Psychotherapy methods

Psychotherapy is one of the methods used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Along with more long-term goals where the aim is for the patient to understand the problem he is experiencing and establish the causes of the undesired behaviour, thoughts and emotions, there are also short-term goals like providing psycho-training and a supportive approach. Whatever name is given to the method, psychotherapy consists of a varying combination of the components “clarification” and “supportiveness”.

In dynamic psychotherapy which progressed from the psychoanalytical concept, it is assumed that the person’s emotions, thoughts and behaviour are related to his past history (particularly early childhood), and the aim is to assist the patient to understand his present attitude and behaviour and to develop an insight into these. Initially this psychotherapy method uses the technique of association. The therapist takes on a more passive role, and from time to time plays a more directing role to encourage the person himself to arrive at explanations and to ‘work’ on the materials in his story.

The starting point for cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy techniques is the argument that human behaviour is accompanied by certain thoughts and emotions, and that the experience of the person under particular circumstances is the result of automatic thoughts and attitudes. Therefore, in order to change the thoughts that are no longer functional, the person is educated with regards to his disorder, and efforts are made to question and disprove the unhealthy automatic thoughts that accompany the behaviour. By giving certain behavioural tasks to the person it is attempted to desensitize the person against stimulus and change his pattern of behaviour.

Apart from these two main types of psychotherapy there are also other less frequently used treatment methods like supportive, existentialist and interpersonal psychotherapy.