What Is Psychosocial Treatment?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2019
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Psychosocial treatment is a type of therapy that is used to treat patients with mental disorders that prevent proper social skills from developing and being used. It is a common schizophrenia treatment. Psychosocial treatments are more beneficial for patients when the symptoms of the disorder are either minimal or controlled by medications. Common types of psychosocial treatments include cognitive behavioral, exposure, and interpersonal therapies. Dialectical behavior therapy and psychoeducation are also common choices.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one common type of psychosocial treatment. CBT helps patients with mental disorders learn to change patterns of behaviors and thoughts from negative to positive. By changing the negative aspects, personal and social responses become more appropriate. This treatment can be beneficial for schizophrenia as well as bipolar and manic disorders. It is also beneficial when symptoms of the disorders are managed successfully.

Another type of psychosocial treatment is exposure therapy. This therapy is often chosen for disorders that are stress or trauma related, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A therapist recreates the triggers of the disorder. When the triggers have been identified and accepted by the patient, the therapist can begin teaching the patient how to overcome the triggers. Following repeated sessions, the patient is able to effectively combat any exposure to the triggers.


Interpersonal psychosocial treatment is designed to help people with mental disorders that directly influence interpersonal skills. These skills are necessary to interact with other people. Patients learn how to address problems with socialization, self-isolation, and understanding people. People who suffer from anxiety disorder and depression are ideal candidates, particularly when these conditions directly influence daily life.

Psychosocial treatment can also be in the form of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT combines psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. It is used for mental disorders that cause destructive behavior to the patient or others. A patient works individually with a therapist and in a group setting to learn how to stop destructive behaviors and view life experiences differently. Individual therapy often begins first in order to help the patient gain a trusting relationship with the therapist, and group therapy sessions help the patient identify with and learn from patients with similar experiences.

Psychoeducation is a type of psychosocial treatment that is often used as a part of other therapy treatments. It is a method of patient education. This therapy helps patients and their families learn about the mental disorder, the symptoms, and how to deal with symptoms that arise. The goal is to reduce confusion and stress that surround people with mental disorders and help them understand what they are experiencing.


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