Q: What Does a Psychotherapist Do?

A psychotherapist is a certified professional that helps those who suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, debilitating feelings and other emotional and psychological conditions. These professionals study for many years under intensive training to become knowledgeable in practicing psychotherapy. What exactly is psychotherapy? 

Psychotherapy is a practice where psychological problems are treated with various psychotherapeutic techniques with a trained and licensed professional. Although there are various psychotherapeutic techniques, these are four common therapy structures one might experience when working with a psychotherapist: 

Individual Therapy

The purpose of individual treatment is to create an environment where an individual can openly explore their emotions and inner thoughts in a safe space. A psychotherapist will prompt you to think in different ways, explore what is troubling you, and guide you towards success in resolving those issues. 

Group Therapy

Group counseling focuses on bringing together individuals with similar experiences. A psychotherapist will facilitate the exploration of interpersonal dynamics in an experiential way. A therapist can leverage this therapy structure to create a sense of community within the clients. 

Couples Therapy

This form of therapy focuses on married couples or established partners. The responsibilities of a psychotherapist in this therapy structure is to act as a mediator between the two persons. The therapist’s job is not to take sides, but rather resolve problems in the relationship, enhance levels of intimacy, and help create better ways of connecting. The therapist will help foster a strong communication channel between the two parties to help build a level of understanding that can be used to re-establish a strong relationship. 

Family Therapy

Every family is unique and can present its own set of challenges. A psychotherapist can act as an “outside” voice and can provide guidance and commentary from an unbiased standpoint. Many families may not communicate as well as they would with a trained professional. Doing so helps family members have more constructive and healthier communication.

Now that we’ve covered different therapy structures, we can take a look at different types of therapies:

Behavioral Therapy

Therapists can help clients understand how changes in their behavior impact how they feel in certain situations. This type of therapy is particularly beneficial to people whose emotional distress comes from their behavior. 

Cognitive Therapy

The core foundation of this therapy centers around the idea that what we think shapes how we feel and how we act. A psychotherapist will work with a client to understand their current thoughts and how they impact their feelings. This will help the therapist identify what thoughts are considered problematic and need to be adjusted to change the client’s outlook on life. 

Interpersonal Therapy

This therapy involves understanding how interpersonal relationships impact our own thoughts of ourselves and our life. The therapist will teach the client how to express their feelings and emotions in a positive, impactful manner, thereby increasing the chances of yielding a positive response from the recipient. 

Dynamic Psychotherapy

Also known as insight-oriented therapy, this type of therapy focuses on understanding the deep-rooted cause of one’s behaviors and actions. The therapist will help the client understand how their upbringing and past can impact their current behaviors and problems. The goals are to increase self-awareness, help the client pinpoint the source of emotional distress, and work towards moving past those emotional distresses. 

What does a psychotherapist do once a session is over? Follow up, of course! It takes years of experience to master psychotherapeutic techniques, but ultimately, it is up to the client to decide if the approach used is suitable for them. If not, speak with your psychotherapist about alternative therapies. 

Dr. Steven Farmer is a licensed psychotherapist who has years of experience in a wide array of psychotherapeutic techniques. His ability to use and combine a wide-range of therapeutic practices gives him the unique ability to craft sessions that are customized to meet the needs of each and every client. 

To learn more about Dr. Farmer or schedule a consultation, please email info@drstevenfarmer.com.