psy·​cho·​ther·​a·​py | \ ˌsī-kō-ˈther-ə-pē How to pronounce psychotherapy (audio) \

Definition of psychotherapy

: treatment of mental or emotional disorder or of related bodily ills by psychological means

Other Words from psychotherapy

psychotherapist \ ˌsī-​kō-​ˈther-​ə-​pist How to pronounce psychotherapy (audio) \ noun

Examples of psychotherapy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Such interventions should go hand-in-hand with psychotherapy and aren’t meant to replace prescription drugs, Naidoo said. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2022 Guralnik’s style, while entertaining and well suited for television, may not capture the actual norms of contemporary psychotherapy. The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 Both psychotherapy and medication therapy are effective, but both need time to work, which is why a short-term treatment with clonazepam, or similar, is appropriate, with plans to get off that medicine when the other treatments become effective. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 8 Sep. 2022 Help can come in the form of psychotherapy or counseling. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022 This was one of the major limitations of the study, along with an inability to evaluate effects in different subgroups, such as women or those with psychiatric comorbidity, or to understand how psychotherapy and psilocybin interact. Olivia Goldhill, STAT, 27 Aug. 2022 Less intensive psychotherapy and the treatment modalities known as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) also exist. Daphne Merkin, The Atlantic, 10 July 2022 Clayton had tried psychotherapy and an arsenal of traditional oral antidepressants over the years, but her severe depressive symptoms and suicidal ideations persisted. Raleigh Mcelvery, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 May 2022 The support and treatment for depression that the task force recommended at the time included antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both. Caroline Chirichella,, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'psychotherapy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of psychotherapy

circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for psychotherapy

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for psychotherapy

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The first known use of psychotherapy was circa 1890

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Psychotherapy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for psychotherapy


psy·​cho·​ther·​a·​py | \ ˌsī-kō-ˈther-ə-pē How to pronounce psychotherapy (audio) \
plural psychotherapies

Medical Definition of psychotherapy

1 : treatment of mental or emotional disorder or maladjustment by psychological means especially involving verbal communication (as in psychoanalysis, nondirective psychotherapy, reeducation, or hypnosis)
2 : 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


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