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

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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 In psychotherapy, patients could interrogate and resolve the problem that brought these feelings into being. Aviva Stahl, Wired, 8 July 2021 The average person doesn’t necessarily need long-term, intensive psychotherapy. Dorothy Dworkin,, 11 June 2021 The mental health professionals are trained in cognitive behavioral therapy as opposed to intensive Freudian psychotherapy. Dorothy Dworkin,, 11 June 2021 Treatment for more extreme levels of anxiety require effective psychotherapy with a mental health professional who can offer cognitive therapy or other treatments that gradually expose a person to a stressful situation to resolve their fears. Melba Newsome, Scientific American, 3 May 2021 Experts say stigma and stereotypes, coupled with cultural and language barriers and inequitable resource allocation, prevent many Asian Americans from accessing psychotherapy., 6 June 2021 Federal prosecutors said that for two years beginning in 2018, Dunlap billed the state for non existent psychotherapy services. Edmund H. Mahony,, 5 June 2021 Another 175 students receive ongoing psychotherapy in the board’s four satellite clinics. Stewart Ain,, 3 June 2021 Unlike forms of psychotherapy that probe the root causes of psychological problems, often going back to childhood, C.B.T. seeks to help people identify their distorted ways of thinking and understand how that affects their behavior in negative ways. New York Times, 1 June 2021

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of psychotherapy was circa 1890

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Statistics for psychotherapy

Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Psychotherapy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for psychotherapy



English Language Learners Definition of psychotherapy

: treatment of mental or emotional illness by talking about problems rather than by using medicine or drugs


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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