Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental illness, emotional difficulties, or behavioral problems through usually non-invasive psychological means. It is based on the premise that human psychological suffering can be alleviated by speaking and listening. At its core, psychotherapy involves the interpersonal interaction between a trained professional and a suffering individual. Collectively, the varied forms of psychotherapy are often referred to as "talking therapies." The specific techniques used in any psychotherapy depend largely on the theoretical orientation of the psychotherapist. Most approaches to psychotherapy can be traced in origin to one of the following schools: psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, or humanistic. In practice, however, much of what is called psychotherapy today involves an evolving, fluid, and personalized use of techniques that depend on the specific problem, the professional's training, and the sufferer's needs. The goals of all types of psychotherapy typically involve the reduction of symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety), altering maladaptive patterns of living (e.g., alcohol abuse, compulsive gambling), and/or improvement in specific areas of life functioning (e.g., increased capacity for work, creativity, or relationships).
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