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

How Do Psychotherapists Think?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on June 26, 2017 in Hot Thought
Psychotherapists need complex reasoning to determine how to help the people they treat. Such assessment is not simply matching features, but requires building a causal account.
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Sitting with Suffering

Mastering our environment is something that can feel impossible when the odds of anything getting better are slim.

Some Advice on Coping Following Trauma

If you, a loved one or friend, has recently been through a traumatic and upsetting event, it may be worth considering some of the following ways of coping

Pride in Mental Health: Visibility

An interview with LGBTQ+ activists Dior Vargas and Cole Ledford.

Pride in Mental Health: Advocacy

An interview with Jillian Weiss of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, and Calvin Stowell of DoSomething.org.

Do You Need Drugs for Your "Chemical Imbalance"?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Research reveals some surprising news about the role of serotonin in depression—and suggests millions of Americans taking drugs for depression would do just as well on placebo.

Pride in Mental Health: Education

An interview with GLSEN (creating safe schools for all, regardless of orientation or identity) and The Hetrick-Martin Institute (a safe space for LGBT youth and families).

What’s “Emotional Reasoning”—And Why Is It Such a Problem?

One of the most baffling psychological problems is to acutely feel the reality of something without its having any basis in fact. Here are some examples...

Pride in Mental Health: Crisis Intervention

An interview with David Bond, Vice President of Programs at The Trevor Project, and Shoko Morikawa, Crisis Counselor Supervisor at Crisis Text Line.

Some Tips for Staying Married

Suggestions from a long-married guy for keeping your marriage going beyond those first few crazy-in-love passionate years (or months).

The One Question to Ask Every Therapist

A therapist who thinks it’s fine to coast is hardly an advertisement for change.

Old Selves and New

By Loren Soeiro, Ph.D. ABPP on June 19, 2017 in I Hear You
Ever feel like one type of person in some relationships, and a completely different one in others? Here's how psychotherapy uses this phenomenon to bring about change and insight.

What Happens When Partners Fight Chronic Pain Together?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on June 19, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
When one partner battles chronic pain, both partners suffer. A new treatment program offers hope—and lessons that can strengthen any relationship.

Understanding Anger

Anger is often denied or suppressed but communication of anger can be productive and avoid development of destructive hostility, constant anxiety, and violence..

National PTSD Awareness Month

By James F. Zender Ph.D. on June 16, 2017 in The New Normal
June is a time to celebrate a psychiatric revolution.
kovaleva_ka/depositphotos

If You're the Family Outsider, Learn to Fly On Your Own

If you've been the "problem" person in your family of origin or your relationships, you might come to see it as a blessing rather than a curse.

Do You Really Need Premarital Counseling?

What should you do to prepare for marriage? Research reveals effective tools to help your relationship thrive for a lifetime.

The Difference Between Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

There are so many different types of psychotherapy. How do I tell the difference and find an approach that is right for me?

Lessons From Summer Camp

By Mendi Baron on June 13, 2017 in On the Verge
Got a teen or young adult on your couch? Want it back? Helping them find a purpose can go a long way.

Handling Rather than Avoiding

Directly handling matters will always be a more effective response than avoidance.

The Tyranny of Perfectionism

Severe and fierce perfectionism is no laughing matter.

My 20-Year Journey Toward a Unified Framework

A retrospective on my work toward a unified framework for psychology and psychotherapy.

Icebergs and Childhood Mental Illness

It's time to destigmatize childhood mental illness.

Protecting Brain Injured Patients in Legal Proceedings

By James F. Zender Ph.D. on June 09, 2017 in The New Normal
Protective orders can protect people who have compromised cognitive functioning.

What Dogs Can Teach Us about the Main Cause of Depression

Psychologists have long pondered what is the cause, and the evolutionary purpose, of depressed feelings. Dogs have the answer.
Erlanger Turner, Ph.D.

Run for Your Life to Improve Your Mental Health

In his new book, William Pullen provides a self-help resource on coping with mental health issues by combining exercise and mindfulness.

Five Embarrassing Things That Therapy Can Help With

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on June 07, 2017 in Friendship 2.0
Many people believe that therapy is just for specific mental health disorders. But many everyday concerns—including those rarely spoken about—can be helped by it as well.

Are You Stuck and Can’t Get Unstuck? Try Practicing Courage!

Are you stuck in life's rut? Practicing courage on a daily basis may be for you.
Michael Coghlan/flickr/Empathy, labelled for reuse

Out With Empathy

By Tim Carey Ph.D. on June 06, 2017 in In Control
The spirit of genuine curiosity is a humble acceptance of our innocence when it comes to the experiences of another.