There are many different types of psychologist treatment available for those who need it. Treatment from a psychologist involves some type of talk therapy, because a psychologist is not permitted to prescribe medication to treat mental illness; that is the job of a psychiatrist. A psychologist and a psychiatrist may, on occasion, work together in the treatment of a patient.
Psychologist treatment may include psychoanalysis or psychodynamic therapy, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, or group therapy, just to name a few. These are often referred to by various terms, but most psychologists will work with patients within one of these methods. A psychologist will often specialize in one type of therapy, both because he or she believes it is the most effective and to provide the best psychologist treatment possible to patients.
Psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapy is one of the least common methods, and is based on the teachings of Sigmund Freud. In this method, the psychologist spends a great deal of time simply listening to the patient talk about his or her life in an attempt to identify the events in childhood or early life that led to psychological distress. This type of therapy is often considered to be quite expensive and time consuming, though many people find it effective.
Cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy may be approached individually, though they often go hand-in-hand and become what is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy. In cognitive therapy, the psychologist treatment seeks to identify and change harmful thought patterns, irrational thinking, or incorrect perceptions. Behavioral therapy, conversely, looks at a patient's behaviors and seeks to identify why he or she consistently performs harmful actions, which may or may not be based on conscious thought patterns. It is easy to see why cognitive and behavioral therapies are often considered together in psychologist treatment.
In group therapy, a psychologist will work with a number of people all dealing with the same challenges in life or similar issues. The psychologist will moderate the discussion, but the patients will interact with each other. This provides an extra support system to many people, as well as the ability to speak freely to others without being judged.
The ultimate goal of psychologist treatment is generally to help people learn to deal with their problems in a healthy and productive way. Different methods may work better for different people, so it is important to find the appropriate psychologist and the most effective treatment methods. If a psychologist believes medication is necessary in conjunction with therapy, he or she will typically be able to refer patients to a psychiatrist.