What Is Talk Therapy? Never Alone Guide

what is talk therapy

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In today’s blog, I will to cover all you need to know about talk therapy. I want you to finish reading this with a clear understanding of what talk therapy is all about – and all the things it isn’t. For many of you who’ve never attended talk therapy, this might mean wiping clean the mental image you have of therapy.

For instance, maybe you’ve always pictured talk therapy sessions in an awkward, quiet room. The therapist sits behind an impressive desk while you sit on the other side in a chair facing them. It’s all on you to open up and spill the beans to your therapist – otherwise, you’re just left sitting there silently while your talk therapist takes notes about what you’re probably thinking and feeling.

Right?

Actually, it is pretty different from that picture. And if you’ve ever wondered whether talk therapy is only reserved for people experiencing significant emotional distress – such as someone coping from a traumatic event or managing depression – this is also not the case.

Although a therapist or psychologist can evaluate and diagnose mental health conditions in talk therapy, the important thing to know is that talk therapy can be for anyone. So whatever is interfering with your daily life or weighing heavy on your mind – you can talk about it all.

So what has got you interested in learning more about talk therapy?

Are you going through something that you’re pretty sure is temporary, such as a stressful time in your relationship or a recent issue that you can’t seem to resolve alone?

Or maybe you’ve been dealing with troubles that are more persistent, like feeling anxious or sad even at times that you can’t quite explain why.

Everyone goes through periods of stress or emotional distress. For some, it’s short-term, and they may be able to pick themselves back up without therapy. For others, their problems may still be short-term, but their feelings or thoughts are so troubling that they turn to therapy because it’s too overwhelming to manage on their own.

One of the most important things you should know about mental health and therapy is that no predetermined timeline explains how long you will feel how you feel or when you should feel better. That said, talk therapy doesn’t only make a significant difference in helping a person feel better, but it can significantly impact the time it takes to get there.

Everyone’s struggles, needs, and mental health journeys are unique. That isn’t to say there aren’t people out there going through similar issues or situations. In fact, there are many cases where people benefit from healing together and working together toward one common mental health goal.

The point is that no matter what you are going through, there are countless reasons people turn to therapy – which means just as many reasons to feel unafraid and not alone.

What Is Talk Therapy?

Talk therapy is an informal talk about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with a therapist or psychologist. It’s the process of having conversations with someone trained to help you talk through your problems to find solutions and healthy ways to manage your emotions.

How Does Talk Therapy Work?

As you talk through your thoughts, feelings, and problems with your talk therapist, you’re helping them understand the inner workings of your mind – and the more they know, the more they can help. You might also find that there’s a lot more to talk therapy than just talking about yourself. Your talk therapist may use several other strategies to help you get better and improve your life.

Therapists can assist in many ways during a therapy session, such as helping you:

  • Brainstorm ways to cope with difficult feelings or behavior.
  • Better understand your emotions.
  • Break unhealthy habits and thought patterns and establish healthier ones.
  • Learn effective ways to cope with stress and anxieties like situational anxiety.
  • Identify your triggers.
  • Identify obstacles preventing you from good mental health.
  • Reinforce positive thinking and idea exploration.
  • Address and process your emotional distress or past traumatic experiences.

What Are The Benefits Of Talk Therapy?

Talk therapy is for anyone who has challenges understanding or managing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This could be due to anxiety, crippling depression, family trauma, relationship tension, trouble coping with stress, or other emotional issues interfering with their daily lives.

Whether a talk therapist recommends talk therapy or you go by your own accord, here are the most common benefits that most people receive from talk therapy:

  • Change in thought and behavior patterns.
  • Feeling more positive and better about yourself and your life.
  • Improved mood and well-being.
  • Decreased emotional distress.
  • Increased coping skills for handling future problems you might encounter.
  • Improved relationships with family and friends.
  • Greater sense of personal fulfillment.
  • Improved quality of life overall.
  • Decreased stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Lower risk for suicide and suicidal thoughts.
  • More confidence in your talk therapy sessions and throughout the rest of your day-to-day life.
  • Feel more at ease and comfortable with talk therapy.

How To Get The Most Out Of Talk Therapy?

Talk therapy is one of the most common forms of therapy that you can easily find and take part in. To get the most out of talk therapy follow these 6 simple steps.

  • Be honest in your sessions
  • Allow for yourself to feel uncomfortable
  • Go to therapy weekly
  • Book multiple sessions in advance

4 Types Of Talk Therapy

1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, commonly referred to as CBT, is a type of therapy that focuses on how your feelings and thoughts affect you and the world around you. In CBT, a therapist will help guide you to identify negative patterns of thinking and emotional responses to create healthier and more effective coping skills.

2. Dialectical behavioral therapy 

Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is therapy for people suffering from interpersonal issues. More specifically, it was originally designed to help individuals with a borderline personality disorder.

This type of therapy has several components, combining meditation and some practices from CBT with a focus on relationships. While CBT can help you recognize and change unhealthy ways of thinking and acting, DBT can support you through regulating intense emotions and overcoming unhelpful thinking patterns by helping you find multiple viewpoints on your issues. DBT can significantly improve your interpersonal relationships through acceptance, validation, and behavioral changes.

3. Psychodynamic talk therapy

This type of therapy focuses on the relationships between our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and memories. In Psychodynamic therapy, you might talk about past issues that are affecting you in the present and talk about your future goals and dreams. A therapist will encourage you to look into your personal history and self-perception with an open mind, bringing forward thoughts and feelings that most people try to push aside or avoid entirely.

4. Humanistic talk therapy

Humanistic therapy focuses on empowerment and personal growth. It encourages curiosity about your feelings and thoughts while learning to accept and embrace them even if they don’t seem rational or logical at all times. You might also talk with your therapist about the life path you want to pursue and how to better achieve it. A therapist will also talk about your experiences in life that may have shaped who you are today. During this type of therapy, you will develop a healthy sense of self-identity and an open mind towards change.

The type of therapy you try is ultimately up to you, although your therapist will likely recommend a certain one based on your needs or their expertise.

Other factors can also impact your choice in therapy, such as what you can afford and what’s available to you where you live. The wonderful thing about talk therapy is that you always have options even if you feel limited in terms of cost or access to therapy offices.

Other Forms Of Talk Therapy

1. Talk therapy online

If your therapist can’t meet up with you in person because of distance issues or another personal reason, therapy online might be an option for you.

With talk therapy online, you can talk to a therapist through video chat or phone calls. The specifics of what features are available to you will depend on the online therapy service you choose and the plan. With most plans (usually a set monthly rate), you can also text your therapist messages that they will reply to when they get the chance.

Therapy online can be just as beneficial as therapy in person, and you still talk about the same talk topics as you would if you were to meet them face-to-face.

The difference and benefit of therapy online are that you can talk to a therapist about anything you want, any time of the day. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of traveling for traditional face-to-face therapy if you would rather hop on your computer.

Online therapy is helpful for clients who cannot get out of their homes due to illness or emotional distress, among other factors. Finally, therapy online helps clients discuss topics in a safe space without worrying about feeling self-conscious in front of therapists.

Explore our favorite online therapy apps

BetterHelp

BetterHelp is an online counseling platform connecting individuals with licensed therapists for convenient mental health support.
Learn More

Calmerry

An online therapy platform offering access to professional therapists for personalized and confidential mental health services from the comfort of home.
Learn More

Online-Therapy.com

Evidence-based therapy support through interactive worksheets, live sessions, and messaging with professionals.
Learn More

2. Body talk therapy

Body talk therapy is talk therapy that uses the client’s body as a tool for learning to understand their feelings, emotions, memories, and stressors. Talk therapists use this talk therapy to help clients listen to themselves through observing bodily sensations.

To practice body talk therapy, therapists will ask their clients questions about how they feel physically, such as what part of their body feels tense and why. Clients can answer talk therapists’ questions through diagrams, self-writing exercises, and other creative outlets like music and art.

Body talk therapy helps clients release stress while encouraging them to be more in touch with how their bodies respond to certain emotions and feelings. By learning about their bodies, therapists can help their clients to make healthier decisions and cope with stress more effectively.

Body talk therapy is helpful for people who talk therapy is already helping them learn how to understand their emotions or recover from trauma. Depending on where you are in your talk therapy process, body talk therapy may further assist you in getting over past experiences and learning how to feel comfortable in your own skin.

3. Walk and talk therapy

If you’re wondering whether talk therapy sessions ever take place outside of an office or home setting – yes, they do. Talk therapies can be conducted in a variety of settings.

In many talk therapy sessions, therapists will use the location as a tool to engage with their clients. For example, a therapist may ask a client to participate by going for a walk with them.

While you’re walking, your therapists can encourage you to talk about any thoughts or feelings that come up during the walk.

Walk and talk therapy is helpful for talk clients who are struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression. Going on walks can be comforting in these situations because it helps individuals clear their heads and open up. During these walks, talk therapists can talk with their clients about any emotional difficulties they’re facing so they can help them feel better.

Talk therapy is an effective way to treat and address everything from mental health conditions to the stressors of everyday life. Talk therapy can help talk you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. And if it’s something you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to give it a try. After you’ve done your homework and picked which talk therapy seems best for you, you can refine your search to find specialists in your area or online!

FAQ

In talk therapy, a psychologist will discuss previous traumas and psychiatric conditions with a person in order to treat, evaluate, and diagnose various mental health conditions. The psychologist will help people resolve and process issues verbally.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most common form of talk therapy.

There’s very little difference between what’s meant by therapy and counseling, they all broadly refer to talking therapy (as opposed to other types of treatment, such as drug therapy). But sometimes they might indicate differences in who your therapist is, or refer to a specific type of talking therapy.

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