Psychotherapy is a treatment based on discussion and relationship between two or more people (a mental health professional, a patient with or without family members).
The mental health professional may be a psychologist or a psychiatric doctor with additional training in psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy consists in the use of a set of psychological means (exchange, analysis, exercises, situation setting, emotional experience…) with the aim of change(s).
This/these change(s) can be in particular:
- an improvement of the symptoms and of the way of looking at these symptoms;
- the implementation of new behaviours (more choice, flexibility, agreement with one’s values);
- a better regulation of one’s emotions;
- a more refined knowledge of oneself (of one’s limits and possibilities, of one’s functioning);
- an evolution in one’s relationship to oneself and to others (families, friends, colleagues);
- the acquisition of greater self-esteem;
- an improvement in one’s quality of life (well-being or better-being, inner freedom, ability to be happy)…
In short, psychotherapy aims to enable a person to feel more in control of their life and in tune with their deepest wishes.
Psychotherapy can be used as a sole treatment or in conjunction with medication. It can be initiated on the recommendation of a health professional, a medical team or be a personal and spontaneous process.
There are many types of psychotherapy:
- Individual: psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy, behavioural and cognitive therapies (\“CBT\”, of which Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, and Linehan’s Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, or DBT), cognitive schema therapy, interpersonal therapy, humanistic/existentialist therapies (person-centred therapy)…
- In the family: systemic/strategic family therapies, psychoanalytically/psychodynamically oriented family therapies…
The choice of a psychotherapy can be made according to the expectations, the difficulties encountered, the agreement of the personality of the person consulting with that of the professional… But it can also depend on completely random factors (meeting, recommendation, etc.)!