What is Psychotherapy and How Does it Work?

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Research

You may have heard of it, but what is psychotherapy and how does it work?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a staggering 52.9 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness. That’s almost one in every five people.

Many of whom could potentially benefit from psychotherapy. So, what is this therapy that so many people find helpful?

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, also called psychological therapy, is a type of talk therapy. It helps treat mental illness by talking about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with a trained therapist. This usually involves verbal communication to help the patient overcome their challenges and improve their mental state. Through this interaction, the therapist will help the patient understand their thoughts and feelings better to make positive changes in their life.

There are many different types of psychotherapy, but they all share the common goal of helping improve mental health.

Some of the most common types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Focuses on changing negative thinking patterns to improve mood and behavior.

Humanistic Therapy

Emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and personal growth. 

Interpersonal Therapy

Helps patients improve communication and relationships with others.

Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for a wide variety of mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. It can also be helpful for people who are struggling with major life changes, such as bereavement or divorce.

What is Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy?

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is a type of treatment that uses psychedelic medicines, such as psilocybin or other entheogens, in combination with traditional talk therapy. This approach is relatively new, but there is promising research to suggest that it can be an effective treatment for mental illness.

In one small study, for example, participants who underwent psilocybin-assisted therapy showed significant improvements in depressive symptoms and quality of life measures six months after treatment.

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is also showing promise for helping reduce suicidal ideation, addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and improve end-of-life processing.

These are only a few examples of how psychedelics have been shown to help improve mental health. Because there is so much positive scientific evidence to support these claims, lawmakers around the United States are investigating the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and other natural psychedelic medicines.

Utah has already established the Mental Illness Psychotherapy Drug Task Force.

A first of its kind in Utah, the mental illness task force is studying different psychotherapy drugs.

The group’s primary purpose is to address mental illness in Utah by reviewing current scientific research on alternative medicines for mental health.

While more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, the preliminary evidence suggests it could be a promising treatment option for people suffering from mental illness. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Many professionals can provide support and guidance on the road to improved mental health.