Treatment, Therapeutic Approaches, and Relevant Constructs: Overview

In psychotherapy, skilled professionals systematically apply psychological principles and methods in the mental health arena, helping people make beneficial changes in their behavior, thoughts, feelings, or social interactions to reduce emotional distress and impairment and to promote optimal functioning. Psychotherapists draw from their knowledge of psychopathology (mental health disorders) and psychological change processes (e.g., gaining insight, learning to regulate emotions, or acquiring new skills) in providing their services. (Those receiving psychotherapy may be called clients or patients; however, for consistency, this entry uses the term client.) Normally a collaborative relationship between a provider and a client, psychotherapy can take a variety of forms. The most familiar format is the therapist-client dyad, but psychotherapists also work with couples, families, groups, and even—in residential settings—an entire therapeutic ...

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