In talk therapy, a psychologist will discuss previous traumas and psychiatric conditions with a person in order to treat, evaluate, and diagnose various mental health conditions. The psychologist will help people resolve and process issues verbally. They may also help individuals forge a path forward through disorders that have interfered with daily activities.
Keep reading to learn more about talk therapy, including how it works, the various conditions it may benefit, and how a person could choose a type of therapy that may work best for them.
What is talk therapy?
Talk therapy involves a person enrolling in psychotherapy sessions with a licensed psychologist, psychiatric nurse, counselor, social worker, or psychiatrist. All of these individuals are qualified to faciliate therapy and should apply scientifically validated procedures to improve the mental health and well-being of their clients, according to the American Psychological Assocation (APA).
In a talk therapy session, a counselor may help a person do the following:
- gain a better understanding of their emotions
- identify roadblocks and obstacles to optimal mental health
- overcome anxiety and insecurities
- cope with stress
- process previous traumatic experiences
- work on breaking unhealthy habits
- discuss possible lifestyle changes
- pinpoint triggers
At its core, talk therapy, or psychotherapy, allows a person to discuss their concerns, goals, and challenges with a person who holds no biases and no judgments. After a series of sessions, talk therapy should help a person target, and eventually change, patterns of thought and behavior that may be a hindrance to a healthy state of mind. These sessions will always be strictly confidential.
How does talk therapy work?
Generally speaking, when a person enrolls in talk therapy, the therapist, or other healthcare professional leading the sessions, will ask several questions during an initial appointment. This is for the therapist to gain a comprehensive understanding of the person’s history and background, so they can decide on the best course of treatment. Questions at this stage tend to be around the following:
- family history of mental health conditions
- past traumas
- how the patient is coping with their issues in daily life
- what they hope to achieve through talk therapy
Once they have this information, a therapist will proceed with treatment.
Talk therapy should be an open-ended dialogue about any issues or concerns a person is facing. A psychotherapist may take notes while a person shares information about their family life, relationships, childhood experiences, and symptoms or history of a condition, to name a few examples.
There is no limit on the number of talk therapy sessions a person might attend to gain a deeper understanding of their condition, habits, or challenges. A therapist may recommend regular sessions until they and the person have come up with an action plan for treatment or until the person has made lifestyle improvements.
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