Sadness, anxiety, relationship problems, personal conflicts, professional development, self-knowledge… There are many reasons for the search for the psychotherapeutic process. But, does psychotherapy really help in achieving emotional well-being and quality of life? To answer this and other questions, we invited psychologist Rebeka Nascimento do Santos (CRP 05/58097). Check your answers in the following article!
what is psychotherapy
Despite the false belief that therapy can be replaced by friends or hobbies, the concept within psychology goes even further. According to psychologist Rebeka, “psychotherapy is the therapeutic follow-up done by a professional with a degree in psychology who seeks to promote emotional well-being and quality of life through dialogue and therapeutic techniques that address emotional, cognitive and behavioral issues.”
From the therapist, the environment, the theoretical techniques used and the professional ethics involved in the process, everything influences the patient’s evolution. Rebeka also explains that “psychotherapeutic follow-up can be individual, family or group, and covers all age groups.” In addition, “it is through the bond established between the psychologist and the patient that recurrent demands such as social demands, human development, career planning, grief, psychological pathologies such as depression and anxiety, eating disorders, among other things are dealt with”, account to professional.
6 Incredible Benefits Promoted by Psychotherapy
The benefits brought about by the therapeutic process are countless, and each person within their individuality will enjoy them differently. However, psychologist Rebeka told us some of the main advantages. Check it out below:
- Self knowledge: even living with yourself 24 hours a day, every day of your life, some things can go unnoticed. But, according to Rebeka, “it is through dialogue about experiences and emotions, and important reflections about them, that psychotherapy helps individuals to know themselves in a deeper and more complete way”.
- Preparation of conflicts: Within each person’s personal journey there are unresolved conflicts and traumas that generate discomfort and emotional discomfort, which can intensify negative feelings. “By talking openly about conflicts, within a space without judgment or criticism, the patient can elaborate and understand them, reducing psychological distress and developing emotional resilience”, explains the psychologist.
- Development of social skills: not everyone is outgoing or easy to interact with other people, but sometimes this can be a problem. “We know that we have to deal with other people on a daily basis, get in touch with them, and for people with an introverted personality this can be a problem, affecting performance at school or work, for example. Therapy in this sense will help to achieve personal security and social skills, in order to control the suffering caused by stressful situations”, says Rebeka.
- Strengthening self-esteem: According to the therapist, “the reflections raised within the therapeutic process help in self-knowledge as mentioned above, and consequently in the maturation of self-love, elaborating personal conflicts and strengthening self-esteem”.
- Control of emotions and behaviors: bursts of crying, tantrums, anxiety attacks, all of this generates discomfort and discomfort, both for those who feel and for those around them. The psychology professional explains that “therapy can also act on issues of self-control through the development of self-knowledge, elucidating the causes of the intensification of these emotions and/or behaviors”.
- Development of interpersonal relationships: “whether in family, love, professional or friendship relationships, we are constantly connected to other people in different degrees of intimacy. However, relating to other people will always cause conflicts, and psychotherapy will help to understand and resolve these conflicts and also to respect and recognize oneself and the other”, explains the specialist.
Did you already know about these benefits? Of course there are many others, but it’s amazing to see how the human mind has a gigantic capacity for emotional development, don’t you think?
Types of psychotherapy: techniques and effectiveness
Psychological follow-up uses several techniques and theories, differentiating between psychotherapeutic approaches, and psychologist Rebeka told us a little about the main ones. See below:
1. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy
Developed by Sigmundo Freud, this theoretical approach concerns the investigation of the human psyche and its functioning, through the free association of the patient and therapeutic listening. According to psychologist Rebeka, this process “seeks to understand the unconscious contents of each individual”.
Sessions usually last 50 minutes, can be held with adults, adolescents and children, and can take place more than once a week, depending on the patient and therapist. In addition, an important feature of psychoanalysis is the presence of a couch in the therapeutic setting, which at certain moments in the process can help in the patient’s free association.
2. Behavioral-analytic psychotherapy
Based on the radical behaviorism postulated by Skinner, “this approach seeks to elaborate emotional conflicts through the investigation of the relationship between behavior and environment, considering the positive and negative reinforcers that can lead an individual to act in a certain way”, explains the expert .
The meetings usually take place once a week, lasting an average of 50 minutes, and can be held with adults, teenagers and children. And despite not having a predetermined number of encounters, it is usually less durable than psychoanalytic psychotherapy, for example.
3. Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy
This theoretical approach is one of the most recent and “combines behavioral understanding with an analysis of the mental processes that make each individual act in a certain way”, says the psychologist. The technique produces relevant reflections on actions, emotions and thoughts, which consequently generate elucidations on how to transform them.
As in behavior-analytic therapy, sessions take place once a week, lasting an average of 50 minutes, regardless of age, and the process is also usually less durable than the psychoanalytic process.
Developed by Jacob Levy Moreno, psychodrama is performed in a group. The psychologist explains that the technique “searches, through an improvised dramatization, to carry out an analysis of the human psyche and the understanding of the maturing of affective bonds”. This approach helps in interpersonal relationships, self-confidence and the development of spontaneity in individuals.
The psychodramatic process can occur weekly, with an average duration of 50 minutes, always in groups and without distinction of age group.
5. Play therapy
According to the psychologist, “play therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to help children in their emotional development, allowing them to express their feelings, emotions and thoughts, through a set of playful techniques and games”.
The play therapy sessions are aimed only at children, and take place weekly, always at the same time, with an average duration of 50 minutes, depending on the child and the professional.
6. Gestalt therapy
Centered on the patient and their current experiences, “gestalt therapy aims to make the patient understand himself and his individuality, analyzing his behavior patterns and consequently transforming them”, says Rebeka. The technique helps the individual to appropriate himself, his characteristics and his two experiences.
The meetings of this approach also run weekly, having an average duration of 50 minutes, and the therapy can be individual, couple, family, and even group.
Despite the different theoretical lines, it is important to emphasize that “all therapeutic approaches are equally effective. The patient must be instructed and identify with the work of the chosen professional and commit to the process, in order to have a good therapeutic evolution”, explains the specialist.
What is a psychotherapy session like? Does it change according to the theoretical approach?
When you think about psychotherapy, what comes to your mind? Most people have a predetermined view of what a therapy session looks like. But does it have significant differences from one professional to another? According to Rebeka, yes! The psychologist explains that “there are differences in the structure of psychotherapy sessions, according to the applied approach. But the main tool is the therapeutic bond built between the psychologist and the patient, the dialogue free of judgments, welcoming, professional ethics and empathy that must always be present in the therapeutic setting”.
In addition, “the process is generally carried out weekly sessions, lasting 50 minutes and without a predetermined number of meetings. However, this can also vary according to each professional, clinic or health plan”, reveals the psychologist.
Currently, there is still the possibility of conducting online sessions, which take place basically similar to face-to-face sessions. The meetings, however, take place through video or voice calls, through platforms or applications that provide this service.
When should I have psychotherapy?
There is a predetermined view of psychotherapy only as a treatment for disorders or causes of psychological distress, in addition to prejudice in relation to psychological support. However, psychologist Rebeka clarifies: “any individual at any time in life can seek psychological support. Usually this demand arises in the face of emotional conflicts, behavioral issues, when there are obvious symptoms, in situations of grief, adaptation to change, etc., but psychotherapy is not only effective in treatment, but also in preventing mental health and quality of life” .
In addition, “psychotherapy is an intense and authentic process that benefits everyone, regardless of age or demand”, says the psychologist, and emphasizes “look for a psychology professional and invest in your mental health”.
Seeking the resolution of personal conflicts and the reduction of psychological suffering is also seeking the best version of oneself and having quality of life. And if you want to know more about this topic, check out these tips to take care of your mental health!