Psychotherapy is essentially a conversation which involves listening to and talking with those in trouble, with the aim of helping them understand and resolve their predicament. Therapeutic listening is not passive but involves alert and sympathetic participation in what troubles the client. Psychotherapy is not superficial chat and does not seek quick, temporary relief by suggestion. It involves talking honestly and with increasing familiarity and intimacy between people who are equally committed to understanding the sufferer and his problem, with the aim of bringing about a change. It is difficult to draw a line of demarcation between psychotherapy and counseling.
Psychotherapy is classified broadly into 3 categories:
1. Supportive psychotherapy.
2. Re-educative psychotherapy.
3. Reconstructive psychotherapy.
Though, all the categories are equally effective in treating psychological problem, supportive psychotherapy is found to be simple, easy to implement and effective in solving sexual problems.
The objectives are:
a) Strengthening the existing defenses.
b) Restoring to an adaptive equilibrium.
c) Elaborating new and better mechanisms of maintaining control.
The various approaches under supportive psychotherapy are:
Guidance: It aims at a specific disturbing problem that interferes with the adjustment. This includes education about the problem and social relationship.
Tension control: Tension provokes a variety of psychological symptoms that divert the person from concentrating on the tasks. Of the methods used to control this tension are self-relaxation, self-hypnosis, meditation and yoga. All these methods have basically 4 principles namely, minimization of external stimuli, focus on single stimulus, a state of passivity and a comfortable position.
Externalization of interests: by providing varied types of activities such as sports, crafts, games, fine arts. The client is encouraged to resume activities that were once meaningful to him. This contributes to lessening of neurotic symptoms.
Reassurance: it is practically valuable in cases of severely depressed clients who lack the capacity to handle their anxiety through their own resources.
Prestige suggestion: The suggestion is accepted when it comes from prestigious authority. Hypnosis is important for reinforcing prestige suggestion.
Ventilation: This is most common method of relieving emotional tension. One talks over his problems with a professional person. The beneficial effects are due to the release of pent up feelings and emotions.
Somatic therapy: This is an adjunct rather than any form of psychotherapy, and has a positive effect on the morale of client; it includes pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, convulsive therapy etc.
Posted by Dr. Ramesh Maheshwari, WNHO Clinic, 2014 Sadashiv Peth, Tilak road, Pune.
Free to call for further information.