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Mental Health and Psychotherapy

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Approaches to Therapy continued...

Different approaches to therapy include:

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is based on the assumption that a person is having emotional problems because of unresolved, generally unconscious conflicts, often stemming from childhood. The goal of this type of therapy is for the patient to understand and cope better with these feelings by talking about the experiences. Psychodynamic therapy is administered over a period of at least several months, although it can last longer, even years.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy focuses on the behaviors and interactions a patient has with family and friends. The primary goal of this therapy is to improve communication skills and increase self-esteem during a short period of time. It usually lasts three to four months and works well for depression caused by mourning, relationship conflicts, major life events, and social isolation.

Psychodynamic and interpersonal therapies help patients resolve mental illness caused by:

  • Loss (grief)
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Role transitions (such as becoming a mother, or a caregiver)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people with mental illness to identify and change inaccurate perceptions that they may have of themselves and the world around them. The therapist helps the patient establish new ways of thinking by directing attention to both the "wrong" and "right" assumptions they make about themselves and others.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is recommended for patients:

  • Who think and behave in ways that trigger and perpetuate mental illness.
  • Who suffer from depression and/or anxiety disorders as the only treatment or, depending on the severity, in addition to treatment with antidepressant medication.
  • Who refuse or are unable to take antidepressant medication.
  • Of all ages who have mental illness that causes suffering, disability, or interpersonal problems.

Therapy Tips

Therapy works best when you attend all scheduled appointments. The effectiveness of therapy depends on your active participation. It requires time, effort, and regularity.

As you begin therapy, establish some goals with your therapist. Then spend time periodically reviewing your progress with your therapist. If you don't like the therapist's approach or if you don't think the therapist is helping you, talk to him or her about it and seek a second opinion if both agree, but don't discontinue therapy abruptly.

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