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An Overview of Talk Therapy

What is talk therapy?

Talk therapy is simply talking about what is bothering you. Talk therapy can be practiced with a friend or loved one, a family member, or a therapist. Talking about your problems can help you to spot things that are causing problems in your life. A person with a different perspective on your situation can help you decide how to fix the problems you are having, and how to deal with the things you can’t fix. Through discussion, you can find ways to handle your problems so that the same issues won’t continually disrupt your life.

What are the three types of talk therapy?

Here are 3 common types of talk therapy. All of these can help people to feel better and live more fully.

Cognitive therapy helps you change harmful ways of thinking. If you tend to see things negatively, it teaches you how to look at the world more clearly.

Example: You drop by to see a friend, but she says she doesn’t have time to talk. Your first thought is that she’s angry with you. This makes you feel worried and anxious. Soon you are trapped in a flood of negative thinking.

Therapy: Talk therapy can help you focus on your reaction to your friend’s behavior. Perhaps what she said has nothing to do with you. Maybe she was having a bad day. Perhaps she was late for an appointment. Thinking of other reasons for her actions help you see the event in a more positive and accurate way.

Behavioral therapy helps you change harmful ways of acting. The goal is to get control over behavior that is causing problems for you.

Example: You were mugged, and now you are terrified of being alone in public. You can’t go anywhere alone, and you are beginning to miss days at work and school.

Therapy: Talk therapy can help you to face your fears. Discussing your problems with a trusted person can help you do begin to overcome those fears and take control of your life.

Interpersonal therapy helps you learn to relate better with others. You’ll focus on how to express your feelings, and how to develop better people skills.

Example: You and your mother are not getting along. She doesn’t approve of your significant other, or your group of friends. You feel that she is trying to run your life.

Therapy: Talk therapy can help you see your mother’s point of view. Perhaps she feels you don’t spend time with her anymore. Finding new ways of talking to your mother helps you both feel better.

Remember that talk therapy doesn’t have to be difficult. The simple act of discussing your feelings allows you to gain new insight and perspective. Talk therapy can also help to enrich your life by bringing the people that you love closer to you.


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