Psychotherapy is a process which, due to the need to adapt to the personal characteristics of each patient and to the state in which they find themselves throughout the intervention, has different parts organized sequentially, each with their logics. and their rhythms.
If you want to know what they are phases of psychotherapyIn addition to the goals each of them focuses on, keep reading.
Summary of the stages of psychotherapy and its objectives
We will give here a brief summary of the phases of psychological therapy by specifying the objectives of each of these stages and the characteristics of the service offered to the patient.
Of course, it should be borne in mind that there are several types of therapy and each of them has certain variations and particular characteristics; We will take here as a reference model the sessions intended for a patient who assists the psychologist individually, either by coming to the latter’s practice, or by means of online video call sessions.
1. Case assessment
The first phase is always the evaluation phase. Most of this takes the form of an interview in which the patient explains what is happening to them (or what they think will happen to them), the psychologist asks questions and establishes the foundations of the therapeutic relationship, and if necessary, psychological tests are applied, Such as personality tests, cognitive assessment tests, etc. It may also be advisable to perform neurological tests if there are signs of medical problems.
Thus, the main objective of this phase is to ask for enough information to begin to sketch the root of the problem of the person, and to know his personal and contextual characteristics (i.e. his lifestyle and the environments in which it is usually found). exposed). All of this will be essential to continue working.
2. Generation of hypotheses
In the second phase of the therapy process, the possible causes of what is happening to the patient are excluded (with caution and taking into account that no conclusion is yet final) and possible explanations are established about the problem to be treated and what can be finished.
This way, from the information collected initially, indications emerge on the possible solutions to be adopted according to the criteria of the professional and the indications of the diagnostic manuals, if the case is that one is confronted with a potential psychological disorder. Finally, one of the hypotheses is chosen and the work begins.
At this stage of therapy, the psychologist explains the conclusions he has reached so far, and takes into account the reaction and additional information that the patient provides. The goal is avoid possible errors due to missing information, Refer the case to another professional if necessary (this happens when the problem is beyond one’s own training or experience as a therapist) as well as take into account the patient’s attitude to the chosen hypothesis and its implications.
Once this is done, an action plan is explained to the person and agreement is sought on what the goal of the therapeutic intervention should be (Because to achieve this, you need the commitment and involvement of the patient).
4. Therapeutic intervention (treatment)
This is the fundamental phase of the therapeutic process, as it is a psychological “training” program in which the person periodically attends sessions and achieves sub-goals between sessions, always from what you have. learned during your meetings with the professional and after your directions.
In other words, part of it goes before the psychotherapist and the rest takes place in the private (or professional, if applicable) life of the patient. Whenever you choose to achieve more lofty goals, following an ascending difficulty curve and adapted to the degree of progression of the person.
The goal is for the person to internalize the resources to manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviors by interacting with others and those around them in general.
On the other hand, if at a given moment there is a significant change in the information that the patient expresses or reveals about himself and that calls into question the appropriateness of the form of intervention followed, the psychologist returns to the hypothesis formulation phase. .
The psychologist always does monitoring of the patient’s progress, difficulties, emotional state and any complaints or doubts. However, towards the end of psychotherapy sometimes more sessions are spaced out and you see how the person is exercising independently without as much professional supervision.
The goal of this phase of psychotherapy is make the patient adapt to a lifestyle in which he no longer needs to attend sessions regularly with the psychologist, checking that this is not a problem for him and that he can assimilate it normally, keeping in mind the learnings and behavior patterns acquired during therapy.
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- Wampold, BE; Flückiger, C .; Del Re, AC; Yulish, NE; Frost, ND; Pace, BT; et al. (2017). Searching for the Truth: A Critical Review of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Meta-analysis. Research in Psychotherapy, 27 (1): pages 14-32.