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 psychotherapist (audio) \ noun

Examples of psychotherapy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There is little hard evidence to show that long-term psychotherapy is effective in treating mental illness, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Erica Rex, Scientific American, "The Power of Psychedelics," 12 July 2020 The various schools of psychotherapy also see the matter differently. Adrienne Lapidos, The Conversation, "COVID-19 and teletherapy may be changing how much you know about your therapist," 1 July 2020 Group seemed stalled until Lloyd’s fiancée, who works for a social-media analytics platform, noticed that discussions of psychotherapy, loneliness, anxiety, and depression were surging on Twitter. Amy Wallace, The Atlantic, "The Curious Comforts of a YouTube Show About Group Therapy," 11 June 2020 First, the new reality has altered the theatrics of therapy in ways that make both sides of the encounter aware of how much of psychotherapy is theatre to begin with. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "The New Theatrics of Remote Therapy," 25 May 2020 In Japan, hospitals privately set their own costly psychotherapy prices at about $100 (£80) a session. Jinnie Lee,, "For Asians, Treating Our Mental Health Issues Feels Like Having To Pick A Side," 12 May 2020 Others telemedicine psychotherapy services like BetterHelp and Talkspace are experiencing similar trends. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "The Coronavirus Pandemic May Be Causing an Anxiety Pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 Hundreds of clinical trials have shown that various mainstream forms of psychotherapy can help treat many mental afflictions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders. TheWeek, "Talk therapy works — but how?," 2 May 2020 These are also, of course, many of the traditional aims of psychotherapy. John Semley, The New Republic, "Turn On, Tune In, Cash In," 27 Apr. 2020

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

16 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Psychotherapy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for psychotherapy


How to pronounce psychotherapy (audio)

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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