Psychotherapy knowing the differences to choose well.?


Each psychotherapy has its own characteristics. They have very big differences between them. This page will help you understand these differences, the pros and cons of each, and how tracking takes place. The goal is that you do not waste time in psychotherapy that will be of no use to you.

Editor: Dr Nicolas Neveux, Psychiatrist in Paris, Member of the National Professional Council of Psychiatry , Former Vice-President of the Commission for the Evaluation of Psychotherapies, Member of the Regional Commission for the Approval of Training Establishments in Clinical Psychopathology for the ARS IDF .

Discover the characteristics of the main forms of psychotherapy.

The indication for psychotherapy must be made by a psychiatrist in order to organize the therapeutic strategy, after a psychiatric diagnosis has been made (see on this page for the differences between psychiatrist and psychologist ).

Once the indication of a psychotherapy is made, consult only professionals whose training is recognized.

Not all psychotherapies are equal in terms of effectiveness.

Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT) , EMDR, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and systemic therapy are the only ones to have proven their effectiveness scientifically (1).

Finally, the videos of the discovery cycle of psychotherapies will allow you to learn more about each of them.

Psychotherapy: what does this term correspond to?

1. What is psychotherapy used for?

Psychotherapies, whatever they are, consist in re-establishing the self-determinism of the patient . If one is a behaviorist, one would say that the patient is caught up in his patterns. If we do interpersonal therapy, we model the problems in interpersonal dysfunction. Conversely, an analyst will speak of unconscious conflicts.

In all cases, psychotherapy helps the patient to overcome a mental configuration that restricts him in his faculty of choice . Thus, psychotherapy attempts to improve symptoms and quality of life using only talk. Indeed, it is the verbal exchange between the patient and the therapist that allows this improvement.

No psychotherapy gives universal keys or solutions. On the other hand, the therapist will help the patient to find the solutions that are specific to him, thanks to methods specific to each type of therapy.

Attention! “Doing good through words” is not enough to constitute psychotherapy. Go play some tennis, it feels good. But this is not psychotherapy. Having a drink with a friend is good, but it’s not psychotherapy!

The message: only go to psychotherapy if it is effective.

2. Who can practice psychotherapy?

This point is fixed by decree. Only psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and psychotherapists can practice psychotherapy. These professions have commonalities and differences that you can discover on the dedicated page. It is fundamental to know these differences, so as not to waste time!

On this subject, the following pages allow a better understanding

know how to choose a therapist

know the differences between shrink, psychotherapist, psychiatrist

3. What are the different psychotherapies and their effectiveness?

We do not list all types of psychotherapies, because only a small number have proven clinical effectiveness . Alas, not all are equal.

It is important to keep in mind that there are countless practices that claim to be psychotherapy. Some do not seem dangerous, others are simply ineffective, others are downright quackery. We will therefore speak here only of authentic psychotherapies, with a sufficiently robust foundation. We won’t waste time with others.

Systemic therapy

These are the four that we advise you to focus on. Not only have they proven their effectiveness in a serious and scientific way, but they are effective in many disorders. They appear in the recommendations of many countries or international organizations.


Among those that have not proven their effectiveness , we will discuss two that are very widespread: psychoanalysis and mindfullness (full consciousness). It is only because you are likely to come across their name that we will approach them. The goal is to provide useful information. Also, it seems important that you can make your opinion on them.

In the following, we offer some elements to give you a general idea of ​​each of them, while inviting you to consult the dedicated pages if you want additional details. Also, please note that each of these types of psychotherapy has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The other approaches, very numerous and more or less known, will be left aside. We will talk about them if one day they scientifically prove their effectiveness. Gestalt, LCI (Life Cycle Integration), etc. are therefore not listed here.

What are the risks of choosing the wrong psychotherapy?

Despite all the information available, we still see people wasting their time with ineffective psychotherapy. In this way, patients will follow a process that claims to be “psychotherapy”, sometimes for years, without valid progress. In the end, these people often see their situation worsen. Thus, we see TOCs go from 30 min per day to 8 hours per day because of the delay in treatment. And worse, they have often lost years of life that cannot be recovered.

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