What Is Therapy?

Therapy is a treatment used to relieve or heal a mental or physical disorder. When used in a mental context, therapy is often described as psychotherapy and involves meeting with a counsellor or therapist to help resolve any psychological issues a person is facing. Therapy helps to develop a relationship between patient and therapist to help the patient make positive changes in their life.

History of Therapy

Therapy dates to ancient Greece, where milieu therapy was first documented. This type of therapy took people out of their regular environments and placed them in a restful, simpler environment.

In the Middle Ages, therapy was typically taken over by clergy members. This saw another aspect of milieu therapy, where patients affected by mental disorders were taken out of their everyday environments to heal in places such as monasteries and abbeys.

Asylums began to appear in the 1700s, with the number of mental hospitals reaching its peak around 1950. The advent of modern medicine spurred major changes in therapeutic treatment. Antidepressants and antipsychotic medications helped control behaviours, leading to several alterations in therapeutic practice.

Today, there are several types of therapy that can be treated in both an inpatient or outpatient facility. Therapy of some kind is available almost everywhere throughout the world.

Types of Therapy

There are several different types of therapy. Talk therapy is a term used to describe a therapy where a patient talks to a licensed therapist or counsellor. Different types of talk therapy can include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Counselling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Mindfulness-based therapies


What Is Involved in Therapy?

There are several key details associated with various types of therapy. These include:

  • Meeting with a therapist or counsellor for a period of 4-6 weeks or longer
  • Talking on a private level or in a group setting
  • Therapy sessions typically last one hour and meet once to several times a week depending on the needs of the patient
  • Everything that is said in therapy is usually confidential, except at times where the safety of the patient or another person is at risk

The Benefits of Therapy

There are numerous benefits associated with different types of therapy. The main goal of therapy is typically to help a person overcome a disorder. Therapy can help with anger, anxiety, self-esteem issues, depression, addiction, substance abuse, grief, relationship problems, and more.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely used types of therapy found throughout the world. CBT has shown to help benefit those who suffer from panic attack, anxiety, and depression. It is also widely used in addiction recovery treatment. CBT is commonly used to help people overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and certain eating disorders such as bulimia.

Psychotherapy is something that is used to help patients understand more about themselves, heal relationship issues, and live a fulfilling life. Psychotherapy is beneficial to those who experience recurring problems, allowing them to uncover the reasons behind them so they may heal for good.

Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy

How long does therapy last?

Therapy typically lasts for six weeks. Some people however, may need longer to overcome their problems. Therapy can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the needs of the patient.

What is the goal of therapy?

Therapy is used to help a person manage their feelings, behaviours, and recurring patterns. It is also used to increase self-awareness, improve self-esteem, and assist people in feeling the depth of experience.

What is the difference between therapy and counselling?

Counselling and therapy are similar, however there are identified differences between the two. Counselling typically focuses on specific problems and the wellbeing of the patient. Therapy is more focused on the restructure of the personality and the development of understanding.

External Links

What is Therapy?, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia

Stress, anxiety and depression, NHS Choices

History of Therapy, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Southern Arkansas University – Magnolia

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