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  1. Paul Crits-Christoph,
  2. Mary Beth Connolly Gibbons

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0752

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Crits-Christoph, P. and Connolly Gibbons, M. B. 2010. Psychotherapy. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. University of Pennsylvania

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


What is psychotherapy? Although originally defined as one-on-one sessions of a patient and therapist with the intent of changing the inner workings of the patient's psychological life, over the past several decades, psychotherapy has broadened in its formats, participants, procedures, and focus (there are now more than 250 different forms of psychotherapy), so that any definition of psychotherapy must be far-ranging enough to encompass the full spectrum of different psychotherapies. What relaxation therapy, family therapy, cognitive therapy, group therapy, insight-oriented therapy, play therapy (with children), and exposure therapy—to name a few—have in common is a set of psychological or behavioral procedures, delivered by one or more therapists, designed to change the thoughts, feelings, somatic symptoms, or behaviors of one or more participants who are seeking help.


  • psychodynamic therapy;
  • behavior therapy;
  • cognitive therapy