What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, which is also referred to as therapy, counseling, or “talk therapy,” is a general term that is used to describe treatment processes that mental health providers use to treat mental illness. While undergoing psychotherapy, clients learn about their presenting symptoms and their connections to moods, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

People often seek psychotherapy when they are struggling with life, relationship, work, or mental health related issues for an extended period of time. Depending on the severity of the client’s situation, psychotherapy can often be combined with medications as prescribed by a physician. Psychotherapy as a standalone treatment however, can be very effective for many mental illnesses.  Modern psychotherapy is usually time-limited and geared towards goals that the client establishes.  At the onset of psychotherapy, individuals typically undergo some form of a formative and assessment which can last for a couple of hours. Prior to beginning counseling sessions, individuals typically undergo assessment and co-construct a treatment plan with their therapists. Sessions typically range from 45 to 50 minutes.

For additional information on different types of psychotherapy, visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s website.

Anissa Howard Counseling & Psychotherapy Services, LLC offers several therapeutic services at the Middle Georgia Associates location.

  • Assessment Services
  • Play Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Couples, Relationship, and Marital Therapy
  • Group Therapy

Over time, I have found that certain theoretical approaches work best for specific client problems, but do not feel that there is one particular approach for addressing diverse client needs.


Assessment Services

Assessments are typically completed at the start of therapy for diagnostic purposes. Often, therapists may also use the information gathered at the time of assessment to make recommendations and referrals to other professionals who may assist in helping the individual or family achieve their goals. Assessments are provided to both children and adults to address questions related to cognitive, emotional/behavioral and academic/vocational functioning.

Play Therapy

According to the Association for Play Therapy, play therapy is “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.” Under the guidance of a trained clinician, play therapy allows individuals to express thoughts and feelings in a nonthreatening way. Play therapists believe that “play” presents an additive value to the psychosocial development and mental health of all persons. Play therapists use various expressive arts modalities such as drawing, sand tray, dance, and puppetry, to help clients express their emotions through “play.”  Although most commonly used with children, play therapy can also be used with adults. For more information about the various play therapy techniques that I use, take a look at my Play Therapy Life Hacks page on this website.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a mode of treatment for emotional and behavioral disorders that uses face to face interactions between a therapist and client. The primary goal of this type of treatment is to help the client achieve emotional growth and to relieve psychological distress.  Adults, adolescents, and children can participate in individual therapy, as there are many different forms of support and therapy for people of all ages.

Some common concerns that individuals seek therapy for include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual & physical abuse
  • Sexual concerns
  • Co-parenting issues
  • Separation and Divorce
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • School consultation
  • Conflict with family members
  • Anger management
  • Behavior problems, disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders
  • Sexual identity, gay and lesbian issues
  • Death, grief, and loss
  • Depressive Disorders
  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Career Counseling

Family Therapy

According to Holm, Bowler, Make, & Wamboldt (2009), unsupportive family relationships are associated with psychological distress. In other words, family relationships are important for psychological health.  When engaging in family counseling, therapists apply a systematic relational focus to help families work through or adjust to issues and challenges that may impact the family unit.  The primary objective of family therapy is to promote strong, positive, and healthy family relationships.

Some common family counseling concerns that therapists are asked to assist with include, but are not limited to:

  • Poor relationships between family members
  • Child/Adolescent behavior problems
  • Disagreements over child rearing
  • Repeated unresolved issues
  • Job change/relocation
  • Unresolved financial matters
  • Chronic illness
  • Caring for aging parents
  • Preparing for military deployment/return
  • In-law difficulties
  • Terminal illness of family member or extended family relative

 Couples, Relationship, and Marital Therapy

Relationships have their difficulties which sometimes can create vulnerabilities. The appearance of these difficulties however, does not mean that the relationship is destined to fail. There are many resources available that can help couples communicate issues and overcome obstacles to intimacy and satisfaction. Couples/marital counseling can be a very helpful means for couples who desire a blissful long-term relationship. In couples/marital counseling, the therapists works to improve communication and help couples build a nurturing and supportive alliance.

Anissa Howard Counseling and Psychotherapy Services, LLC now offers skills based training that utilizes the Prepare/Enrich assessment tool. This well-researched tool is tailored to the unique strengths and potential growth areas of couples. This tool also provides a means by which couples can learn ways to strengthen and  enhance their relationships.

Group Therapy

Group counseling involves a small group of individuals (usually 5-8 persons) who meet together regularly to address concerns that may be common to all group members. The group setting is a very unique therapeutic modality, which may not be the best means of healing for some individuals. For this reason, prior to participation in a group, members often undergo a screening process. Screening is a procedure used to ensure that the group setting is a viable means for promoting group and healing for an individual. Under the direction of group facilitators, the group is able to provide support, offer alternatives, and confront one another in a way that promotes healing and growth.  Groups can either be psychoeducational or supportive. Psychoeducational groups aim to help group members learn and implement specific skills whereas, supportive groups use the group setting to provide members with  warmth, encouragement, and a platform for self-reflection.

Anissa K. Howard Counseling & Psychotherapy Services, LLC develops group programs in response to the needs of her client base on an ongoing manner. As a practitioner, Anissa has facilitated several therapeutic groups on a variety of topics including self-esteem, problem-solving, anger management, and self-injurious behaviors to name a few.

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Clients served


Children (ages 4-adolescence)