by Debbie Allen, ATH Co-Editor of Psychotherapy
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy affirms the inherent value of each individual by understanding the interaction between the emotional, behavioral, cognitive, physiological, and psychospiritual levels of functioning with an awareness of the social and transpersonal aspects of the systems surrounding the person.
An Introduction to Psychotherapy
There are many branches of psychotherapy and psychology which we will explore in this section. What is similar across fields is the way the relationship between the psychotherapist and the person seeking healing is used to help people re-engage more fully and authentically in their lives. When talking about psychotherapy, we can say that psychotherapy refers to the process of using a psychotherapeutic relationship to aid in integrating the personality, enhancing relationships, and changing unwanted patterns that keep people stuck. Through integration, people are able to face each moment with increased spontaneity, flexibility and a deeper appreciation of the mystery of life.
An interesting fact about psychotherapy is that the practice of psychotherapy includes an appreciation of human development in which each phase of life presents its own developmental tasks, crises, and opportunities for new learning. Often self-protective defenses emerge when there are interruptions in normal development. The practice of psychotherapy also addresses the role of unconscious patterns that we may carry forward from our own experiences in our families where we grew up.
Specific interventions are used to heal the wounding resulting from traumatic experiences. Psychotherapy methods are based on theories and research pertaining to the particular type of problem being addressed. Modern approaches are collaborative and strength-based, and look at ways to foster resilience, emotional intelligence and positivity. With a proper introduction to psychotherapy, you will be able to look deep within yourself and get to the root of the problem so that healing can commence.
One of the emerging trends in the field is for psychotherapists to study a variety of therapies and modalities. Integrative Psychotherapy involves the fusion of different fields of psychology and takes into account the many views of human functioning to facilitate wholeness in order to enhance the person's bio-psycho-social functioning, psycho-spiritual development, and socio-cultural connection to the greater world.
Whether you are a psychotherapist or a person interested in psychotherapy and psychology, we hope that this will be a place that will invite curiosity about yourself, help you connect authentically and deeply with important people in your life, and inspire you to be in greater contact with the great mystery of living.
Experience in psychotherapy is different for everyone. What is psychotherapy for you? We look forward to your participation in our community of psychotherapists and people engaged in a life journey of healing.
About the Author
Deborah Duenckel Allen, ATH Psychotherapy Co-Editor, is a Psychotherapist and Educator who has been practicing for more than 25 years. She has worked collaboratively with countless couples and families to help them communicate better and reach new levels of intimacy with each other and to experience a deepening of satisfaction in their lives. Her background in Social Work inspires her vision to understand people in the context of their families, communities and environment. Debbie is a leader in her professional community and has served on county, state and national boards. To learn more about Debbie, click here.