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What is Psychotherapy?

Two people going over the psychotherapy definition

What is psychotherapy? Even though it has been around for generations, with roots that go back as far as the ancient world, many people don’t really understand this discipline, often called a soft science. A soft science is based on research using scientific principles. However, because it deals with human behavior, it is harder to quantify using measurable criteria. Regardless, psychology is an established field and psychotherapy is considered one of the central treatments for any mental illness including substance use disorders (SUDs).

Denver, Colorado psychotherapy for addiction recovery is available at our leading-edge rehab center in the heart of the city. We offer numerous evidence-based psychotherapy treatments that are extremely successful in the treatment of SUDs. If you would like a working definition of psychotherapy, are interested in psychotherapy for addiction, or want to learn how you can help yourself or a loved one cope with an SUD, reach out to Mile High Recovery today by filling out our online form or calling us at 855.796.2102.

A Psychotherapy Definition and History

The prefix “psycho” comes from the Greek word for soul or mind. Other philosophers and healers through history, for example in 6th century China and the medieval Arabic world, understood the connections between mind and body and that physicians shouldn’t focus on the body while ignoring the mind. These forward thinkers valued the health of the mind as an important goal in its own right.

In the modern era, psychology emerged as a specific discipline in the mid-nineteenth century thanks to Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), who opened the first psychology laboratory. Other famous early practitioners include Sigmund Freud (1836-1949), Carl Jung (1875-1961), William James (1842-1910), and Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936).

Psychotherapy emerged within the field of psychology as a discipline dedicated more to healing than research. Focused on communication between therapist and patient, psychotherapy is often referred to as talk therapy. The process involves:

  • Understanding what underlies certain behaviors, including past events, traumas, or emotional programming
  • Processing the connections between and among events, experiences, emotions, and symptoms
  • Controlling or eliminating behaviors and symptoms to increase health and well-being
  • Finding greater self-acceptance, peace, balance, inner resources, confidence, and mental health

Psychotherapy can help people:

  • Manage daily life
  • Deal with the impact of trauma
  • Cope with loss or illness
  • Manage mental health disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Manage their recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD)

Psychotherapy is widely accepted as one of the most effective approaches to treating mental health disorders of all kinds.

What is Psychotherapy Like?

It’s typical to conduct psychotherapy in one-on-one sessions between a client and therapist or in a group, couple, or family setting. In fact, it’s effective for people of all ages.

Best practice indicates that scheduling regular sessions weekly or bi-weekly for between 30 and 50 minutes leads to the best outcomes. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the development of trust and open communication between therapist and client. Confidentiality, protected by law, is fundamental to this relationship.

What is Psychotherapy for Addiction?

Addiction treatment centers rely on the efficacy of psychotherapy to help their clients. Numerous psychotherapy modalities are especially helpful for those with SUDs.

Some of the evidence-based psychotherapies offered at Mile High Recovery include:

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)

Therapy is critical to the recovery process. Because an SUD is not just physical dependence on a drug or alcohol, but also involves emotional, psychological, and behavioral addiction as well, therapy helps clients:

  • Identify and avoid triggers
  • Cope with life’s stressors
  • Recognize the role of individuals and behaviors in their addiction
  • Learn specific skills for managing emotions and addictive behaviors

Psychotherapy for addiction is a major factor in helping people with an SUD manage cravings and avoid relapse.

Psychotherapy for Addiction at Mile High Recovery

At Mile High Recovery in Denver, our clinicians provide psychotherapy for addiction as well as for mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression. Evidence-based psychotherapy modalities at Mile High will work well for you or your loved one.

Learn more about psychotherapy at Mile High Recovery. We look forward to hearing from you. You can use our online form or call 855.796.2102 any time.

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