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Standard Therapy vs. Psychotherapy

female therapist in office explaining to male client standard therapy vs psychotherapy

If your teen is struggling with addiction, behavioral, or mental health concerns, you may be considering getting them into therapy. Of course, you have questions. What is psychotherapy, what is therapy, and how do they differ? For more information about therapy vs. psychotherapy, call Imagine Boise at 888.597.2807 and learn more about our Idaho psychotherapy program.

What Is Therapy?

Sometimes, when people are in need of therapy, what they really need is counseling. Counseling is a form of therapy that can take many forms. People may seek career counseling, premarriage counseling, addiction counseling, grief counseling, and other types of counseling from providers who may or may not be licensed therapists.

Counseling is typically a short-term process that targets a primary goal. The main approach used is talk therapy. Talk therapy is defined as at least one patient talking to a professional to treat concerns related to thinking, emotional and behavioral patterns.

Talk therapy can take the form of family, group, or individual therapy. It may be used alone or along with medications to treat psychological conditions.

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a long-term treatment focusing on gaining insight into chronic conditions such as addiction and other behavioral or mental health concerns. Techniques are often used to resolve past problems in order to build a better future.

Emotional intelligence tests, psychological evaluations, and personality tests may be an important part of the psychotherapy process. Different types of therapy that come under the wide umbrella of psychotherapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Psychoanalytic psychotherapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Supportive therapy

A provider of psychotherapy must be a trained psychiatrist, psychotherapist, marriage and family therapist, or another type of licensed therapist.

Psychotherapy vs. Therapy: The Similarities

Standard therapy and psychotherapy can look very much like the same thing. The similarities between therapy vs. psychotherapy include:

  • Both therapies are effective for children, teens, and adults
  • The therapist works to create a safe, therapeutic relationship that fosters trust and open communication
  • The therapist’s goal is to understand the patient’s feelings and help them address any negative behaviors that are affecting their life

In both cases, the therapist offers suggestions and techniques for dealing with challenges and may even suggest “homework” to complete between sessions. This homework allows patients to practice what they learn in therapy in real-life situations.

Psychotherapy vs. Therapy: The Differences

The most important difference between standard therapy vs. psychotherapy is the professional who is involved. A mental health professional with an advanced degree in psychiatry or psychology can provide both psychotherapy and talk therapy counseling. However, some counselors may not have the training to offer psychotherapy.

Therapists who diagnose and treat mental illness must have advanced degrees and licenses. They may also be medical doctors who can provide medical advice.

Another notable difference is the duration of treatment. Counseling typically lasts a few weeks to several months, while psychotherapy may be needed continuously over many years.

Counseling therapy is often considered to be a secondary treatment. Psychotherapy is used as a first approach, especially in crisis situations, and counseling comes later.

The main goal of psychotherapy is to change a patient’s overall big picture — helping them recognize and address core issues of the past that have not been resolved.

Counseling therapy focuses more on behaviors and thoughts that are causing negative effects in the present and on empowering the patient to change those thoughts and behaviors.

Find Compassionate Therapy at Imagine Boise

If your teen is struggling to cope with addiction or behavioral health issues, our team of experts will help explain which mental health treatments would be most effective. Call Imagine Boise today at 888.597.2807 and take that first important step toward changing your child’s life for good.