What does psychotherapy treat? When planning psychological therapy, we wonder how it works at all. In most cases, we get knowledge from movies and literature, but the reality can be completely different. However, many people are aware of what help they can get thanks to this professional form of support, as well as what to expect from meetings with a specialist. It turns out, therefore, that society needs knowledge in this area, and information and educational campaigns are very much needed.
Mental disorders are unfortunately becoming more and more common. Fortunately, seeking help is no longer a taboo topic, but it is recognized and socially accepted. This is very important because mental suffering can be effectively alleviated. Not only with the help of pharmacology, but also psychotherapeutic support. With what problems should you contact a specialist? What does individual psychotherapy treat?
What is the science of psychotherapy?
For many people, psychotherapy is a conversation that produces specific effects. Meanwhile, it is a scientifically proven method that, with the help of appropriate methods and tools, improves the quality of life of patients. A popular myth is the unscientific nature of psychotherapy, and thus attempts to discredit it. There is still ongoing research on it, which constantly updates the knowledge base and provides new content. Currently, the research is not aimed at confirming the effectiveness of the therapy, but at answering the question of which factors trigger the change.
What does psychotherapy treat?
It is very important to determine the factors that are responsible for treatment in couples, systemic, individual or other forms of support. This issue in Poland was addressed by the director of the Institute of Applied Psychology and the representative of the Ministry of Health at the WHO for Mental Health, Professor Czesław Czabała.
He outlined several healing factors in psychotherapy, including:
- release of suppressed emotions,
- accepting your past emotional experiences,
- freeing yourself from having to succumb to these emotions,
- distinguishing the feelings that current events evoke.
What is the importance of the above healing factors?
How do they apply in practice? As an example, we can use a patient who reports with symptoms of fear of authorities: boss, friends, senior colleagues. A therapeutic session allows you to release your emotions by talking about them. During the meeting, it may turn out that in addition to fear, the patient is accompanied by anger at the boss. During a therapeutic session, the patient’s knowledge of the range of emotions experienced can be expanded. He experiences both difficult and positive emotions, and their mixture is a source of fear. Further in the process of psychotherapy, acceptance of past emotional experiences may appear, which causes a feeling of relief and restores balance, transforming the narrative about one’s own life. The key here is to accept past experiences, such as regular fights in the family home. Therapy allows you to look at previous years of experience in a safe place, accept this state of affairs, and learn to distinguish current emotions from those from the past. This is how therapy conducted in this way has healing power and restores balance to patients.
What are the non-specific healing factors?
Another researcher, Bruce E. Wampold, presenting how therapy helps people, emphasizes the importance of the patient’s beliefs. The belief concerns the effectiveness of the selected form of therapy, as well as the form of cooperation with the psychotherapist (the so-called non-specific healing factors). In addition, he also emphasizes that any form of therapeutic treatment gives the patient explanations of the stresses they experience, making them adaptive. In short, it can mean that psychotherapy directs the patient to healthy actions. As a result, positive thoughts appear, building more valuable relationships, as well as adequate expression of emotions and knowledge about them. The patient also begins to slowly implement positive changes in his life.
What does psychotherapy help with?
Psychotherapy can be targeted to specific actions and outcomes. Therefore, it is believed that this method of influence helps in the treatment of certain disorders, including: anxiety, depression, neuroses, eating disorders, phobias. It turns out to be helpful in situations when the patient has emotional difficulties in certain life events: he loses motivation, experiences mourning, becomes addicted to psychoactive substances, is unable to break with a toxic relationship, feels helpless. In addition, psychotherapy effectively helps in dealing with psychosomatic symptoms. It also helps in the treatment of diseases that have a completely different origin, e.g. allergies, asthma, atopic dermatitis, migraines or cardiovascular diseases. Psychotherapy is also conducted in oncology wards, because it changes the attitude towards treatment and supports the effects of pharmacology and other medical interventions. To sum up, psychotherapy is a system of complex activities aimed at improving the mental condition of the patient as well as his comfort and well-being.a