: treatment of mental or emotional disorder or maladjustment by psychological means especially involving verbal communication (as in psychoanalysis, nondirective psychotherapy, reeducation, or hypnosis)
: any alteration in an individual's interpersonal environment, relationships, or life situation brought about especially by a qualified therapist and intended to have the effect of alleviating symptoms of mental or emotional disturbance
Treatment of psychological, emotional, or behaviour disorders through interpersonal communications between the patient and a trained counselor or therapist. The goal of many modern individual and group therapies is to establish a central relationship of trust in which the client or patient can feel free to express personal thoughts and emotions and thus gain insight into his condition and generally share in the healing power of words. Such therapies include psychoanalysis and its variants (seeAlfred Adler; Carl Gustav Jung), client-centred or nondirective psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy (seeGestalt psychology), play and art therapy, and general counseling. In contrast, behaviour therapy focuses on modifying behaviour by reinforcement techniques without concerning itself with internal states.