Many mental health problems, including depression, personality disorders, addictions, and eating disorders, may be helped by psychological therapies. There is a variety of therapies available, some of which explore a person’s past while others focus on current behaviour or thought processes. The person in therapy is often encouraged to take an active role in the treatment.
The treatment of mental health problems with psychological therapy, or psychotherapy, was developed by Sigmund Freud at the end of the 19th century. Since that time, a number of different forms of psychological therapy have evolved. Some of the major types of therapy are described in this section, beginning with forms of psychoanalytic-based psychotherapy, in which the therapist tries to give a person insight into the effect of past experiences. The next two articles look at behaviour therapy and cognitive–behavioural therapy, which are based on changing the way people act or think. Both person-centred therapy and group therapy emphasize supporting the individual and helping people to achieve self-awareness and understanding. In the last article in this section, counselling is discussed. Counselling can help people who need to learn how to cope with personal problems and crises.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.