Frequently Asked Questions About Psychotherapy

The Answers To Everything You Ever Wondered About Therapy

Psychotherapy is a relationship entered into by a trained psychotherapist and a patient for the purpose of helping the patient either with the symptoms of mental illness or to achieve desired changes in their life.

Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions.


What Are the Major Theoretical Orientations and Modalities of Psychotherapy?

Hands - Counselling and Support

Joe Houghton - Images

Psychotherapy is based upon a range of techniques: behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, existential therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and eclectic therapy. The therapy can be one-on-one or in a group or family setting. Learn more about which types are best utilized for various mood disorders.


What Is the Best Type of Psychotherapy for Depression?

Probably the most studied type of psychotherapy for depression is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy focuses on the role of thinking and belief systems as the root of depression.

During this type of therapy, the psychotherapist works with the patient to help them recognize their dysfunctional thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and to change them to a more realistic perspective.

Interpersonal therapy, which focuses on interpersonal relationships and coping with conflict, in addition to family therapy, may also be useful in certain cases. Psychodynamic therapy has been shown to be useful, too.


What Is the Difference Between Counseling and Psychotherapy?

While counseling and psychotherapy are often thought of as being the same thing, there are some important distinctions between the two.

In the context of mental health, "counseling" is generally used to denote a relatively brief treatment that is focused most upon behavior.

"Psychotherapy," on the other hand, is generally a longer-term treatment that focuses more on gaining insight into chronic physical and emotional problems. Its focus is on the patient's thought processes and way of being in the world, rather than on specific problems.


How Do You Choose a Therapist?

You don't want to waste time and money with a therapist who isn't meeting your needs. How do you choose the best therapist for you?

Among the things you should consider are your comfort levels with the person providing your care, their credentials, and their areas of expertise.


What Do all Those Initials After the Names Mean?

You can tell a lot about a person's qualifications that list of initials following their name, but what do those letters really mean?


What Should You Expect During Your First Session?

Nervous about your first visit to a therapist? Learn more about what will happen during your first visit, in addition to important questions you should ask your doctor at your appointment.

Depression Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide to help you ask the right questions at your next doctor's appointment.

Mind Doc Guide

What If You Want to Do Self-Help Instead of Seeing a Therapist?

If you'd like to try self-help, there is actually a very good book available called Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D. This book explains cognitive therapy and gives you exercises that you can use to practice it on your own.

Was this page helpful?