Individual therapy—also known as psychotherapy, talk therapy, or counseling—is a collaborative process between therapist and client that aims to facilitate change and improve quality of life. Therapy can help people confront barriers that interfere with emotional and mental well-being, and it can also increase positive feelings such as compassion, self-esteem, love, courage, and peace. Many people find they enjoy the therapeutic journey of becoming more self-aware, and they may pursue ongoing psychotherapy as a means of self-growth and self-actualization.
In general, the goal of therapy is to talk through mental health issues and help clients heal, grow, and move toward more productive, psychologically healthy lives. Good therapy is client-driven, and specific goals for therapy will be determined by you and your therapist.
Individual therapy sessions typically last between 45 and 50 minutes. The frequency and duration of therapy will depend largely on your needs, treatment goals, and progress. Many concerns are readily resolved with short-term therapy, and other chronic or more complex concerns require long-term commitment before improvement is realized.
Ultimately, the individual’s desire and determination to heal play an essential role in whether therapy is successful. Research has shown that psychotherapy results in fewer relapses of common conditions such as moderate depression and anxiety, and that the positive effects of good therapy extend well beyond treatment. In fact, many clients report improved conditions long after therapy has ended. In general, psychotherapy is often more effective than psychotropic drugs or medical treatments alone, which may cause harmful side effects. In addition, many therapeutic modalities are evidence-based, meaning they have been subject to research studies and clinical observations, and they have been analyzed for effectiveness.