PREVALENCE - United States and Worldwide

Among Children and Adolescents
Among the Elderly
Among the Poor and Among Men and Women
Changing Rates of Mental Illness


Anxiety Disorders and Mood Disorders
Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
Personality and Cognitive Disorders
Dissociative, Somatoform and Factitious Disorders
Substance-Related, Eating and Impulse-Control Disorders


Biological Perspective
Psychodynamic, Humanistic and Existential Perspectives
Behavioral, Cognitive and Sociocultural Perspective



Drug Therapy
Individual Psychotherapy
Group and Family Therapies
Electroconvulsive Therapy and Psychosurgery
Treatment Settings
Treatment in Non-Western Countries


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Mental Illness

Individual Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for many mental illnesses. Unlike drug therapy, psychotherapy produces no physical side effects, although it can cause psychological damage when improperly administered. On the other hand, psychotherapy may take longer than drugs to produce benefits. In addition, sessions may be expensive and time-consuming. In response to this complaint and demands from insurance companies to reduce the costs of mental health treatment, many therapists have started providing therapy of shorter duration. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

A psychologist listens to her client during a psychotherapy session. Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for many mental disorders. Some forms of psychotherapy try to help people resolve their internal, unconscious conflicts, and other forms teach people skills to correct their abnormal behavior. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

Psychotherapy encompasses a wide range of techniques and practices. Some forms of psychotherapy, such as psychodynamic therapy and humanistic therapy, focus on helping people understand the internal motivations for their problematic behavior. Other forms of therapy, such as behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy, focus on the behavior itself and teach people skills to correct it. The majority of therapists today incorporate treatment techniques from a number of theoretical perspectives. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy combines aspects of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

Psychodynamic therapy is one of the most common forms of psychotherapy. The therapist focuses on a personís past experiences as a source of internal, unconscious conflicts and tries to help the person resolve those conflicts. Some therapists may use hypnosis to uncover repressed memories. Psychoanalysis, a technique developed by Freud, is one kind of psychodynamic therapy. In psychoanalysis, the person lies on a couch and says whatever comes to mind, a process called free association. The therapist interprets these thoughts along with the personís dreams and memories. Classical psychoanalysis, which requires years of intensive treatment, is not as widely practiced today as in previous years. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

Both humanistic therapy and existential therapy treat mental illnesses by helping people achieve personal growth and attain meaning in life. The best-known humanistic therapy is client-centered therapy, developed by Carl Rogers in the 1950s. In this technique, the therapist provides no advice but restates the observations and insights of the client (the person in treatment) in nonjudgmental terms. In addition, the therapist offers the person unconditional empathy and acceptance. Existential therapists help people confront basic questions about the meaning of their lives and guide them toward discovery of their own uniqueness. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

Psychotherapists who practice behavioral therapy do not focus on a personís past experiences or inner life. Instead, they help the person to change patterns of abnormal behavior by applying established principles of conditioning and learning. Behavioral therapy has proven effective in the treatment of phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other disorders. See Behavior Modification. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

The goal of cognitive therapy is to identify patterns of irrational thinking that cause a person to behave abnormally. The therapist teaches skills that enable the person to recognize the irrationality of the thoughts. The person eventually learns to perceive people, situations, and himself or herself in a more realistic way and develops improved problem-solving and coping skills. Psychotherapists use cognitive therapy to treat depression, panic disorder, and some personality disorders. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

Rehabilitation programs assist people with severe mental illnesses in learning independent living skills and in obtaining community services. Counselors may teach them personal hygiene skills, home cleaning and maintenance, meal preparation, social skills, and employment skills. In addition, case managers or social workers may help people with mental illnesses obtain employment, medical care, housing, education, and social services. Some intensive rehabilitation programs strive to provide active follow-up and social support to prevent hospitalization. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

Therapists often use play therapy to treat young children with depression, anxiety disorders, and problems stemming from child abuse and neglect. The therapist spends time with the child in a playroom filled with dolls, puppets, and drawing materials, which the child may use to act out personal and family conflicts. The therapist helps the child recognize and confront his or her feelings. (Individual Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Mental Illness)

Individual Psychotherapy | Psychotherapy Mental Illness