If you’re feeling overwhelmed by day-to-day challenges or chronic life stress, it’s important to select the right professional who can help you.
There are many local treatment options and the differences among them are not always clear.
As you look for counseling or other mental health services, it’s important to be aware of the terms that distinguish the various treatment methods and practitioners. Below are some of the labels you’re likely to see when searching for psychological services:
Counseling is a general term that may be used to refer to psychotherapy or talk therapy, but it may also be used in fields outside of traditional mental health treatment, such as coaching, consulting, and the various healing arts.
If you are seeking support specifically for mental health concerns, be sure to select a professional with the appropriate academic training and experience to address your needs.
Psychotherapy typically refers to talk therapy to treat mental health concerns.
In California, the definition of psychotherapy as practiced by psychologists is “the use of psychological methods in a professional relationship to assist a person or persons to acquire greater human effectiveness or to modify feelings, conditions, attitudes, and behaviors that are emotionally, intellectually, or socially ineffectual or maladaptive.”
You can learn more about psychotherapy and how it works by reading this article from the American Psychological Association website.
Psychotherapy may be delivered by a variety of practitioners, including psychologists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists. There are numerous treatment approaches that fall under the umbrella term of psychotherapy.
For many psychological symptoms and disorders, and particularly anxiety and depression, cognitive behavior therapy has the strongest research support.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a specific form of psychotherapy that addresses how thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are connected. Some of the features of CBT include
- emotional symptoms are addressed by targeting negative, illogical, and unrealistic beliefs
- increasing healthy behavior is encouraged
- the client takes an active role in a collaborative therapeutic relationship
- current causes of symptoms are addressed
- sessions are solution-focused and goal-directed
- homework is provided to encourage skill development, adaptive coping, and insight
- evaluation of treatment effectiveness is an ongoing process
In California, a psychologist is licensed by the state’s Board of Psychology. Some of the licensing requirements include
- a doctoral degree in clinical, counseling, or educational psychology
- 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience
- passing national and state examinations
If you’d like to learn more about cognitive behavior therapy and other services offered by licensed psychologist, Joel Minden, PhD, please review my About and Frequently Asked Questions pages. If you’d like to have a free 20-minute consultation to talk about your concerns and options for treatment, please go to my Contact page. I look forward to speaking with you!