What Is Talk Therapy? (Different Types And Skills Necessary)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 5 February 2023

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Talk therapy is a mental health treatment technique that professionals implement to communicate with their patients. Talk therapy professionals help their clients identify issues like depression, anxiety, emotions, personality or behavioural disorders. If you aspire to become a talk therapist, then it is important for you to know the different types of talk therapy available and the skills required to be successful.

In this article, we explain what talk therapy is, what the different types of talk therapy are, what talk therapists do, the benefits of a career in this field and the various skills required to become a talk therapist.

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What Is Talk Therapy?

Knowing the answer to the question 'What is talk therapy?' is essential if you are looking to pursue a career as a talk therapist. Using this technique helps professionals in identifying issues that may lead to emotional distress in their patients. These emotional issues, if they become too complex, may even lead to anxiety and depression.

After identifying the issues, talk therapists help in understanding how the different stresses one may face which is affecting their life. They then work on developing solutions and strategies for helping in decreasing the severity of the symptoms. In less severe cases, talk therapy works as a medium through which patients may simply discuss their emotions and feelings triggered by a medical illness, daily stresses, grief and loss, relationship issues or some specific trauma.

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Types Of Talk Therapy

Here are the different types of talk therapy:

Behavioural Therapy

In behavioural therapy, the therapist focuses on the behaviour of their clients. They try to identify negative and unhealthy or self-destructive behavioural patterns in their patients. The therapists then focus on reducing or eliminating these behaviours. They also work on developing positive and healthy habits in their clients through positive reinforcement.

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Cognitive Therapy

In cognitive therapy, the therapist works with their clients to identify faulty or negative thought patterns that may contribute to a problem. They then help their clients modify the negative thoughts to positive ones through different techniques. The aim is to change these negative or unhelpful thoughts into more balanced thoughts where the patients see both the negative and positive aspects of any situation instead of focusing only on the negative aspects.

Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy works with the principle that you may lead your most fulfilling life by being your true self. This mental health technique emphasises that each individual looks at the world in their own way and this viewpoint impacts a person's actions and choices. This technique also emphasises that individuals can make the correct choices for themselves.

In humanistic therapy, the therapist works with their clients to develop an unconditional positive outlook, both for themselves and for others. These professionals help their clients in developing self-acceptance so that they can focus on developing themselves rather than fixating on others' opinions. The therapists offer their clients a safe mental space, free from judgment from others, to work on their personal growth and empower themselves to lead happier lives.

Psychodynamic Therapy

In psychodynamic therapy, a therapist focuses on the unconscious motivations and meanings of the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of their clients. The aim of the therapist in this technique is to develop a trust-based relationship with their clients. The therapist focuses on helping their clients understand how the events in their past are affecting their mental health currently.

This mental health technique works on the premise that a person's prior experiences govern how they may act or behave. The therapists help their clients explore such events from their past so that they gain a better understanding of which experiences are affecting their current behaviour. The therapists may then suggest coping mechanisms to their clients based on this understanding.

Holistic Or Integrative Therapy

In holistic or integrative therapy, a therapist does not necessarily focus on only one specific therapy technique. They use the different elements from several therapy techniques and blend them together to suit the requirements of their clients. This therapy technique may prove very helpful, as it specifically treats the issues of a client, as some elements of other techniques might not always be very helpful for all patients and can sometimes save time.

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Benefits Of A Career In Talk Therapy

Below are a few benefits of pursuing a career in talk therapy:

Flexible Schedule

Working as a talk therapist may allow you to work in private practices or such settings where you can work on a part-time basis or during non-traditional work hours. This means you can have a flexible schedule without the requirement of working a fixed full-time workday. Such a schedule may be helpful for you if you have any outside of work commitments that require significant attention from your end.

Flexible Work Environment

As a talk therapist, you also get a lot of flexibility in terms of your job location. You may work in a traditional medical practice setting or you may choose to work directly at your client's location. There may also be an option to work at the offices of the companies that may hire you to offer your services to their employees. You may even work by having a separate office space in your home.

Opportunity For Solo Practice

You may have your own solo practice when working as a talk therapist. You may have your own office and offer your services from there. This can be an especially favourable prospect for those who can perform better without supervision.

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Skills Required To Become A Talk Therapist

Here are a few skills that you may work on acquiring if you are planning for a career as a talk therapist:

Empathy And Compassion

Talk therapists work on helping and caring for people in a variety of capacities, so this job may be more suitable for those people who are naturally humane and empathetic. Individuals who seek help from talk therapists look for care and a professional effort to understand them. Successful talk therapists can promote acceptance and belongingness in their patients.

Communication Skills

The work of talk therapists involves listening to individuals and explaining medications or processes. This work may also require explaining complex medical terms using easy-to-understand language so that their patients can understand their condition and implement the remedies. Other than listening to their clients, they also work closely with other medical professionals, which requires them to communicate clearly about any medical issue or invention or other relevant topics.

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Problem-Solving Skills

Talk therapists work on developing patient-specific treatment procedures and recovery plans. This means that these professionals require problem-solving skills to manage their patients' specific challenges or problems. While assessing the conditions of their patients, considering their medical history and surroundings may help talk therapists in developing effective solutions.

Organisational Skills

Punctuality and being organised are important for a talk therapist. Keeping relevant session notes for patients organised is an essential aspect of this job. Patients depend on these professionals for their documentation, which may include medical forms and insurance paperwork. Talk therapists look to schedule their client appointments in such a way that they may see as many patients as possible. When working in a clinic, they may look to schedule their appointments in such a way that they do not overlap with other therapists or doctors in that clinic.

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Talk therapists usually work with people facing unfamiliar situations or mental challenges. These individuals may also be experiencing vulnerability or anxiety. Being kind and caring can be helpful for therapists in such situations. These professionals may interact with multiple clients in a single day, so it is important that they continue to offer a similar level of efficiency to the patients they examine, making nurturing ability instrumental to successful talk therapy.

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