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An image of a chessboard illustrates the strategic thinking learned in psychotherapy. The pieces are carefully positioned, symbolizing deliberate choices during the therapeutic process. The image represents the ability to plan, anticipate, and make conscious decisions to achieve emotional balance and well-being.

Psychotherapy is development. It has, among other purposes, that of dealing with difficult situations and facilitating the understanding of certain psychological problems. The most common are problems related to depression, anxiety disorders, relationship difficulties, social skills, communication problems, among others.


It is the main line of treatment for subjects related to the psyche (to psychology in general), and consists of interventions in a face-to-face session, in the office, whose main objectives are:


  • Restore the psychic functioning of the person.

  • Allow the person to understand the causes of their problems.

  • Identify and modify unwanted traits in your behavior.

  • Solve specific problems.

  • Observe existential issues.




Psychotherapy is a dialectical process, that is, it is a dialogue between the professional and the person seeking information. Both present, discuss and contrast ideas, with the aim of revising or reaffirming positions and opinions on important issues in the person's life. The best trained and educated professional for this type of activity is a psychologist. There is often a need to work together with Psychiatry professionals, where therapy becomes fundamental for the smooth running and acceptance of treatment.


Techniques and Tools


There are a very large number of psychotherapy techniques. The professional will evaluate each case and decide to apply the most appropriate technique or tool. Different practitioners may opt for different techniques to address similar problems.


Among the most used are Socratic Questioning,  Record of Thoughts (PR) and Psychoeducation. Other common techniques are Problem Solving (RP), Decisional Balance, Role Play, Muscle Relaxation and Diaphragmatic Breathing.


Socratic questioning


It teaches to explore new ideas, to question the way we see the world. It is a technique of systematic, disciplined and profound questioning. The aim is to focus on essential concepts brought by the patient.


Thought Record


It's the practice of making a daily summary of your thoughts, taking into account the context, your mood, your inner lines and everything that supports them. It's like keeping a journal, but about your thoughts and how they influence you.




The way we look at our problems changes the way we deal with them. Psychoeducation encourages understanding of problems. She goes beyond recording thoughts, revealing the various strategies that can be learned to solve everyday problems: environment, physical reactions, moods, behaviors and thoughts. Each interacts with the others, and small changes in any one area can lead to changes in the others.


Effects of Psychotherapy


Psychotherapy makes people see the damage caused by the way they behave and relate to others. It can help stabilize mood, manage anxiety, manage stress, adhere to weight loss diets, develop social skills, improve posture, communication, speech and body language.


Another benefit is learning to identify and correct cognitive distortions, thoughts that are distorted in logic and that usually result in emotional distress or behavioral impairment.


It also helps people of all ages who are going through crisis situations or who have psychic suffering such as relationship difficulties, inhibitions, phobias and organic disturbances with emotional repercussions.




Contrary to popular belief, psychotherapy is not only indicated for people in crisis. It can also be applied to anyone who is motivated to discover aspects of themselves, improve their quality of life, acquire self-knowledge or discover new professional possibilities, helping the person to locate and modify aspects of their life that they consider problematic.




Beck AT, Newman CF. Cognitive Therapy. In: Kaplan & Sadock's. Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry. 8th ed. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005.


Beck, Judith S. Cognitive therapy. Gedisa, 2001.


Image: Maarten van den Heuvel

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