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

Art Therapy The older sister of adult coloring books and therapy dough, this integrative psychotherapy uses drawing, painting, and other creative projects to improve well-being. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "Feeling Anxious? So Is Everyone Else. This Guide Will Help.," 8 July 2019 Some patients do well with psychotherapy, others do well on medication, while others might need a combination approach. Erika Edwards, NBC News, "Drug to increase women's sex drive on track to win FDA approval," 21 June 2019 Robertson, a cognitive therapist, points out that the new model of psychotherapy is strongly influenced by stoicism, in contrast to Freud who just wanted to talk about your mother. Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Stoicism and the art of happiness," 24 June 2019 After that, Children’s Home & Aid sent Matias to child-parent psychotherapy designed to help him bond with his son. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, "For generations, Illinois’ child welfare agency has failed to adequately serve Spanish-speaking families with children in its care.," 20 June 2019 Remote psychotherapy, behavioral training and prescription-drug therapy can be offered through doctors’ offices, schools, correctional facilities and homes. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The Psychiatrist Can See Your Child Now, Virtually," 8 Jan. 2019 Seeking treatment can help save relationships Treatments for BPD, which include several different types of psychotherapy, are designed to help patients reframe their thinking and manage their emotions. Amanda Macmillan,, "How Borderline Personality Disorder Affects Relationships," 6 June 2019 Books about psychotherapy can often seem suspiciously tidy. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘The Incurable Romantic’ Review: Truly, Madly, Deeply," 5 Oct. 2018 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

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

13 Jul 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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