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Techniques of Psychotherapy

Abstract: How is psychotherapy done? Are there different techniques?

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Techniques of Psychotherapy

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Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece. Eva Gerasi, postgraduate student in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 30 Jul 2008.

How is psychotherapy done? Are there different techniques?


The exact techniques employed vary with the training of the therapist and the requirements of the patient. Some of the commoner forms of psychotherapy include: supportive psychotherapy concentrating on exploring the nature of problems, encouragement and advice in the context of some degree of understanding of the patient's difficulties; directive counseling, where specific strategies can be considered to handling problems; interpretive or psychodynamic psychotherapy, where the verbal material presented by the patient is interpreted by the therapist in order to shed light on the persistent problems the patient is encountering, awareness of which is usually outside the conscious appreciation of the patient; and cognitive behavioural psychotherapy More , where the behaviour and thoughts of the patient are analysed with a view to altering them in order to seek better ways of dealing with common situations.

Some psychotherapies can be delivered in an individual one-to-one setting and others in small groups, including couples, as in marital therapies and families in family therapy.

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