Therapy: What Exactly Is it?

The media form of therapy known as talk therapy has changed significantly during the past fifty years. For most of us, we think of a man with a beard smoking a pipe and saying “Ah ha” a lot and, unfortunately, not much else. We would be sitting on a couch talking about our childhood and, perhaps, worried what our therapist was thinking about us.

Is he analyzing us? We would pay the psychoanalyst handsomely four times a week to listen to our problems, while we sit on the couch for decades.

The media has, in many ways, left many people with a soured view of the benefits of psychotherapy.

Today, psychotherapy is very different than what we might think. There are a variety of types of talk therapy and the most widely used types have placed under rigorous scrutiny by the scientific community. The findings show that talk therapy works in treating a wide variety of problems or disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy has consistently been shown to be as effective as medication in the treatment of depression and certain types of anxiety. To get a better understanding of how effective talk therapy (a.k.a. psychotherapy) is check on the National Institute of Mental Health. This is a major government funded research center that studies psychological disorders.

When you are looking for a therapist it is important to understand some of the current types of therapies out there. Some will work for equally well to solve a problem but you or loved one might prefer one technique over another.

For example, flooding, a behavioral approach to treat anxiety, is often less tolerable than systematic desensitization, an alternate behavioral approach to treating anxiety.

These are some examples of the basic types of therapy.

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