October 2, 2011

Often patients ask me about the value of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can be incredibly useful in changing patterns of behavior and ways of experiencing relationships, work, and family. 

There are many different types of psychotherapy, and it is crucial that a patient understand the differences between approaches so that the patient's goals can best be met through an appropriate choice of therapy.  

For example, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on thought patterns that are distorted that condition one's feelings, moods and behaviors.  These thoughts are identified and challenged through exercises and techniques modeled in therapy.  Interpersonal therapy is a short term, interactive method that focuses on role transitions, for example, and is directed towards the present, offering specific practice with the therapist applied to current stressors. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is more open ended, long term and involves looking at the patient's past patterns, beliefs, relationships and ways of reacting to conflicts or anxieties. 

The relationship between the therapist and the patient is often a key part of change that occurs in this type of therapy.  There are many other styles of therapy as well. I encourage my patients to discuss their goals for therapy and to talk to their treaters about what therapy might fit best for them.