Psychotherapy can take on different formats depending on the approach of the therapist and the needs of the patient. The goal is for a trained psychotherapist to help their client tackle specific or general problems such as a particular mental illness or a source of life stress.

While a wide range of techniques and strategies can be used, almost all types of psychotherapy involve developing a therapeutic relationship, communicating and creating a dialogue, and working to overcome problematic thoughts or behaviors. Learn more about the options that are available.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What exactly does a psychotherapist do?

    A psychotherapist focuses on gaining insight into a person's thought processes, and how these may be influenced by past events such that they cause problems in the present. A psychotherapist will work with the client to address the root cause and core issues of current problems so that lasting change and personal growth may occur.

  • What is the difference between psychotherapy and therapy?

    While therapy can be used to find solutions across various fields (including physical health, mental health, marriage and family issues), psychotherapy focuses on the management of mental health or emotional issues.

  • What are the five types of psychotherapy?

    Different approaches of psychotherapy may be used depending on the condition being treated, as well as the expertise of the mental health professional. The American Psychological Association classifies these approaches into five broad categories: psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, humanistic therapy, and integrative therapy.

Key Terms