What is talk therapy? – Forbes Health


Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, involves a person meeting with a therapist in a confidential environment to talk about their feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and anything that might be causing them emotional distress. .

“Once these challenges are highlighted through open conversation, a therapist can help their patient understand how these issues may negatively affect their daily life and work to develop effective strategies to reduce the effect of symptoms,” says Jennifer Dragonette, Psy.D, clinical services instructor and licensed psychologist at Newport Healthcare, a mental health treatment program with treatment centers in California, New York and Connecticut.

A typical talk therapy session lasts 30 minutes to an hour and consists of the client talking a lot and the therapist listening a lot. The therapist looks for patterns in the client’s behavior and helps them identify thoughts and situations they find distressing, according to Laurie Singer, MS, board-certified behavior analyst and family and child therapist at Laurie Singer Behavioral Services, Inc. in Camarillo, California. “Individuals talk about their fears, their desires and their dreams. The therapy process allows people to explore present and past relationships with others.

Talk therapy vs psychiatry: what’s the difference?

While talk therapy focuses on a client talking about and resolving their issues, psychiatry often focuses more on the process of using medications to treat various mental health issues. “Some psychiatrists use talk therapy as part of their practice, but usually not to the same extent as a psychologist or therapist,” says Dr. Dragonette.

Because there’s less emphasis on talk therapy in psychiatry sessions, appointments can be shorter, says Jenn Hardy, Ph.D, a licensed psychologist in private practice in Maryville, Tennessee. “The goal during psychiatric appointments is to assess how well your medications are helping to relieve your symptoms and manage side effects.”

Often talk therapy and medication are used together to treat a mental health issue. A talk therapy provider will refer a client to a psychiatrist and work collaboratively with them since psychologists and therapists cannot prescribe medication, Dr. Singer explains.

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