A psychotherapist is a psychiatrist who has completed a refresher course in psychotherapy. He is engaged in a therapeutic effect on the psyche with the help of conversation, analysis, self-hypnosis and various auxiliary techniques (bodily and art therapy). As a rule, people with various psychological problems turn to a psychotherapist. Most often these are: internal and external emotional, social, personal conflicts, rehabilitation of patients with serious illnesses, therapy of functional disorders that negatively affect life, work, relationships and creativity. Psychological disorders with which they turn to a psychotherapist have a mild or moderate severity. A psychiatrist undertakes the treatment of severe mental illness. Therefore, people who turn to a psychotherapist are called clients, and a psychiatrist works with patients.
Let's take a closer look at these concepts so as not to confuse specialists and the concepts of psychotherapy, psychiatry and psychologists.
- Psychotherapist, psychiatrist, psychologist - is there a difference between them
- What exactly does a psychotherapist do?
- The causes of the disease, which are the subject of medical activity of a psychotherapist
- Common causes of a variety of psychological disorders and syndromes
- When to See a Doctor
- Signs of psychological disorders or problems in children: grounds for consulting a psychotherapist
- Treatment methods used by a psychotherapist
A psychiatrist is a specialist with a higher medical education who deals with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with severe mental pathologies. This doctor, firstly, has the right to work with the psychological consequences caused by organic brain damage, and secondly, with severe pathologies and mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, psychosis. The psychiatrist bases the method of prescribed treatment, mainly on the effect of medication, however, in particular, he also applies psychotherapeutic techniques.
The psychotherapist also has a medical education, however, in addition to oral influence on a person, he has the right to prescribe medication. But it must be repeated that all people who are being treated by a psychotherapist do not have severe mental pathologies. And most of the existing disorders are functional in nature.
A psychologist is a specialist who is not a doctor, he does not have the right to prescribe drug therapy, therefore he only influences the conversation and other techniques (Gestalt therapy, body-oriented therapy, etc.) on the human psyche. The psychologist corrects the behavior of a person in a particular stressful situation. Such a specialist has different qualifications and specializations. Therefore, he works with different age groups, provides psychological assistance in various areas of human life - family, business, educational, sports, etc. The psychologist receives a humanitarian education in the field of psychology and is not familiar with the basics of medical diagnostics, therefore he cannot determine the etiology and severity of or other mental disorder.
Thus, a psychiatrist can be both a psychotherapist and a psychologist. Psychotherapy, as a field of medicine and science, appeared at the intersection of psychology and psychiatry. A psychologist cannot perform the functional duties of a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, as he is a scientist, theorist, but not a doctor.
This specialist works with borderline personality states, disorders of perception and behavior. His competence includes, first of all, diagnosing the client's condition, finding out the manifestations and symptoms that led the person to the doctor, as well as establishing the causes of these frightening symptoms.
After the identification of the “enemy” is completed, and the psychotherapist can voice the diagnosis, he decides on the possibility and expediency of the client undergoing treatment in the form of psychotherapy. And in some cases, he redirects his client to a psychiatrist or doctors who specialize in other types of diseases, such as oncologists, cardiologists or neurologists.
The psychotherapist prescribes not only therapeutic therapy, but also rehabilitation measures, if necessary.
Speaking about where psychotherapy is applied and what it treats, it is necessary to note the main organs and systems of the human body - the brain, the central and peripheral nervous systems. Psychotherapy, its methods and techniques are aimed at the transformation of human consciousness, and sometimes it is called a medicine for the human soul.
What diseases and phenomena does a psychotherapist treat? His extensive list of competencies includes:
- nervous breakdowns and neurasthenia;
- internal and interpersonal conflicts;
- depression and apathy;
- anxiety states, obsessive phobias and fears;
- panic attacks and disorders;
- nervous tic;
- psychosomatic illnesses.
For comparison, a psychiatrist carries out his medical activities in relation to schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorders, epilepsy, the consequences of intoxication with brain damage, the consequences of traumatic brain injuries, neurosis, developmental delays. Alcoholism, drug addiction and some other diseases.
The life of a modern person is full of daily stresses, negative factors and phenomena that test the psyche for strength and stability. Typically, psychotherapists note that their clients come to them for help and advice after experiencing a serious emotional shock, unpleasant or depressing events, for example:
A sudden or constant feeling of psychological discomfort often indicates mental disorders. These manifestations are alarming “bells” that a medical psychotherapist will immediately pay attention to. The most common are:
- a lingering feeling of indifference to people, events, the world around, a state of apathy;
- periodic tantrums and panic attacks, fear, phobias;
- feeling of craving for alcohol, nicotine, other psychoactive substances;
- increased anxiety, irritability, tearfulness;
- depressive states;
- the presence of bad habits, behavioral disorders (for example, overeating or bulimia).
When these conditions or symptoms appear, it makes sense to seek medical help from a specialist psychotherapist.
Behavioral disorders and neurosis in children are a separate area of psychotherapy. It should be noted that a child can become a client of a psychotherapist only when he reaches the age of three, and until that time a neurologist is treating the baby.
Parents should pay attention to possible symptoms or manifestations that indicate some violations of consciousness, psyche, perception. Among them:
- poor performance;
- inappropriate behavior (manifestations of anger, aggression, causeless rudeness, rudeness, cruelty, excessive excitability, hyperactivity);
- general passivity, unwillingness to communicate with others;
- nervous diseases (enuresis, children's fears).
Although this specialist has the right to prescribe drug therapy for his clients, drugs are rarely prescribed in the course of psychotherapy, as a support for the general direction of treatment.
The main technique of helping the client is communication. It is in the process of communication that the doctor can use some methods of psychotherapy aimed at treatment, such as:
- the method of existential psychotherapy, when the doctor and the client analyze not a specific, single manifestation or event, but the whole picture of life as a whole;
- gestalt therapy: based on the principles of self-regulation of the psyche, its self-responsibility and self-awareness;
- dance movement therapy;
- body-oriented therapy.
Among the methods of psychotherapeutic treatment are:
- neuro-linguistic programming;
- conducting psychoanalysis;
- psychological games.
It is important to note that treatment can only be successful if there is trust between the client and the therapist.
The main task of psychotherapy is the consistent achievement of the four stages of treatment: understanding, stress relief, emotional release and coping with the situation. Thanks to a variety of tricks and techniques, a psychotherapist helps his client not only overcome unpleasant feelings, emotions, sensations, syndromes, but also understand what exactly caused them to appear and how to live with it. To avoid similar problems in the future.
The psychotherapist penetrates into the innermost - into the psyche and consciousness of a person, so the requirements for this specialist are very high. For those who want to obtain the right to carry out psychotherapeutic activities, it is necessary: to obtain a higher medical education; work a certain number of years in medical practice; receive appropriate medical training. Including the passage of individual supervision; defend a scientific work in the form of a diploma or dissertation, which describes a specific case of psychotherapy. The total period of education and training of a future psychotherapist can be 3-7 years.
In addition, an important role is played by the personal qualities of a specialist: honesty, empathy, attentiveness, good memory and a broad outlook, the ability for self-learning and self-development.
Psychotherapists are often confused with psychologists and psychiatrists. However, each of these specialists has its own area of responsibility, and if it partially overlaps with psychiatrists, (a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst are doctors with corresponding powers, which can sometimes overlap). That psychologist refers to scientists in the humanities, and cannot diagnose diseases or prescribe their treatment.
Psychotherapists combine in their activities various methods and techniques of communication, less often - drug therapy. In the process of psychotherapy, the client is in a healthy, accepting therapeutic relationship with the doctor, which gives him new experiences and other ways of responding to certain life situations. The psychotherapist should not teach life and give advice in the process of therapy, he helps the person himself to understand his repetitive psychological reactions (patterns of behavior) and find a new (other) healthy response skill.