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Psychotherapy - Treatment, Procedure And Side Effects

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2022

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a technique typically used by psychiatrist, psychologist and other mental health experts for treating problems related to mental health. It helps to take control of our lives and respond to various challenging situations with healthy coping skills. During a therapy session, the healthcare professional attempts to learn about the patient’s condition, moods, feelings, thoughts, behaviours.

There are several types of techniques available with their own unique approach. The kind of therapy that's right for a patient, depends upon the individual situation. It is commonly known as talk therapy, counselling, psychosocial therapy or just therapy. It is used either alone or in combination with medications to treat mental illnesses. Though called 'therapy' for short, the word psychotherapy involves several treatment techniques.

During psychotherapy, a person with mental illness talks to a licensed and trained mental health care expert who helps him or her identify and work through the factors that may be triggering their disease. It is usually recommended whenever a person is grappling with a relationship, work issue or specific mental health concern.

What are the various types of psychotherapy procedures?

The therapy can be performed to anyone irrespective of age. There are several different approaches that a mental health professional can talk to provide the therapy. The different treatment approach includes:

  1. Psychodynamic Therapy: It builds on the assumption that a person has emotional disturbance because of unresolved, generally unconscious conflicts, often stemming from childhood.
  2. Interpersonal Therapy: It focuses on the behaviours and interactions a patient has with his or her family members and friends. The primary goal of this treatment is to improve communication skills and increase self-esteem during a short period. It usually lasts around three to four months and works well for depression caused by mourning, relationship conflicts, major life events and social isolation.
  3. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This therapy assists people with mental illness to identify and change inaccurate perceptions that they may have to themselves and the people around them. The therapist helps the patient find new ways of thinking by directing attention to both the 'wrong' and 'right' assumptions they make about themselves and others.

What is the difference between Psychotherapy and CBT?

An individual needs to have a healthy mental status for his/ her total well being. Normally we consider the physical well being more important than mental well but it is not right.

We have to pay equal attention to mental health also. Nowadays, in the run of mill life, people are getting mentally ill. Its symptoms include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • OCD
  • Depression
  • Cognitive disorders

To cure these kinds o problems people are recommended to have Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a kind of mental health treatment process. It is also known as Talk Therapy. Psychotherapy involves interactive sessions.

In these sessions, we talk to the therapist about our problems. It focuses on the history of the patient like how he normally behaves or used to behave on a particular thing.

CBT( Cognitive behavioural therapy) is a part of Psychotherapy that mainly aims at cognitive disorders like depression and anxiety. It is a time-limited therapy where you discuss with your therapist your negative thoughts, feelings and action.

It does not focus on the history of the patient. It is usually completed in 8-10 sessions.

Summary: Psychotherapy and CBT both are processes of healing mental disorders where Psychotherapy deals with every problem including the history of the patient so it is a time taking process. On the other hand, CBT mainly focuses on the patient's present condition so it takes a lesser time to come into effect.

Is Psychiatry considered Psychotherapy?

Psychiatry is a medicinal branch and it is based on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of emotional, mental and behavioural disorders. On the contrary, Psychotherapy is talk therapy.

Psychiatrists are professional medical doctors while psychotherapy can be conducted with individuals, groups, couples, families etc. Psychotherapists help people prevail over their problems including stress, troublesome habits as well as relationship problems.

The psychiatrist uses medical and pharmacological interventions while the Psychotherapist holds interactive sessions.

The psychiatrist also uses the method of Psychotherapy but with medical diagnoses and medication. Psychiatry may be considered Psychotherapy but with a different method of treatment.

Summary: Both Psychiatry and Psychotherapy aim at mental problems but both follow different pathways. The first step in psychiatry is the medical diagnosis of the patient while the first step in psychotherapy is holding interactive sessions with the patient.

Who would need psychotherapy?

Some people seek psychotherapy when they feel depressed, anxious or angry for a long time. Others may want help from a chronic illness that is interfering with their emotional or physical well-being. Still, others may even have short-term problems they need help navigating. Some of the common instances when one need to get treatment:

  • You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of sadness.
  • Your problems don't seem to get any better despite all your efforts and help from your family and friends.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate on your works, assignments or carry out other everyday activities.
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst or constantly on edge.
  • Your actions, such as drinking excessive alcohol, using drugs or being aggressive are harming you or others.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The mental health expert determines who does not qualify for the treatment. For earlier stages of mental illness, it is always advisable not to go straight away into any therapy but getting involved with friends and family.


What are the benefits of psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy and has helped a large number of people. Mental health is a condition which can happen to any person around and one out of five people are affected by this. But these conditions can be treated effectively as there is much cure taken out by there.

  • Helping with depression: Depression is the most common condition which comes under mental health. This comes under the chronic misery in quality of life. Depression causes sleeping problems, appetite problems, or comes with a prevailing feeling of guilt. The psychotherapy treatment helps the patient by giving emotional support. The therapist helps the depressed person to think in a different way by giving them potential support.
  • Helping with anxiety: Anxiety is a common condition of mental health which affects half of the population. Anxiety differs in every occasion and clinical anxiety is a chronic symptom. Psychotherapy helps people to bring back their compass back to life. They are also helped in overcoming their fears and can accept their emotions and can make progress in achieving their goals.
  • This helps in overcoming the pain of their past and help in developing strategies for the future.
  • The therapy also helps one to set their goals and to have a clear path to what the want to do in their life.
  • People who are going through therapy they tend to explore their moods and behaviours.
  • People can get a better understanding of things and their emotions while going to the doctor and can even get a fresh start in the perspective of life.
  • People with a mental disorder have difficulties in conveying the emotions thus the therapists help them to speak up their emotions.

Who can benefit from Psychotherapy?

Individuals suffering from mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, and cognitive disorders can be benefitted from Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy involves different techniques of treatment for different disorders.

Psychotherapy for depression and psychotherapy for anxiety includes CBT as it focuses on cognitive and behavioural therapy. People also choose Body Psychotherapy for relaxation.

Body Psychotherapy is a set of therapy including massage, aromatherapy, relaxation, breathing exercise etc. It provides relief and reduces tensions.

Summary: Psychotherapy is a boon for people struggling with mental illness. It provides counselling to people who are in need and it should be accessible to them.

What care is necessary after psychotherapy session?

A patient should visit the physician for periodic check-ups for any condition and the same applies to psychotherapy. They might have to meet with the doctor for a couple of weeks or a month after therapy ends just to report how they’re doing as a follow-up procedure. If all is well, one can wrap things up at that session.

What are the side effects of psychotherapy?

Usually, there is a very little or no risk of undergoing psychotherapy. But because it can dive into painful feelings and experiences, one may feel emotionally uncomfortable at times. However, any risk is minimized by working with a skilled therapist who can match the type and intensity of therapy with their needs. The common side effects are headaches, migraines, sleeplessness, etc. Research on side effects of psychotherapy has been limited for various reasons, yet they may be expected to occur in about 5% to 20% of patients.

Common problems include worsening of existing symptoms or developing new symptoms, conflicts in other relationships and excessive dependence on the therapist. Some methods or therapists may carry more risks than others and some client characteristics may make them more vulnerable. Side-effects from properly conducted therapy should be differentiated from harms caused by malpractice.

How long does it take to recover?

Depending on the severity of the mental ailment the recovery period varies. Psychotherapy is a continuous interaction with the expert. It should be considered more as a well-being session than treatment.

How long does psychotherapy take to work?

Psychotherapy may take a longer time to work. However, different disorders take different time limits. CBT is time-limited psychotherapy. It usually takes 8-10 once a week interactive sessions and it works mainly on the symptoms.

Some disorders like PTSD may take a time longer than that. Some disorders may be cured within a time limit while some take more time.

Some people also go for Self-Psychotherapy. Self psychotherapy is a way of examining one’s behaviour and action by the way of meditation and yoga. So it may take a longer time to identify the problem and cure that.

Summary: Time taken for psychotherapy to come into effect is not fixed. It is variable and depends upon disorders and ways of treatment.

Can psychotherapy make you worse?

Sometimes, psychotherapy does not work the way we want. It can also show some side effects like suicidality, stigmatization, the emergence of new symptoms, etc. The therapy can be harmful due to some reasons:

  • Improper assessment.
  • Not interacting properly with the therapist.
  • Consulting with a fake therapist.

To avoid these kinds of problems we need to consult a professional and experienced therapist and talk about our problems fluently. When we talk about psychotherapy cost, it is said that it is a luxury and everybody cannot afford it but it is not true.

In reality, it is very cost-effective. So for any kind of mental illness, we should step out and talk about that to avoid any kind of mishappening.

Summary: Psychotherapy can be harmful sometimes due to improper management but not always. All we need to do is to seek help from a therapist and be fluent in our problems.

How much does a psychotherapist charge per session in India?

The cost of one session depends on the severity of the ailment of the patient. The average price of the treatment in India ranges between INR 1,000 to INR 10,000 depending on the case and organization performing the therapy.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment are not permanent, but it instills confidence in the individual to fight for themselves and not bow down to the world. There have been cases where patients have again gone back to their old lifestyle after successfully completing this therapy.

Does psychotherapy really work?

The results of the treatment are not permanent, but it instils confidence in the individual to fight for themselves and not to bow down to the world. There have been cases where patients have again gone back to their old lifestyle after successfully completing this therapy.

What are the alternatives to psychotherapy treatment?

Some common alternatives of psychotherapy are Medication, Group therapy, Day treatment or partial hospital treatment, Specific therapies, such as cognitive-behaviour therapy and behaviour modification.

Key highlights

  • Safety: High
  • Effectiveness: Medium
  • Timeliness: Medium
  • Relative Risk: Low
  • Side Effects: Low
  • Recovery Time: High
  • Price Range: RS. 1000 - Rs. 10,000

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Written ByMs. Taral Parekh Post Graduate Diploma In Counselling Psychology,Masters of Counselling Psychology,CE in Cognitive Behavior TherapyPsychology
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