What is individual psychotherapy and how does it help

Despite several awareness initiatives there still seems to be some gap in understanding mental health services. This article will help in clarifying and understanding various aspects of individual psychotherapy.

What is Individual Psychotherapy?

Individual psychotherapy is a treatment of emotional and personality problems or disorders by using psychological means. In other words, just like how a physician would treat fever or cold there are treatments that help with treating problems of an emotional nature. These problems can range from milder emotional conflicts to severe psychopathologies. Thus, a person who is facing marital difficulties as well as someone who is suffering from depression can seek psychotherapy.

Here are some problems or issues that can be helped through psychotherapy:

  1. Difficulties coping with stressors
  2. Trauma and related experiences
  3. Various kinds of medical problems such as Dementia, Delirium, Disabilities etc.
  4. All kinds of mental illnesses such as Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Schizophrenia and so on.
  5. Marital and Interpersonal conflicts.
  6. Individuals seeking to achieve personal growth and self-fulfilment


Who conducts Individual Psychotherapy?

A trained and qualified person in Psychology (Clinical, Counseling and related fields) should conduct psychotherapy. Psychiatrists trained in Psychotherapy are also eligible. They must have in-depth knowledge in different psychological issues and associated therapies. Most therapists have a Master’s degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. Various professional titles are used as per qualifications such as Clinical Psychologist, Counseling Psychologist, Psychotherapists and Counsellors. Choosing the right professional is an important step.

Who should take Individual Psychotherapy?

Anybody who experiences:

  1. Psychological Issues/Problems such as changes in emotions, thoughts or actions
  2. Significant distress and disturbance in their life
  3. Need to talk or express their thoughts and feelings
  4. Search for personal growth and self-fulfilment


What to expect in Individual Psychotherapy?

Taking therapy can seem like a big decision that one needs to make. However, in reality it is as simple as going to a doctor to help you deal with your problems. Therapy is conducted in different settings such as hospitals, clinics, therapy centres, rehabilitation centres and so on depending on the needs for different problems. However, here are some common aspects that one can expect while taking individual psychotherapy:

  1. A non-judgmental safe space where you can express without any hesitation and fear.
  2. A confidentiality assurance that whatever you share shall not be revealed or shared with anyone outside the therapy room.
  3. Focused and individualized treatment plans which are designed specifically to cater to one’s problems/needs.
  4. Therapy can be short-term or long-term depending on the needs and severity of the issues.
Also read: Small ways to help your friend deal with anxiety

What are the various types of Psychotherapies?

There are various kinds of therapies designed for different problems and issues. Some of them are:
  1. Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy: A short term therapy aimed at altering thoughts, emotions and behaviour by identifying unhelpful thoughts and replacing them with helpful ones.
  2. Psychodynamic Therapy: A long term therapy that goes deeper and tries to understand inner conflicts that cause problems.
  3. Behavior Modification based therapy: Mainly used for children to alter difficult behaviour patterns.
  4. Biofeedback is a technique that involves monitoring a person’s physiological state and feeding information about it back to that person.


There are more than 100 different therapy modalities, depending on the professional’s expertise and client’s needs the therapy is selected.

How does it help?

Psychotherapy works in various ways. It is a very personal and subjective experience for each individual. Here are some ways that people find psychotherapy helpful:

  1. A space to be heard and to express one’s concerns. In a world that suppresses one’s expression of emotion, psychotherapy promotes for the contrary. This itself is very therapeutic.
  2. Work on removing, modifying or reducing any psychological symptoms. For instance, anxiety, sadness, low motivation and so on.
  3. Helps in altering disturbed patterns of behaviour.
  4. Promotes personal growth and self-fulfilment.


In a world where mental illness and mental health remain a taboo, taking psychotherapy may seem to be a herculean task. However, the more we are able to create a society that identifies unhealthy mental processes the better we thrive. Let’s make psychotherapy stigma free and seek help whenever the need arises.

Looking for individual psychotherapy service? Get in touch with us: https://mpowerminds.com/seekhelp

Author
Nikita Sulay
Psychologist and Outreach Associate: Mpower – The Foundation
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