psy·cho·ther·a·py | \ˌsī-kō-ˈther-ə-pē \

Definition of psychotherapy 

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from psychotherapy

psychotherapist \ˌsī-kō-ˈther-ə-pist \ noun

Examples of psychotherapy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the early 1990s, the FDA approved experiments in which MDMA was used as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Susan Scutti, CNN, "MDMA enhances treatment for veterans with PTSD, study finds," 1 May 2018 The disorder is usually treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both, Dr. Reinecke says, adding that the combination seems to be the most effective. Korin Miller, SELF, "What's the Difference Between Occasional Obsessive Thoughts and OCD?," 1 June 2018 Depending on severity and the other particulars of each individual, adult ADHD may be treated with medications, a particular type of psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Andrea K. Mcdaniels,, "Children aren't the only ones with ADHD; adults get it as well," 17 May 2018 Reich was a controversial Austrian psychotherapist and doctor eventually jailed for his thoughts and practices on psychotherapy using his own scientific creation., "Kylie Jenner, Crystals & Cults: Inside The Mysterious Orgonite Society," 13 July 2018 Gordon noted that psychotherapy and certain psychiatric drugs have been shown to reduce suicidal tendencies. Washington Post, "Celebrity suicides highlight troubling trend in midlife," 8 June 2018 However, the baby boomers are beginning to reach age 65 and older, and this generation has more positive views about psychotherapy and other mental-health treatments. Glenn Ruffenach, WSJ, "Change Your Personality Later in Life? Yes, It Is Possible.," 22 Apr. 2018 The foundation now aims to build an autism village in the same school district with modern facilities such as hospitals, computer labs, psychotherapy centers, playgrounds, and guest rooms. Eam Asaduzzaman And Shababa Iqbal, The Christian Science Monitor, "School in Bangladesh builds confidence for autistic students – and their parents," 10 July 2018 Psychodermatologists use various therapy techniques, including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and, yes, hypnosis, to treat acne, eczema, hair loss, warts, psoriasis, and other visible skin issues. Sarah Ban, SELF, "I Tried Hypnosis for Insomnia. Then My Skin Cleared Up.," 1 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of psychotherapy

circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for psychotherapy

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about psychotherapy

Share psychotherapy

Statistics for psychotherapy

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for psychotherapy

The first known use of psychotherapy was circa 1890

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on psychotherapy

What made you want to look up psychotherapy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!