Treatments & Therapies

Psychotherapy – Treatment, Effects & Risks


The term psychotherapy is understood to mean a large number of forms of treatment for mental and mental or psychosocial illnesses and impairments that take place without the use of medication. Psychotherapy is primarily a form of talk therapy .

What is psychotherapy?

Since the professional title psychotherapist is not protected in Germany, not every “psychotherapist” can necessarily settle accounts with statutory or private health insurance companies.

In this case, it is advisable to search specifically for specialists with the designation “psychological psychotherapist”. These are able to accept referrals from general practitioners and bill the health insurance companies for their services.

Psychotherapy usually begins with an initial consultation with a family doctor, who makes an initial assessment of the patient during his consultation and, if necessary, knows how to recommend suitable addresses, since psychotherapy can be divided into different focal points.

Function, effect & goals

In addition to depth psychology and behavioral therapy , one of the focal points of psychotherapy is psychoanalysis, whereby the former is fundamentally a part of psychoanalysis and includes methods such as therapeutic hypnosis. 

Psychoanalysis, whose best-known names are probably Sigmund Freud and CG Jung, is basically a form of therapy lasting several months or even years, which is mainly used when there is no specific problem, such as a specific fear of spiders or spiders heights.

Psychoanalysis is used when deeper problems are identified that require longer therapy, but cannot be specified by the patient. These include, for example , eating disorders , depression or delusional personality disorders .

Behavior therapy has a much shorter treatment duration. It is used for phobias or compulsions , such as fear of heights and flying or washing and control compulsions. Here, a specifically named problem is treated, which, in contrast to psychoanalysis, can work specifically on a starting point from the beginning and therefore requires a few hours of therapy. The first successes usually appear quickly.

Basically, psychotherapy serves the well-being of the person being treated, whereby depth psychological or psychoanalytic therapies can influence the patient in such a way that he completely changes his life up to now, as well as his social environment. This is possibly the aim of these forms of therapy. It is important to strengthen the patient and support him in his self-discovery; this can of course also result in a reversal of his entire life up to now.

Of particular importance in all forms of psychotherapy is compliance, i.e. the patient’s consent and cooperation in the therapy. If the patient is not willing to place his trust in the therapist, he will not open up and honestly discuss his problems with him.

The prerequisite for this is the insight that you are suffering from a problem and want to treat it. Therefore, a certain therapeutic sensitivity is required, for example in the case of criminals to be treated, to recognize whether the course of the conversation is meant seriously or whether the patient is telling the therapist what the therapist supposedly would like to hear in order to be able to write an unhesitating expert opinion.

Criticism & Dangers

As with any form of treatment, there are proponents and critics of psychotherapy . Since it is mostly talk therapy, it can happen that the patient to be treated deliberately reveals untruths – possibly very credibly – or intentionally pulls the therapist in a special direction.This often happens with patients with the so-called borderline syndrome , who can even take over the therapist if the therapist does not show enough resistance. There is also the danger of the patient becoming dependent on his therapist. Under certain circumstances, he relies too much on the fact that “someone else” will solve his own problems.

Basically, however, it can be stated that psychotherapy is a useful instrument for the treatment of mental illnesses. Psychotherapy, hand in hand with conventional medicine, has become an integral part of our current understanding of the treatment of various diseases and serves the well-being of those affected to a large extent.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.