What is the Treatment Process of Therapy?

Learn about the therapeutic process in psychotherapy, including how it is defined, how it differs from therapy session processes, and how counseling psychologists study it.

What is the Treatment Process of Therapy?

Therapy is a complex process that involves a variety of interactions and communications between the patient and the therapist. From this perspective, the therapeutic process includes all the events that can be observed and recorded during therapy sessions. While some researchers believe that the therapeutic process consists of the interactions and communications that take place between the patient and the therapist during therapy sessions, others define it in terms of the changes that patients undergo as they improve. This point of view focuses on the patient's experience and activity inside and outside the session, and considers that much of what happens during therapy sessions is therapeutically inert or non-essential. To clearly distinguish them, these contrasting but somewhat overlapping concepts are referred to as therapy session processes and therapeutic change processes.

Researchers who frame their studies in terms of the session process generally adopt a descriptive, theoretically unbiased approach to defining therapy. On the other hand, researchers who frame their research in terms of processes of change tend to have, and seek to test, a particular theoretical conception of therapy. In order to get the most out of psychotherapy, it is important to approach it as a collaborative effort, be open and honest, and follow the agreed treatment plan. Additionally, tasks such as writing a journal or practicing what you've talked about can be done between sessions. As you progress in your treatment, you may notice that you've achieved one or more of your goals, and you may want to talk to your therapist about how to focus on another area of your mental health.

Counseling psychologists essentially study the same therapeutic process and the same questions about the outcomes as other fields of applied counseling.

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