Psychotherapy vs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Differences Explained

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Mental health care is just as vital as any other type of health care a person receives. However, it can be hard to understand the different treatment options and therapies available. Although some trial and error may be necessary to find the best options for the individual, it is important to know where to start.

Finding the Right Therapy

Whether medication is needed or not, most mental health conditions improve by working with a therapist. Premier Residential Mental Health Treatment Center offers a variety of treatment options and programs to meet the needs of its patients.

Although the best therapy type depends greatly on a person’s diagnosis, often, the choice is between psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Although technically similar, there are distinct differences that could benefit certain patients more towards one option over the other.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the type of therapy most people think of when discussing therapy. It is the type of therapy where the therapist talks about the issue to help the patient discover the cause of their issue and how to work through it.

Psychotherapy works well in individual settings but can also be beneficial in family sessions or even group therapy sessions. The therapist leads a session lasting between 50-60 minutes where they direct the individual to discuss thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The therapist will also guide patients in finding methods for changing negative aspects into more positive ones.

Types of Psychotherapy

There are many types of psychotherapy available. Psychodynamic therapy is a type that focuses on childhood and past experiences. Treatment involves bringing conscious awareness to the effects these experiences have caused and working through them. Psychoanalysis is an extensive form of psychodynamic therapy that involves three or more sessions per week to explore these issues.

Interpersonal therapy provides a short-term treatment option to help patients work through unresolved grief, changes in their lives, and conflicts with others. Dialectic behavior therapy teaches patients skills to help them take responsibility for changing their unhealthy behaviors.

Supportive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that guides patients to find methods for dealing with their mental health conditions that may affect the rest of their lives. It teaches patients to find their own resources and cope with the lifelong illness they are facing.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is also a type of psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, involves efforts to change thinking and behavioral patterns. With the aid of specialized establishments like CBT centers, patients learn to recognize distorted thinking that may be causing problems in their lives. Patients are then taught to reevaluate their thoughts in a way that reflects reality. A search term like ‘San francisco therapy’ can gather results of such local establishments that employ CBT, enabling individuals to harness its potential.

Patients are often taught problem-solving skills to help them learn to deal with their problems. These skills help to build confidence and self-reliance. Patients are also guided in methods to help change their behaviors when facing challenges.

Patients are encouraged to face their fears and overcome problems when dealing with others. Relaxation techniques are taught, as well as the use of role playing. These methods help patients learn to find better ways to deal with stressful situations and avoid the previous behaviors that caused them issues.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Psychotherapy

There are many studies available that show cognitive behavioral therapy offers faster and longer-lasting benefits for some types of conditions. However, there is no singular type of therapy that works best for every individual. There is not even a single type that works best for a specific mental illness.

It is always best for patients to work with their healthcare team and try to find a solution that works best for them. Being honest and open about these things will help care providers find the best options for each patient.