Psychotherapy for adults
Psychotherapy is both an evidence based treatment method used in psychiatry, along with pharmacological treatment, for various mental disorders and a scientific psychological technique of deepening of self-knowledge and facilitation of personal development.
There exist various theoretical frameworks and clinical modalities along which psychotherapy is applied. Among best studied one can distinguish psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, systemic and humanistic approaches, although various other psychotherapeutic paradigms are widely practiced.
The most fundamental gains achievable through the therapeutic process include:
- deepening of the understanding of one’s mode of psychological and interpersonal functioniang,
- release of suppressed emotions,
- increased awareness of one’s needs,
- deepening of the understanding and resolution of internal conflicts,
- acquiring access to new more adaptive reactions and behaviors, effective communication,
- building of satisfying relationships with others.
Psychotherapy can be applied in diverse settings, depending on the needs of the particular patient, i.e. through individual contact with psychotherapist (individual psychotherapy), through the participation in the group working with, usually, two therapists (group psychotherapy) and together with the spouse (couples/marital therapy).All the above-mentioned forms of psychotherapy are preceded by the consultation/diagnostic session, during which the specific needs of the patients are assessed and the decision regarding the form of therapy most appropriate in particular case is made.
Regardless of the theoretical standpoint, individual psychotherapy is a method of treatment and/or development facilitation based on the deep and close relationship with another person – the therapist. Crucial role in the process of psychotherapy is assigned to the deepening of self understanding on the part of the patient as well as to the so-called positive emotional experience which includes the sense of being listened to, understood and not judged in the environment of empathy, kindness and acceptance. Psychotherapy may take the form of crisis intervention or short- and long-term interventions, depending on whether the aim of the treatment involves coping with the presenting crises (e.g. death of the close person, disease, divorce etc.), symptomatic improvement (e.g. in social phobia), development of particular psychological skills (e.g. assertiveness) or thorough structural character change as in personality disorders. The role of the psychotherapist is to create a safe and friendly environment, within which he or she assists and helps the patient understand, experience and work through the obstacles on the patient’s route to the improved individual and interpersonal functioning and leading towards suffering reduction, which is usually the basic aim of psychotherapy.
Group therapy is a form of treatment through the contact with larger number (usually 8-12) of persons with the same or similar psychological difficulties. In the group setting a patient has a chance of observing his or her fixed, suffering causing modes of thinking, experiencing and behavior in the context of safe, controlled interpersonal setting as well as of sharing his or her thoughts and emotional experiences with other participants. This allows for the better understanding of one’s behavioral patterns together with the working out of new, more satisfactory modes of functioning. Therefore positive experiences and an increase or acquiring of confidence in one’s capacity for change constitute additional, crucial gains of the therapeutic process.
Couples (Marital) Psychotherapy
This is a form of psychotherapy applied in specific setting aimed at reaching two participants forming a couple, as well as their problems as a couple. Therapist’s assistance enables the participants to gain deeper understanding of the sources of the relational crisis, as well as the motivations, feelings, thoughts and needs which underlie the current problem. Therapy is aimed at overcoming of serious crises and conflicts as well as deepening of mutual understanding and cooperation in the fulfillment of each others needs. It also involves steps towards individual development of each participant. Couples (marital) therapy may be counter-indicated in the case of insufficient motivation towards the change of relationship and behavior, the use of physical or psychological abuse or involvement in external emotional and/or sexual relationship.