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Psychotherapy Explained

Ms. Nida Ghani

3 min read

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The American Psychological Association defines Psychotherapy as:

“Any of a group of therapies, used to treat psychological disorders, that focus on changing faulty behaviors, thoughts, perceptions, and emotions that may be associated with specific disorders.”

However, psychotherapy is not only for those diagnosed with specific mental illnesses, but also for people looking to cope with situations and emotion that negatively impact their daily lives.

What Happens In Psychotherapy?

Since it entails the treatment of various mental conditions by talking to a trained professional instead of just medication, psychotherapy is also commonly referred to as ‘talk therapy’, and can be conducted by both a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

‘Patients’ are called ‘clients’ and consultations are in the form of well-structured, weekly 30 minute-1 hour sessions in pairs, groups, or one-on-one; lasting anywhere from a few weeks to years, depending upon a client’s requirements.

The Advantages

Psychotherapy isn’t just about venting out your feelings, which can be done with any close friend or family member, it provides a new take on crippling everyday problems and skills to cope with them under the supervision of a trained medical professional. Other benefits of psychotherapy include:

  1. A supportive conversational environment with someone who is neutral, objective and non-judgmental.
  2. A better understanding of your personality, goals and values.
  3. Potential to learn about relationship improvement skills.
  4. Fewer medical problems, increased work satisfaction and productivity.
  5. Emotional and behavioural improvement that induces positive mental and physical changes.

Who Is It For?

Psychotherapy is often recommended for people suffering from anxiety, personality, eating and mood disorders, as well as people with disorders like Schizophrenia, that cause detachment from reality, and overcoming addiction.

Other daily-life problems that can be overcome through psychotherapy include:

  • Relationship problems and insomnia.
  • Anger-management and passive-aggressive issues.
  • Major life changes such as a divorce, loss (death) of someone significant, or job loss.
  • Regular problems with concentration at work, school or daily life activities.
  • Coming to terms with an ongoing or terminal physical health issue such as thyroid imbalance, fibromyalgia, cancer or diabetes.
  • Prolonged feelings of helplessness and sadness despite efforts to overcome them personally.

The Types

Psychotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It is divided into various categories depending upon the symptoms or mental condition of a particular client:

1- Behavioral Therapy

For people whose emotional troubles stem from negative habits, activities and behavior, this particular therapy helps in overcoming their distress by helping them replace these negative habits, focusing instead on positive activities that improve their mood.

2- Cognitive Therapy

This particular therapy focuses on the effect of negative thoughts on a client’s daily life, and is treated by facing, challenging and developing different ways of looking at stressful situations that invoke such thoughts, along with ‘homework’ assignments, such as keeping diaries, or practice facing root causes of fear in people with phobias.

It is also used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy combines both thought and behavior for optimum treatment of conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

3- Interpersonal Therapy

This short-term treatment usually requires only 12-16 sessions for effective results and deals with improving the impact of a client’s mental condition on their ability to interact with their environment, and its effects on the people around them.

For instance, if you express stress through anger that can invoke negative feelings in a loved one, you would be a good candidate for this therapy. Habitual people-pleasers, easily-annoyed individuals and those with bad personal relationships benefit most from this sort of therapy.

4- Psycho-dynamic Therapy

It is based on the theories of Sigmund Freud, who states that repressed, negative past events, such as bad childhood experiences, affect an individual’s present behavior and habits, like dysfunctional relationships and substance abuse, and is often used for people who do not respond to other therapies. Psychoanalysis is an intensive version of PDT with three or more sessions per week for clients with serious conditions.

5- Group Therapy

People who have a particular issue in common, such as addiction or a particular phobia, consult with a psychotherapist in ‘support’ groups of 6-12. Treatment is in the form of group discussions, telling individual stories and receiving feedback from the therapist and group members, which helps provide a new perspective, and relevant coping mechanisms.


Generally, therapists can guide thier patients to sort and understand their feelings. But, mental wellness varies greatly from one patient to another. So, while psychotherapy might help some patients within the span of a few sessions, it might take others longer to get there.

But, if a client is genuinenly deciated to getting better by being vulnerable and open to treatment, the results can be life-enhancing in the long-term.

Psychotherapy can prove surprisinlgy effective and beneficial. If emotional or psychological issues are disrupting the daily-life balance of you or someone around you, do not hesitate to refer to a specialist.

You can also book an appointment with a top Psychologist or Psychiatrist in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your mental health issues.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Ms. Nida Ghani - Author Ms. Nida Ghani is a Psychologist practicing in Lahore. Over the last 3 years, she has been helping her patients deal with various mental and psychological conditions. You can get an appointment with her through oladoc.
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