Individual psychotherapy (also known as individual therapy or counseling) is a relationship between one person and a licensed therapist with the goal of provoking change and improving the client’s quality of life. Individual therapy is used to treat most mental disorders and resolve issues in various areas including but not limited to self-esteem, depression, anxiety, body image, traumatic experiences, alcohol and drug abuse/addiction, impulse control, and stress management. Therapy involves many techniques and provides clients with the tools to self-manage throughout the therapeutic relationship and maintain after the relationship is terminated. Clients develop insight about their behaviors, thought processes, and coping mechanisms as well as problem-solving skills and alternatives to dysfunctional behaviors and thoughts. Therapists assist clients in making lifestyle changes that will lessen the intensity, frequency, and duration of their disorders and concerns. Some types of individual psychotherapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Metacognitive Therapy (MCT).
Therapists may closely relate to or favor a particular approach over others, but they are free to use techniques and insight from more than one school of therapy. As with all professional relationships, confidentiality is important in individual counseling. Different from group, couples or family therapy, the client is entrusting only one person with his/her information. The therapist is the only one with the responsibility of making sure all communication and personal information disclosed by the client is secured. The therapeutic relationship can last anywhere from weeks to years depending on the client’s needs. Treatment effectiveness is strongly dependent upon the client’s willingness to participate in session and do work between sessions. If the client is dedicated to the cause, he/she will see results reflecting his/her hard work and effort.