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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Glossary

Couples Counseling and Family Therapy: These two similar approaches to therapy involve discussions and problem-solving sessions facilitated by a therapist—sometimes with the couple or entire family group, sometimes with individuals. Such therapy can help couples and family members improve their understanding of, and the way they respond to, one another. This type of therapy can resolve patterns of behavior that might lead to more severe mental illness. Family therapy may be very useful with children and adolescents who are experiencing problems. Family therapy can help educate individuals about the nature of a particular disorder and teach them skills to cope better with the effects of having a family member with a mental illness—such as how to deal with feelings of anger or guilt. In addition, family therapy can help members identify and reduce factors that may trigger or worsen the disorder.

Group Therapy: This form of therapy involves groups of usually 4 to 12 people who have similar problems and who meet regularly with a therapist. The therapist uses the emotional interactions of the group's members to help them get relief from distress and possibly modify their behavior. Specific groups are also devoted to acquiring and practicing new skills.

Individual Psychotherapy: Through one-on-one conversations, this approach focuses on the patient's current life and relationships within the family, social, and work environments. The goal is to identify and resolve problems with insight, as well as build on strengths, teach new skills and improve functioning in real life.

(Medication) Biomedical Treatment: Medication alone, or in combination with psychotherapy, has proven to be an effective treatment for a number of emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders. The kind of medication a psychiatrist prescribes varies with the disorder and the individual being treated. For example, some people who suffer from anxiety, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and schizophrenia find their symptoms improve dramatically through careful monitoring of appropriate medication.

Strengths: These are the positive characteristics of an individual or family. Everyone, no matter how severe their problems are, has things they do well, people they like, and activities they enjoy.

Treatment Plan: This is a written document that lists and describes all the testing and treatment services a patient will receive. Treatment plans include information about a patient's strengths, problems, history, and needs. A treatment plan identifies treatment is designed to accomplish as well as how and when progress will be assessed. The treatment plan also includes information on aftercare or continued care, which means what services or supports are recommended at the conclusion of treatment.

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