What is Psychotherapy?

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Psychotherapy is an umbrella term used to describe the various talk therapies used to treat mental health issues.

During psychotherapy sessions, you will learn more about your condition, as well as exploring the interrelated nature of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Psychotherapy can help you to take more control of your life, allowing you to use healthy coping skills in response to challenging situations rather than relying on negative behaviors like substance abuse.

Today’s guide outlines the various types of psychotherapy, helping you to establish whether you would benefit from engaging with a psychotherapeutic approach to recovery.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is also known as:

  • Talk therapy
  • Psychosocial therapy
  • Therapy

Although the terms psychotherapy and counseling are often used interchangeably, counseling is typically intended for addressing specific problems and surface issues. Psychotherapy, on other hand, is usually intended for the treatment of deep-rooted psychological difficulties.

A psychotherapist might be any of the following:

  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychoanalyst
  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Licensed clinical counselor
  • Mental health counselor
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner

A psychotherapy practitioner will apply evidence-based procedures using one of many different approaches – more on these below – to help you work through your problems.

A collaborative treatment, psychotherapy is grounded on your relationship with a psychologist. This is known as a therapeutic alliance. As a form of talk therapy, psychotherapy is predicated on an open dialogue in a supportive environment. Working closely with a psychologist or practitioner, you will learn how to identify and change problematic patterns of thinking and behaving.

Some forms of psychotherapy last for a few sessions, while other forms continue for months, sometimes years. Most sessions last from 45 to 90 minutes. Sessions always follow a structured process and may be delivered either individually or in a group setting.

Psychotherapy can be effective for treating most mental health problems, such as:

  • Anxiety disorders like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), panic disorders, phobias, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
  • Mood disorders like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.
  • Addictions like alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder.
  • Compulsive gambling.
  • Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
  • Personality disorders like BPD (borderline personality disorder) and DPD (dependent personality disorder).
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders that trigger a detachment from reality.

Additionally, psychotherapy can help you to:

  • Resolve anxiety.
  • Defuse conflict.
  • Cope with life changes like bereavement, divorce, and job loss.
  • Manage unhealthy responses like passive-aggressive behavior.
  • Cope with ongoing and serious physical health problems like cancer, diabetes, or chronic pain conditions.
  • Recover from abuse.
  • Deal with sexual problems.
  • Improve sleep health.

Psychotherapy can be just as effective as medications like antidepressants in some cases. In other cases, a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacological interventions produces the most favorable outcomes.

What Are the Main Types of Psychotherapy?

There are many styles of psychotherapy and many psychotherapeutic approaches. The most common of these are:

  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)
  • DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Family therapy

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) helps you to understand and alter the way in which your thoughts and behaviors can influence how you feel and act.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help treat the following conditions:

  • Addictions to prescription medications, alcohol, or illicit narcotics.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Depressive disorders.
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
  • Self-esteem issues.
  • Eating disorders.

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) is a modified sub-type of CBT. The primary goals of DBT are to teach you how to:

  • Be more mindful (live in the moment).
  • Develop healthier methods of coping with stress.
  • Regulate your emotions.
  • Improve your interpersonal relationships.

Created to treat those with BPD, dialectical behavior therapy is now also used to treat a variety of mental health conditions like PTSD and substance use disorders.

Interpersonal therapy

Interpersonal therapy is an approach that helps you to learn more effective methods of communicating and expressing their feelings. This psychotherapeutic approach can be effective for helping you to maintain or build healthy, positive relationships by changing your approach to interpersonal problems.

Group therapy

Group therapy sessions involve a therapist and between 5 and 15 participants who share similar concerns like:

  • Alcoholism (alcohol use disorder)
  • Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain

Group sessions are scheduled once or twice weekly. Group therapy is sometimes used to supplement one-to-one psychotherapy.

You will benefit both from interacting with the therapist and with other group members, peers undergoing similar experiences.

Psychodynamic therapy

Psychodynamic therapy examines how your past experiences can influence your current thoughts and behaviors. Oftentimes, you may be unaware that these influences are even present.

Once these influences have been identified, a psychotherapist can help you to address them and to assume more control over your life.

Psychodynamic therapy is like a less intense form of psychoanalysis.

Family therapy

Family therapy offers all members of a family a safe space in which they can:

  • Express their opinions and views.
  • Explore challenging feelings and emotions.
  • Better understand each other.
  • Consolidate existing strengths.
  • Look for solutions to family problems.

Family therapy can be especially effective if problems stem from family dynamics, or when children or young adults are facing problems in life.

Relationship therapy is a related form of psychotherapy ideal for couples looking to address issues within their relationship.

Is Psychotherapy Effective?

Everyone will have a different experience of psychotherapy, an approach this is proven effective for treating a variety of mental health conditions.

The length of time it takes to see an improvement will also vary from person to person. While some people might notice benefits after between six and twelve sessions, others require months or even years of treatment before psychotherapy pays dividends.

Psychotherapy could help you in the following ways:

  • Enabling you to reframe situations, viewing them more positively.
  • Giving you a confidential outlet for exploring your problems.
  • Helping you to move towards new solutions to old problems.

By working closely with a psychotherapist, you could:

  • Identify sources of tension in your closest relationships.
  • Develop coping techniques and skills for facing life’s challenges.
  • Deal with specific problems.

To get the most benefit from psychotherapy, you need to have a desire to engage with therapy, and you also need to take an active part in your treatment.

Beyond this, the effectiveness of psychotherapy may also depend on the following factors:

  • Your reasons for seeking therapy
  • Experience level of the practitioner.
  • Therapeutic relationship.
  • External support that you can access outside of psychotherapy sessions.

Psychotherapy at Ohio Recovery Centers

If you require treatment for an alcohol use disorder, a substance use disorder, a mental health condition, or a co-occurring disorder, engage with evidence-based therapies at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers.

We offer the following programs for those looking to address a variety of issues through engaging with psychotherapy:

  • IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)
  • PHPs (partial hospitalization programs)
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

All treatment programs at Ohio Recovery Centers draw from an array of pharmacological and behavioral interventions. Psychotherapy, whether delivered in combination with MAT or in isolation, can help you to make positive changes to the way you think and behave. Kickstart your addiction recovery in Cincinnati by contacting admissions online or by calling (877) 679-2132.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn