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Talk therapy is talking about what is bothering people which can be practiced with a loved one, family members or a counselor. Talk therapy is sometimes used alongside other forms of treatment for mental illness, such as medication. When people talk about their problems, they are assisted to discover some aspects that usually cause problems in their lives. People with different perspectives on our situations can help us in making important decisions on how to deal with problems that we face and they also help in dealing with the things that we cannot be able to fix on our own. For instance, there exist people in society with different problems such as terminal cancer and HIV aids. This paper discusses about talk therapy which happens to be the most curative form of counseling for the patients.

Benefits of talk therapy

Talk therapy has many benefits. First, the talk therapy process allows patients to discuss issues that are too difficult to share with anyone else in the life of an individual. It also offers the benefit of disinterested third party or a nonjudgmental counselor to listen to the patient’s issues without making any assumption, or making the concerned patient to feel uncomfortable. Finally, talk therapy is important and beneficial for people who are suffering from many different types of mental disorders (Drewes A. 2009). The researches show that when used in conjunction with medication, therapy is a more effective treatment for disorders such as depression than the medication alone because medication treats the symptoms but not the root of the cause. Talk therapy allows the patients in determining some potential causes of their mental problems (Marinoff L. 2002).

Types of talk therapy

Below are the three common types of talk therapy which helps patients to feel better and live more happily.

  1. Interpersonal therapy

This is a form of therapy which directs its focus on the patients’ relationships with family members and even peers and the way they perceive themselves. Interpersonal therapy is usually based on exploring issues in the relationships with other people and its main aim is to assist patients to identify and change the interpersonal problems. It also assists the patients to understand and to manage the relationship problems.

During the first phase of interpersonal therapy, the counselor and the patient identify which are the problems in the patient’s interpersonal relationships which require attention. This first phase is led by a qualified counselor, who establishes the history of the patient in order to help the patient identify his/her interpersonal problems. The second phase of interpersonal therapy is facilitated by the patient; the counselor only assists the patient to maintain focus and encourages the required change. During the last phase, both the counselor and the patient analyses whatever that they have achieved and whatever that has not been achieved, and they direct their focus on the future and they also focus on the changes that the patient should make to realize the relevant improvement.

This type of therapy was initially meant to treat depression in adults. It has also been used in the treatment of depression in the elderly, adolescents and people having Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection. Interpersonal therapy emphasizes on the ways in which a patient’s current relationships and social context cause or maintain the symptoms rather than exploring the root sources of these symptoms. The major goals of international therapy includes diagnosing the depression explicitly, educating the patient about the depression, the causes and various treatments that are readily available for this depression (Levenson H, Powers A, Butler F & Beitman D. 2002).

  1. Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy is a type of therapy that is used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. This type of therapy operates under the principle that the thoughts, the belief systems, and the biases influence emotions and the intensity of the emotion that the patients experiences. Cognitive therapy involves recognizing and changing the detrimental thought patterns and reactions of the patient. Though the effect of negative thinking on emotions may seem obvious, many patients do not realize the effects that such patterns have on their various activities. For example, after experiencing a setback in searching for the right treatment, a patient may begin to think he or she will never get healed. As a result, the patient may become depressed and avoid the efforts of looking for medication in future (Neenan M & Dryden W. 2004).

Cognitive therapy was started by Aaron Beck and it was initially used for the treatment of depression. On later date, Dr. Beck and other researchers developed the methods for its application to many other mental issues such as substance abuse and management of anger. This type of therapy involves the replacement of the negative thoughts with the positive and more realistic ones. This type of treatment is not as simple as having the patient think positive thoughts. Often, the negative thought patterns are entrenched in the patient’s psyche. Frequently, the thoughts occur automatically, without the awareness of the patient experiencing them (Beck T & Alford A. 2009).

Changing negative thought patterns requires a process of identifying the undesirable beliefs that the patient has about himself and others. Once detrimental thoughts have been discovered, the patient must learn to dispute them. Basically, cognitive therapy requires that a patient develops new skills, including the ones involved in monitoring the thought streams and subjecting their attitudes and biases to a reasoning that is more realistic. When using cognitive therapy, some patients may experience the expected results after some months and other changes may take many years. When the patient directs his/her efforts to using the skills developed through cognitive therapy in their real life, they will experience some real changes (Neenan M & Dryden W. 2004).

  1. Behavioral Therapy

The patients who are seeking psychological help for depression and undesired habits have many types of treatments to choose from. For the ones who are interested in intense discussion sessions to find out the cause of their problem, the behavioral therapy may be the suitable method through which they can meet their dreams.

Behavioral therapy is based on the idea that most of the behaviors are learned by the repeated responses to a certain stimulus. For example if a patient has developed a destructive response pattern to certain situations, this type of pattern should be broken down and instead replaced by a more positive response in order to overcome the problem. For instance, if one’s response to stress when infected with HIV is to drink heavily, then he/she has developed a behavioral pattern which is destructive. If she/he can do a different stress-combating activity to replace his/her drinking, he/she will be replacing a destructive pattern with a positive one that will lead to the attainment of the same results. Therefore, behavioral therapy is an essential tool that counselors can use to assist these kinds of patients to replace the negative patterns with the positive ones. The part of theory associated with the behavioral therapy is based on the famous experiments in conditioning which was conducted by Pavlov Ivan during the 20th century. These theories suggest that by rewarding a desired response, people can change the detrimental behavioral to more positive patterns (Schaefer H & Martin L. 1975).

Freud and Carl Jung

Freud developed a theory of the human mind and human behavior, as well as clinical techniques for attempting to help neurotics. He suggested the bringing of unconscious thoughts to consciousness is brought about by encouraging the patient to talk freely about his/her dreams. Most importantly, he popularized the talking therapy as an idea through which a patient could solve problems. This idea was almost unheard of in the 19th century. Nowadays, the basic mode of treatment is largely derived from Freud’s work. Carl Jung was a contemporary of Freud and shared with him a belief in the importance of unconscious processes in shaping the patient’s responses. Jung’s approach to therapy combines the best scientific psychological knowledge about the human behavior and thinking habits and interweaves it with a respectful appreciation of philosophical wisdom (Merlino P. 2008).

Why talk therapy is more effective with a counselor

The counselors know how to listen and help. They take the patients’ problems seriously and work with them to find a desirable solution. It takes a lot of training to be a counselor. Most not only have college degrees but also special training and certification in counseling. They are up-to-date on all the top things that affect the patients. The counselors can refer the patients to outside resources like professional therapists (Steinberg J. 1974).


Whether patients can identify what is ailing them or they feel the need to discuss their feelings about their life, counseling is a necessary tool. Basically, psychotherapy and other forms of counseling are aimed at helping the patients in developing new ways to cope with various problems. It also assists the patients to identify and understand more about the way they feel, so that they are well prepared to avoid further complications.

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