Supportive Therapy

Supportive Therapy

Supportive Therapy

Treatment Options - Supportive Therapy

Supportive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that relies on a strong and productive relationship between you and the therapist. The therapy focuses on helping you deal with emotional distress and issues that impact your ability to live your everyday life. 

Supportive therapy enables you to deal with everyday life stressors that can be more challenging when dealing with mental health issues, such as treatment-resistant depression. It is designed to help you navigate through problems with empathy, compassion, and comfort. 

With supportive therapy, the therapist provides a safe emotional outlet for you. It is a space where you can express yourself and be yourself. 

What Supportive Therapy Is Used to Treat

Supportive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can be used to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, such as

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance-use disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Postpartum depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Relationship issues
  • Disordered thinking
  • Disorganized behaviors 

Supportive therapy is one of seven psychotherapy interventions for treating depression in adults as recommended by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Clinical Practice Guideline

How Supportive Therapy Works

Supportive therapy is about building ongoing rapport between yourself and your therapist. Supportive therapy is non-directive, which means that the therapist will follow your lead when structuring individual sessions. 

Supportive therapy isn’t time-limited. That means that how often and for how long you meet with the therapist is something you determine together when assessing your treatment goals and needs. 

Supportive therapy is based on establishing a connection with your therapist and thus is generally recommended as a long-term therapy option. On average, adults with depression receive between four to twenty sessions of supportive therapy, either weekly or bi-weekly. However, your unique situation determines the number of sessions and how long you need them. 

During a typical session, you will work with your therapist to agree on the goals or tasks you want to achieve. Common tasks that may occur during a supportive therapy session include: 

  • Role-playing
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Graded exposure
  • Visualization and imagery
  • Behavior rehearsal 

You may also be given homework to do outside of your sessions. The goal of the homework is to allow you to practice and apply what you learn in therapy to your daily life. 

During your session, you should feel free to talk about what is going on in your life. This is a safe space where you can vent and reflect on what is happening in your life, where the therapist provides feedback and clarity.  

Supportive therapy can be provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, health counselors, and social workers. It can take place in the therapist's office, or it can take place over a telehealth session. 

Intervention Techniques Used in Supportive Therapy

Supportive therapy is based on the relationship between the patient and the therapist. It is about the therapist showing genuine care for you by listening with empathy and allowing you to define what successful treatment looks like. The therapist is there to provide positive affirmation and support for what you are facing right now in your life. 

Specific intervention techniques can be used during supportive therapy sessions. 

Alliance Building

With alliance building, the therapist will drop the use of technical jargon and engage with you in a more collaborative discussion using a more informal conversational style. This intervention technique is designed to help make you feel more comfortable talking to your therapist. It is about developing rapport more easily. 

Esteem Building

One of the main goals of supportive therapy is to help you build your self-esteem. One way this is achieved is by the therapist reassuring and normalizing your thoughts and feelings and encouraging you as you share with them. 

Skills Building

To deal with the life stressors you are currently facing, sometimes you need to build certain skills. Your therapist will help you build the skills you need to handle the particular stressors in your life, so you can handle them when you encounter them in your daily life. 

Reducing and Preventing Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of everyday life. Your therapist will work with you to help reduce and prevent anxiety in your daily life by working together to examine and rethink situations that cause you to feel anxious. 

Expanding Awareness

Your therapist will work with you to help you develop self-awareness. This is done by clarifying, confronting, and interpreting situations you experience daily. 

These are some primary intervention techniques used in supportive therapy to help you deal with your everyday life stressors. 

Get the Help You Need for Depression with Supportive Therapy

Options MD can help you get the help you need for your treatment-resistant depression. Supportive therapy is just one of over 200 science-backed, cutting-edge treatment options that our psychiatry experts access. We will work closely with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your unique situation. 

We also started the largest community of people with severe and treatment-resistant depression. It is a safe, collaborative, and supportive place to learn about better medication options and leading-edge treatments. Join today to get access to qualified doctors and find friendship and support.

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