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

Therapists who blame early experience and mental conflicts recommend psychotherapy. David P. Barash, WSJ, "‘Good Reasons for Bad Feelings’ Review: Suffering’s Silver Lining," 13 Feb. 2019 Goals and successes in psychotherapy can also change over time, as therapy itself is a very dynamic process. SELF, "How Can You Tell if Therapy Is Actually Working?," 11 Dec. 2018 Group therapy, also known as psychotherapy groups, are led by therapists. Brittany Risher, SELF, "How to Know If Group Therapy Might Be Right for You," 14 Feb. 2019 This multi-disciplinary approach includes psychotherapy, working with a nutritionist or doctor, and meeting with a psychiatrist as well, if anxiety and depression are contributing factors. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Here's How to Tell If You Have Binge Eating Disorder," 8 Feb. 2019 So health providers increasingly are trying a new approach for these older patients: online psychotherapy. Emily Holland, WSJ, "Online Psychotherapy for the Elderly," 6 Feb. 2019 Mental health treatment for bipolar disorder can consist of a combination of medications — namely mood stabilizers —and psychotherapy. Edmi Y. Cortes Torres, M.d., miamiherald, "How to manage the highs and lows that Is bipolar disorder," 7 May 2018 Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are using interpersonal psychotherapy, which focuses on improving relationships as a way to relieve depression symptoms, with pregnant patients. Andrea Petersen, WSJ, "Therapy for Pregnant Women With Anxiety Offers Alternative to Medication," 3 Nov. 2018 Two small studiespublished in 2016 by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and New York University found that a single large dose of psilocybin, combined with psychotherapy, helped relieve depression and anxiety in cancer patients. Barbara Feder Ostrov, Washington Post, "First, Marijuana. Are Magic Mushrooms Next?," 14 May 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.

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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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Statistics for psychotherapy

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for psychotherapy

The first known use of psychotherapy was circa 1890

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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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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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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