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Overview of Different Kinds of Psychotherapeutic Treatment Methods

Abstract: Describes and compares different psychotherapeutic methods, such as psychoanalysis, psychodynamic methods, gestalt methods, cognitive methods, behavioural methods, etc.

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Overview of Different Kinds of Psychotherapeutic Treatment Methods

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Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 28 Aug 2009.

Psychotherapy is treatment of psychic problems through talking to a psychotherapist, a person who has special education for giving help in this way.

Cognitive therapy: The patient learns to think effectively e.g. in the case of eating disorders "I am normal and it is the photographer's models who are abnormally slim" instead of: "the photographer's models are perfect and I want to look like them. I must reduce my weight". More.

Behavioural therapy: The patient gets help from somebody, or from a computer, in order to understand and learn how to eat normally. The patient also gets tips about other things which can be done instead of eating. More.

Psychodynamic therapy: This therapeutic method does not put the symptoms in focus. Instead, the inner world of emotional conflicts and deeply imprinted memories of relations are assumed to be causes of the symptoms, and this may not be consciously understood by the patient. The therapist also focuses on what happens in the relation therapist-patient, and helps to understand what happens as a basis of this inner world. More.

For some kinds of problems, such as eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias, there is little support for the efficiency of psychodynamic therapy. There is also experience that psychodynamic therapy, by leaving the concrete aspects of the problems, can in some cases cause problems for the patient to relate the explanatory models in therapy with their own reality.

Gestalt therapy: The main point of this method is for patients to learn to identify their real needs and feelings. More.

Family therapy: The whole family of a person with mental disorders often needs help in learning how to manage the problem. More.

Group therapy: Patients discuss their problems in a group and the realization that others have similar needs may make it easier to understand their own problems. Members of the group help each other. More.

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