What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the practice of spending time with a trained therapist to help diagnose and treat mental and emotional problems. Therapy can take various forms—cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or a combination of these—but at the center of each is the caring relationship between a mental health professional and a patient.

Recent Posts on Therapy

Huntress Barbie Is Hunting You

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on August 04, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
The latest celebrity trophy hunter is a femme fatale who sees killing as therapy. Her motives help us understand the dilemma of everyone who’s ever felt like a Nobody in a Dead End job, in need of some life-saving heroic purpose.

What I've Learned about Friendships in my 20s (So Far)

By Rubin Khoddam on August 03, 2015 in The Addiction Connection
Navigating your twenties is hard, especially socially, as we make and lose friends. But here are some tips I've learned about friends in my twenties so far.

Can Improv Comedy Treat Social Anxiety?

By Jon Fortenbury on August 02, 2015 in NeuroProgress
People are increasingly turning to improv comedy (theatre made up on the spot) to reduce social anxiety. The reason it's working for some and not all is simple, but powerful.

Art Therapy: It’s Not Just an Art Project

Are there circumstances where art itself is the proverbial therapist? This is a question that continues to rankle the profession called “art therapist” as well as those who are trying to establish a clearly defined scope of practice for the field.

The Value of the Therapeutic Relationship, Part Two

Although I steadfastly hold to the belief that therapy can be extremely helpful, even life changing, as is the case with all other professions, there’s a bell curve of competence and effectiveness. Meaning, there are incredibly talented, compassionate, non-judgmental, effective, and extremely bright clinicians and there are mediocre, ineffective, even bad clinicians.

Does Change Come from Within?

The environmental location of causality—change comes from without rather than from within—is awfully convenient for therapists, who happen to find themselves in their patients’ environments.

Affects, Language, and Cognition

For many months, we have been exploring the three pillars of human development: Affects (Feelings), Language, and Cognition. We have tried to make the case that there is a revolution in our understanding of human development. I have suggested that this revolution has tremendous potential for enhancing development.

You Pays Your Money and You Takes Your Choices

By Dan Mager MSW on July 30, 2015 in Some Assembly Required
We can make whatever choices we want or need to—as long as we are willing to accept the consequences of those choices. This equation represents the intersection of awareness, action, and accountability. And, it is applicable to virtually every area of life.

Betrayal and Abandonment in Therapy

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on July 30, 2015 in The Me in We
When sudden death, suicide, or a sexual advance shatters the clinical alliance.

Uncovering the Past and Embracing the Future

The Resilience Regiment speaks with Capstone Treatment Center.

Prison Art: Is It Therapy or "Therapeutic"? So What?

There is no doubt that making art in prison can be therapeutic--but is it necessarily therapy? This blog teases apart the differences between the two, all the while exploring the age-old question: so what?

Putting Humanity and the Humanities Back Into Medicine

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 28, 2015 in Saving Normal
The relationship between medical art and science is changing rapidly, with the science now overwhelming the art. Doctors more and more function like technicians, not healers. A knowledge of the humanities is crucial if doctors are to treat patients, not lab tests.

Wilderness Therapy

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on July 27, 2015 in Minority Report
Why getting outdoors may be the best medicine for your psychological health. It can not only free you from your daily world of connection but also test you psychologically as you push yourself in your various pursuits.

Do “Autism Parents” Face Increased Stigma for Mental Health?

Despite the fact that mental health is centrally tied to our overall well-being, parents of children with autism may find themselves not only combating the general public’s shared stigma related to mental illness and therapeutic services, but must also contend with additional challenges in overcoming the stigmatization of supporting their own psychological needs.

Do You Know What You Need?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on July 27, 2015 in Think, Act, Be
Recent research shows that people differ in how well they recognize their own needs, which has important implications for relationships and well-being. Find out how to identify your needs.

Love, Sex, and Pornography

By Frances Cohen Praver Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in Love Doc
Liz sat on the far end of the couch and smiled weakly.”I love Adam and I want to make him happy.” “Uh huh…” I said. Liz continued. “I feel I’m falling short of my goal. I would do next to anything to please Adam. But there are some things I’m not so sure about.”

Is It True That Your Physical Pain Is In Your Mind?

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on July 25, 2015 in Off the Couch
“I think there’s something wrong,” Marjorie said. “I feel like I have a urinary tract infection all the time. But the doctor can’t find anything the matter. He says I have an anxiety disorder." A week later, tests showed that she had a UTI. Why hadn't the doctor picked it up before?

Treating Eating Disorders the New-Fashioned Way

The establishment and assuredness of a safe and trusting relationship between patient and therapist prior to making the transition from office to on-line, plus symptoms being well under control or gone, then YES, my experience has shown that continued progress and recovery is possible, particularly for eating disorder patients with underlying anxiety & depression.

The Value of the Therapeutic Relationship — Part One

I have always considered therapy a “gift” and the decision to work with a therapist a proactive sign of self-compassion and courage as well as a healthy statement about one’s desire to learn, grow, and heal. However, for countless people the idea of seeking out therapy and opening up about painful emotions, intimate or shame-based thoughts and behaviors is too daunting, an

Social Anxiety Diminished by Brain Signals and Re-Thinking

Social anxiety and its treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy can be studied with advanced brain imaging. Both the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala are involved.

Should We Talk About Religion in Therapy?

Although therapists recognize the importance of talking about religion, they're still uncomfortable inviting spirituality into the room.

Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict Is In

Both psychiatrists and psychologists devote their careers to helping people with mental health issues. As promising as neuroscience may be for helping researchers find clues to the brain, the real key to treatment lies in therapy, not drugs. Your best bet is to explore all options when you or your loved ones seek help.

Confirmation Bias and Stigma

Confirmation bias confirms not only expectations about the percept, but also those relating to the kind of world we live in and our role in it.

Beyond Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 21, 2015 in How To Do Life
CBT needs to move from THE Therapy to being just one tool in the tool box.

Writing Your Way Through Emotional Pain

It’s a very simple process and one that you can do totally on your own, but it’s surprising how few people take advantage of this wonderful healing technique.

Sexually Open Marraige

By Frances Cohen Praver Ph.D. on July 19, 2015 in Love Doc
“I’m not feeling well. I can’t get going.” Sharon said softly. I remarked, “You seem sad.” Her voice picked up as she said “I am but I don’t understand it. My life is great. I’m married to this wonderful man, have an adorable six year old daughter, a lovely home, and a satisfying career.”

Is it Psychosis or a Spiritual Emergency?

A spiritual emergency is a more contemporary and less clinical term than psychosis. It refers to an awe-inspiring event that transcends the ego and can cause psychological and spiritual transformation. Normalizing and acknowledging the event can result in learning and transformation for both the client and therapist.

Open Dialogue: A New Approach to Mental Healthcare

By Neel Burton M.D. on July 12, 2015 in Hide and Seek
Guest blog by British psychiatrist Dr Tom Stockmann.

When Cheating Isn't Cheating

By Frances Cohen Praver Ph.D. on July 12, 2015 in Love Doc
Tossing her long blonde hair over her shoulder, Sarah smiled, “Stan wants me to marry him.” “Do you want to marry him?” I asked. Her dazzling smile turned to a frown. “I’m thinking about it. It’s a problem though.” I asked, “Why’s that?” “I’m married to Evan.” She said in a matter of fact tone.

Creative Rehabilitation, Part 3: Stroke

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on July 12, 2015 in Trouble in Mind
It is especially important to think outside the box when planning rehabilitation for victims of stroke who are young or members of a minority group.