “sliding scale”, or even free therapy for those who qualify.
What Conditions Can Psychotherapy It Treat?
Psychotherapy works to help people uncover and modify ways of thinking and behaving that are interfering with their ability to function in daily life, establish healthy relationships, and reach their full potential. It can teach people healthy ways to cope with stress, recover from past traumas, and overcome phobias and fears. Psychotherapy is sometimes combined with medications to treat symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with chronic mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.
Psychotherapy’s effectiveness in addressing and improving the condition of people dealing with these mental health disorders varies depending on the frequency of the sessions, the relationship between therapist and client, the type of therapy used, and the individual’s desire to change or improve.
What Happens During a Psychotherapy Session
What happens during psychotherapy sessions depends on the type of therapy being used, and if it’s for an individual, couple, family, or group. For individual therapy, the therapist usually does an intake, which consists of getting an overview of the patient’s life history. From there, goals are set for what the patient wants to accomplish during therapy.
With couples and family counseling, the patients talk about their goals and how they view themselves, each other, and their relationships. The counselor provides feedback on how to repair any damage done and establish healthy new patterns for communication.
A counselor leading group therapy will keep everyone focused on topics, sometimes putting the spotlight on one member and other times making it more focused on the group. Members can offer and ask for support from their peers.
Types of Psychotherapy
There are many types of psychotherapy and techniques that a therapist may incorporate into their sessions with clients. The most common types are:
- Individual therapy: meeting one-on-one with a therapist
- Couples therapy: partners meet with a therapist to address relationship issues
- Family therapy: families attend sessions to work on family dynamics
- Group therapy: therapist leads a peer group working on common goals, such as addiction recovery
Each therapist will have a specialty and training background based in certain types of psychotherapy. Common types of therapy include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy draws on cognitive and behavioral approaches to address problematic patterns of thought and behavior that cause emotional distress and negative consequences in the client’s life. The goal of CBT is to help the person recognize and understand why they think and behave in these ways in order to change it.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is based on finding a balance between opposites. DBT was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder. DBT teaches people to regulate emotions, deal with stress, practice mindfulness in difficult situations, manage negative feelings, and improve communication skills.
Psychoanalysis is at the foundation of modern therapeutic approaches and is associated with the methods of Sigmund Freud. Psychodynamic therapy, also known as psychoanalytic therapy, works on uncovering childhood experiences and relationship dynamics that subconsciously affect thoughts and behaviors. The therapist helps the client to become aware of these subconscious thoughts and feelings in order to change negative patterns of behavior or thought.
Other Types of Therapy
In addition to these core types of psychotherapy, there are other methods such as psychodrama, art therapy, sound or music therapy, hypnotherapy, EMDR, and animal-assisted therapy. These other psychotherapy approaches involve a therapist who is guiding an individual or group to heal from underlying traumas, addiction, mental health conditions, and other issues.
The Benefits of Psychotherapy
Receiving psychotherapy provides benefits in both the short-term and long-term for clients. The American Psychological Association reports that 75% of people who have psychotherapy show some benefit. An immediate benefit is the availability of a neutral party to listen to and make proactive plans for handling challenges and emotional reactions in a patient’s life. This begins a pattern of providing a client with an outlet they can utilize, rather than automatically giving in to negative emotions or harmful behaviors.
Long-term benefits include a client now having healthy new coping skills they are comfortable using. They have a firmer grasp on how to engage in healthy relationships and make smarter choices for themselves. People who actively engage in psychotherapy typically experience fewer medical symptoms and take fewer sick days at work.
How Psychotherapy for Drug Addiction and Alcoholism is Helpful
For people struggling with substance abuse, psychotherapy can play a critical role during treatment. Oftentimes, people develop addictions because of an underlying mental health condition or past traumas that lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse. Psychotherapy for drug addiction can help them recognize the thoughts and behaviors that may trigger their desire to use substances. It also may uncover undiagnosed or inadequately treated mental health conditions or negative thought patterns and traumas that may be causing or exacerbating their substance abuse.
DreamLife Recovery in western Pennsylvania offers varying types of psychotherapy to address the full spectrum of needs that clients may have during treatment. Each individual may respond differently to the psychotherapy approaches, which is why offering a range of options is important. DreamLife Recovery has a team of clinical psychologists and therapists on staff who work closely with clients to determine what types of psychotherapy they may benefit from most during their addiction recovery program. This ensures that they leave with the tools necessary for maintaining sobriety after treatment.