The Psychotherapeutic Process

Psychotherapy requires the concentration, energy, and commitment of both the patient and the therapist. Both patient and therapist are full partners in the process and both participate in making treatment decisions. It is important, therefore, to know the training and professional standing of any therapist. All psychotherapy requires the maintaining of strict confidentiality by the therapist. This allows the patient to feel comfortable and safe in speaking candidly about problems, questions, and concerns. Psychotherapy can take place in individual sessions, which is the most common format, or with couples, families, or in group sessions. It may also be combined with psychiatric medications. Many studies have confirmed that the combination of psychotherapy with medication is the most effective treatment for many disorders, including depression and anxiety.

What is “Talk Therapy?” 

(This discussion is based on material that may be found in “Mental Health Works” published by the American Psychiatric Association, Second Quarter, 2008.)

“Talk therapy”—a phrase sometimes used as shorthand for psychotherapy—is prescribed for a variety of emotional and mental disorders. It is important to know, however, that not all “talk therapies” are the same. Although each approach involves verbal communication between a clinician and a patient, the philosophy behind each approach requires different training for the clinician and provides a different experience for the patient. 

On its HealthyMinds website, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines psychotherapy as follows: 

Psychotherapy is a process of discovery that has as its medical goal to eliminate or control troubling and painful symptoms so that the patient can return to normal functioning.

There are often choices about which type of psychotherapy may be used to treat a particular set of symptoms or problems. Clinicians recommend therapy type based on the patient’s particular symptoms and circumstances. The most important point to understand is that psychotherapy DOES work, as confirmed by countless studies. References to these may be found at many reliable websites including those of The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychoanalytic Association, The American Psychological Association, The National Institute of Mental Health, to list but a few.

For more information…

Please visit these websites for more information about psychoanalysis and what it can do for you.

American Psychiatric Association, www.HealthyMinds.org

American Psychoanalytic Association, www.apsa.org

American Psychiatric Association, www.psych.org

The National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.gov

Washington Center for Psychoanalysis www.washpsa.org