How Talk Therapy Can Help You

Updated September 30, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Many different situations and environments lead to negative reactions. These situations can leave lasting, and at times damaging, effects. Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and chronic stress can have serious symptoms that, if left untreated, can have lasting consequences. Effective and non-invasive treatment for such disorders is to speak to a psychologist. So what's the psychotherapy definition? Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, aims to lessen the effects of symptoms experienced by patients through talk therapy sessions where they can freely express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe and productive atmosphere.

Talking about issues, feelings, or thoughts that cause you great stress or discomfort can help you manage your reactions to things out of your control. Patients with qualified talk therapists in online therapy or another mental health community can choose what to talk about in talk therapy. Both the therapist and the patient can jointly work through specific traumas to overcome negative reactions, and learn more appropriate behaviors for the future.

What Is Talk Therapy?

Have You Been Avoiding The Benefits Of Talk Therapy?

Therapy is defined as "treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.” The talk therapy definition lies within the definition of psychotherapy, which is the process in which "psychologists apply scientifically validated procedures to help people develop healthier, more effective habits.” It allows psychologists to collaboratively work with patients with disorders such as depression and anxiety.

There are several different approaches to talk therapy, including:

  • Behavior therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Integrative or holistic therapy
  • Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy

Behavior Therapy

Behavior therapy is a type of talk therapy that involves focusing on learning the role you have when developing normal and abnormal behaviors. Classical conditioning, also known as associative learning, is practiced in behavior therapy. Desensitizing is a form of classical conditioning where a talk therapist may aid a patient with a specific phobia or fear through a repeated and regimented exposure to wherever the fear is derived from. Operant conditioning is another method of talk therapy that is a type of learning that relies on rewards and punishments to curb people's behaviors.

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt) is a very effective form of talking therapy that is centered on the core belief that by changing one's thoughts one can change how one feels and reduce emotional distress. The focus of this kind of therapy is to identify negative thought patterns, determine the behavior patterns affected by them, then change those patterns into positive ones through talking therapy. By doing this, people are in control of their reactions, no matter the stimuli. Cognitive therapists believe that "dysfunctional thinking leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviors.” By changing this thinking, patients can change their emotions and behaviors. There's strong empirical evidence for the impact of CBT, as it's widely considered the "gold standard" of today's therapeutic approaches.

Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy is a form that emphasizes a patient's capacity to make rational decisions such that they can take steps for progress and develop to their maximum potential. Other important themes of humanistic therapy are a concern for others and a sense of respect for all. The three types of humanistic therapy are client-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, and existential therapy.

Integrative/Holistic Therapy

Holistic or integrative therapy looks to combine many different forms into one, an all-encompassing treatment plan. By using different methods and approaches, a counselor can tailor a treatment plan specifically for that patient. Any treatment plan should be discussed and implemented with a trained professional.

Psychoanalysis/Psychodynamic Therapies

These approaches attempt to change troublesome behaviors, thoughts, and feelings through self-discovery of unconscious meanings, past experiences, and motivations. More specifically psychoanalytic talk therapy treatment plans consist of a tight working relationship between the therapist and the patient. Through the therapeutic relationship, patients can discover who they truly are and what their intentions are. Psychoanalysis was famously designed by psychologist Sigmund Freud.

What Does It Treat?

This type of therapy treats a wide array of disorders including:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Bipolar Disorder and other mood disorders
  • Relationship issues
  • The urge to self-harm
  • Increased interpersonal skills
It has shown to be highly effective for treating disorders and mental illnesses that have negative effects on people and finding the appropriate, trained mental health professional is the most important step. Many different forms of this therapy focus on specific issues, so researching a therapist that is right for you is very important.

Finding the right talk therapist that can aid you in developing positive feedback and effective thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that will lead to the alleviation of symptoms. With the correct mental health professional, a treatment plan (of either talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two) can be tailored to focus on the mental health services you need to address the conditions in your life. Please consult with your doctor or primary care physician before considering any medication options.

How Can Talk Therapy Help Me?

It has proven to be extremely effective when treating a wide array of mental disorders. Peer-reviewed studies show that by discussing and working to better one's approach to life, alleviation from trauma can be achieved. Check out the National Institute of Mental Health's article on these kinds of talk therapy to learn more. 

Spanning Into The Future

One benefit is its persistence over a long period of time. When you're in a talk therapy treatment care plan, you aren't just addressing issues that are happening to you in real-time; you're also developing behavioral skills that will help you in future situations. The positive results from even just your first session ripple far into the future.

A Social Awakening

It is also beneficial when it comes to social interactions and relationships. Not only does it help you understand yourself better, but it also enables you to understand those around you without immediately developing negative thoughts or behaviors. By removing the process of immediately attributing negative thoughts to those around you, you can inhibit those very thoughts from sticking inside your brain, creating positive changes in your life.

Don't Forget The Physical

It has been shown that severe psychological trauma can cause severe symptoms that manifest themselves in a physical form or through physical feelings. In short, they cause pain to an individual experiencing them. Additionally, mental disorders such as depression and PTSD can have debilitating physical symptoms. By starting a plan with your talk therapist, you can find healthy ways to reduce symptoms, which may affect your sleep and overall well-being.

Say Goodbye to Self-Medication

This kind of therapy removes the urge or necessity for a patient to seek relief through unhealthy means or behaviors, like drug or alcohol use disorder. The desire to look for alternative methods for release is quickly replaced with a healthy treatment plan. Talk therapists teach patients new behaviors to lean on when dealing with difficult memories, feelings, or thoughts. Some of these holistic treatments that most therapists may use in the treatment process are breathing exercises, exposure therapy, or even other therapies. 
The person receiving treatment can work with these mental health professionals to determine the best course of action for their specific mental health issue or medical illness. For example, a therapist trying to help a person treat depression symptoms may recommend they see a psychiatrist to prescribe medications like anti-depressants. However, a person receiving treatment for anxiety disorders may only see a significant difference in their symptoms after experiencing exposure therapy. 

Where Do I Find A Talk Therapist?

Talk therapists can be found both in-person and online, unlike some other mental health professionals like psychiatric nurses or social workers. When researching which mode of therapy works best for you, be sure to keep in mind your disorder and what goals you may have for treatment, knowing that you have counseling options in an office or virtually. It should center around your development when practicing new behaviors or thought patterns when processing negative feelings or situations. If you are not sure, it's something you can discuss at your first appointment.

Seeking Talk Therapy In-Person

When looking for a therapist to speak to and see in person, there are some ways you can go about locating the right one for you.

  • Talk To Friends And Family: Asking those that are close to you may be a good first step when looking for the best therapist for you. Many people live with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, or substance abuse (alcohol or drugs), so asking people who care about you can be a great place to start if you’re comfortable.
  • Consider Gender: The gender of your talk therapist can be a small, yet important detail when looking for the appropriate one. Therapy involves being comfortable exploring intimate details about yourself, and gender can affect how you articulate those thoughts and feelings.
  • Look At Their Photo And Call Them: Starting a communicative relationship with potential talk therapists can allow you to get comfortable with potential candidates while also making sure you "gel" with how they conduct their therapy. How someone looks, or how someone sounds or speaks over the phone can indicate a lot about who they are, and more importantly who they will be when they treat you.
  • Theoretical Orientation: This aspect of looking for the correct talk therapist is the most important as it asks you to figure out where you think your issues stem from and which method you should try. If you think you have unconscious motivation for your behavior, you should seek a specialist that works with psychodynamic therapy, for example.

Talking To A Therapist Online

Nowadays most things can be done on the internet: grocery shopping, purchasing exotic fish for your saltwater aquarium, and online therapy. On the internet, you can find, review, and talk to a therapist online, where your sessions, treatment, and recovery are all handled from your home computer. Research such as a study published in Early Intervention in Psychiatry looked into online therapy for the prevention of depression relapse in young adults. The study’s authors found that more than 80% of participants who logged into the therapy program found the intervention helpful.

Online therapy has many benefits including affordability, a wide array of choices, and no geographical limit. If you discover an online therapist that works best for you, you'll never have to worry about relocation when speaking to your therapist.

Online platforms, such as BetterHelp, are designed to offer you a vast array of online mental health care therapists for you to choose from. Online therapy is a great alternative to face-to-face therapy if you are unable to, or are uncertain about, attending in-person sessions.

Recovery With Talk Therapy

Have You Been Avoiding The Benefits Of Talk Therapy?

Although the positive effects can be long-lasting, completing the required number of sessions is integral to helping a person achieve lasting recovery. Without hard work, dedication, and a goal, symptoms of debilitating mental disorders are likely to persist. Through effective treatment plans utilizing this form of therapy, these symptoms can be alleviated. With different methods focusing on specific behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, treatment can either enhance or replace any medicated treatment plan, even while talking to an online therapist from your home.

BetterHelp Reviews

Here are several reviews from individuals who reached out to BetterHelp’s therapy resources:

“Dr. Drinkwine has helped me address a great deal of triggers that usually can cause a cycle of anxiety for me. I have been seeing her for a few weeks now and I really enjoy our sessions together. She has given me worksheets and homework which really helps. Each session has allowed me to develop better-coping strategies to use for when I am feeling anxious. She is a great support. I highly recommend.”

"Mary has done so much to help me work through many tough situations. I always feel like she invested in my journey and a strong ally in my corner. She is always supportive and cheers on your accomplishments while also making sure that setbacks never feel like failure but an opportunity to learn something new.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is talk therapy?
Talk therapy is a generalized term that refers to therapy types with an emphasis on verbal communication. Examples of therapies that fall into the category of talk therapy are behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and medication therapy. These various types of therapy can be used to treat a variety of mental health illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder, grief or loss, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and emotional distress. Whether the patient is a child or an adult, they can work closely with a therapist.
What is a talk therapy example?
A talk therapy session usually consists of a conversation between the therapist and the client regarding the client's thoughts, actions, and emotions associated with a particular situation, problem, or even relationship with a loved one. Mental health professionals like to keep these discussions open-ended, yet analytical, to help a person process their mental health conditions. 
What are the 4 types of talk therapies?
There are four main types or techniques of talk therapies are therapy CBT, dialectical behavior therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy. All of these forms of talk therapy can also happen in a group setting, encompassed by the term group therapy. Depending on the specific mental health disorders that the client is working through, there is most likely a talk therapy treatment option that can help them. 
What is the difference between talk therapy and CBT?
CBT is a form of talk therapy, but talk therapy is not a form of CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on identifying the thoughts and reactions associated with a specific problem or situation while talk therapy just refers to any type of therapy that consists of a conversation between the therapist and the client. Talk therapy can be helpful in working through the stress process and building self-esteem, and most likely you can find a therapist who specializes in the mental health condition that you would like to address. Both are appropriate for adults and children.
Can I see a therapist just to talk?
Yes! Though therapy is an expensive way to just talk to someone, it is a completely viable option if there are no specific health issues you would like to address. For example, if you want to rant about a family member or gather more health information about a particular mental health subject, a talk therapist can be a great outlet. More often though, people choose to attend talk therapy to work through specific challenges, like personality disorders. 


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