At H3, we have a comprehensive team of over 20 psychotherapy providers awaiting to assist you on your journey to personal growth. Each therapist uses their own modality of treatment to ensure that it’s best suited for each client. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, and at H3, we’re dedicated to giving you the best quality of treatment there is by individualizing sessions for you based on your needs and goals.

What is Psychotherapy and How Does It Work?

Psychotherapy can help individuals experiencing a wide array of mental health conditions and emotional challenges. Psychotherapy can help not only alleviate symptoms, but also, certain types of psychotherapies can help identify the psychological root causes of one’s condition so a person can function better and have enhanced emotional well-being and healing.

Therapy may be conducted in an individual, family, couple, or group setting, and can help both children and adults. Sessions typically take place weekly, biweekly, or monthly and last 53 to 60 minutes. Psychotherapy can be short-term (a few weeks to months), dealing with more immediate challenges, or long-term (months to years), dealing with longstanding and complex issues. The goals of treatment and duration and frequency of treatment are discussed by the client and therapist together.

Conditions that can be helped by psychotherapy include coping with stressful life events, the impact of trauma, medical illness or loss such as the death of a loved one; and specific mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. There are several different types of psychotherapy and some types may work better with certain clinical situations. Psychotherapy may be used in combination with medication or other therapies.

Elements of psychotherapy can include the following:

  • Help a person become aware of automatic ways of thinking that are inaccurate or harmful (for example, having a low opinion of their abilities) and then question those thoughts, understand how the thoughts affect their emotions and behavior, and change self-defeating behavior patterns. This approach is known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Identify ways to cope with stress and develop problem-solving strategies.
  • Examine interactions with others and teach social and communication skills.
  • Apply mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Use exposure therapy (a type of CBT) for anxiety disorders, in which a person spends brief periods in a supportive environment learning to tolerate the distress caused by certain items, ideas, or imagined scenes. This is continued until, over time, the fear associated with those things goes down.
  • Track emotions and behaviors to raise awareness of their impact on each other.
  • Use supportive counseling to explore troubling issues and receive emotional support.
  • Create a safety plan to help with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, recognize warning signs, and use coping strategies, such as contacting friends, family, or emergency personnel.

Types of Psychotherapies

There are many types of psychotherapy that H3's therapists practice in their sessions. Here are just a few of them:

  • Behavior therapy- This approach focuses on learning's role in developing both normal and abnormal behaviors.
         a. Ivan Pavlov made important contributions to behavior therapy by discovering classical conditioning, or associative learning. Pavlov's famous dogs, for example, began drooling when they heard their dinner bell, because they associated the sound with food."
         b. "Desensitizing" is classical conditioning in action: A therapist might help a client with a phobia through repeated exposure to whatever it is that causes anxiety.
         c. Another important thinker was E.L. Thorndike, who discovered operant conditioning. This type of learning relies on rewards and punishments to shape people's behavior.
         d. Several variations have developed since behavior therapy's emergence in the 1950s. One variation is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on both thoughts and behaviors.
  • Cognitive therapy- Cognitive therapy emphasizes what people think rather than what they do.
         a. Cognitive therapists believe that it's dysfunctional thinking that leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviors. By changing their thoughts, people can change how they feel and what they do.
         b. Major figures in cognitive therapy include Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people identify and change thinking and behavior patterns that are unhealthy or ineffective, replacing them with more accurate thoughts and functional behaviors. It can help a person focus better on current problems and how to solve them. It often involves practicing new skills in the “real world.” CBT can be helpful in treating a variety of disorders, including depression, anxiety, trauma related disorders, and eating disorders. For example, CBT can help a person with depression recognize and change unhelpful or maladaptive thought patterns or behaviors that are contributing to the depression.
  • Creative arts therapy – use of art, dance, drama, music and poetry therapies.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy is a specific type of CBT that helps more effectively regulate emotions. It is often used to treat people with chronic suicidal thoughts and people with borderline personality disorder, eating disorders and PTSD. It teaches new skills to help people take personal responsibility to change unhealthy or disruptive behavior. It involves both individual and group therapy.
  • Humanistic therapy- This approach emphasizes people's capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential. Concern and respect for others are also important themes.
         a. Humanistic philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Buber and Søren Kierkegaard influenced this type of therapy.
         b. Three types of humanistic therapy are especially influential. Client-centered therapy rejects the idea of therapists as authorities on their clients' inner experiences. Instead, therapists help clients change by emphasizing their concern, care and interest.
         c. Gestalt therapy emphasizes what it calls "organismic holism," the importance of being aware of the here and now and accepting responsibility for yourself.
         d. Existential therapy focuses on free will, self-determination and the search for meaning.
  • Integrative or holistic therapy- Many therapists don't tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each client's needs.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a short-term form of treatment. It helps patients understand underlying interpersonal issues that are troublesome, like unresolved grief, changes in social or work roles, conflicts with significant others, and problems relating to others. It can help people learn healthy ways to express emotions and ways to improve communication and how they relate to others. It is most often used to treat depression.
  • Play therapy – to help children identify and talk about their emotions and feelings.
  • Psychodynamic therapy is based on the idea that behavior and mental well-being are rooted in childhood and past experiences and involves bringing to conscious awareness feelings that might be unconscious (outside a person's awareness). A person works with the therapist to improve self-awareness and to change deep-seated patterns so that they can more fully take charge of their life.
  • Sex therapy is a type of talk therapy that’s designed to help individuals and couples address medical, psychological, personal, or interpersonal factors impacting sexual satisfaction. The goal of sex therapy is to help people move past physical and emotional challenges to have a satisfying relationship and pleasurable sex life.
  • Supportive therapy uses guidance and encouragement to help patients develop their own resources. It helps build self-esteem, reduce anxiety, strengthen coping mechanisms, and improve social and community functioning. Supportive psychotherapy helps patients deal with issues related to their mental health conditions which in turn affect the rest of their lives.
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences by using bilateral stimulation to connect the logic side and the feeling side of the brain.

All information detailed was gathered from the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, and American Psychiatric Association.

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