Psychotherapy, which is commonly referred to as talk therapy, can be used to treat a wide variety of mental heath needs. If you find that your daily routines or lifestyle are inhibited by your psychological well-being or emotional stability, psychotherapy may provide effective treatment. Medicare benefits may help cover the costs of certain types of therapeutic services.

Overview of  Psychotherapy

As described by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), psychotherapy uses a number of techniques to help patients improve their mental health by addressing troublesome behaviors and emotional difficulties. Your needs as a patient will dictate the exact type of therapy your healthcare professional suggests. This can include individual sessions or joint sessions as a couple or family.

Certain medications that help alleviate chronic symptoms of mental illness may also be used in combination with regular therapy sessions. Both medication and therapy may be used for short and long-term treatment.

Some diagnostic tests may be prescribed if neurological factors are suspected to contribute to mental illness or emotional disturbance. Other tests may be required in order to monitor any medication’s impact on the body, such as checking blood pressure or liver and kidney function.

Types of Psychotherapy Treatment

Many therapists use a combination of skills and techniques to help you achieve relief from your symptoms and improve your day-to-day function. In the course of a session, these techniques may not be specified, and you may not notice any difference from one style of therapy to the next unless your therapist makes it clear what style they’re operating under for your session.

In other cases, your therapist may specialize in one or two styles of therapy that address specific types of mental health needs. The most common forms of therapy include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT has broad applicability and focuses on the personalized development of effective coping skills to counteract harmful patterns of thought and behaviors.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy. DBT, like CBT, address mental health needs through identifying problematic patterns and creating healthier habits to replace them, but it is typically better suited for people who struggle with frequent suicidal ideation, certain personality disorders and PTSD.
  • Interpersonal therapy. IPT helps you adjust to difficult or new circumstances as it relates to your social experiences and relationships with others. This can involve practicing important communication skills and developing better situational awareness.
  • Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy. Both of these techniques focus on your childhood and past experiences in order to illustrate deeply ingrained behaviors and beliefs that contribute to mental illness or emotional difficulties. Psychoanalysis is the more intense of the two styles and may involve several sessions in a week.
  • Supportive therapy. This patient-led style of therapy encourages you to identify personal obstacles and the resources necessary to help you overcome them. The therapist provides guidance and information to help you structure a plan and maintain your goals.

Medicare Coverage for Psychotherapy

Most mental health services are provided at an outpatient facility. Medicare Part B benefits offer coverage for a range of psychotherapy services, which can include individual or group therapy sessions. However, the therapist or doctor administering these services must meet the state’s requirement for licensing. Medicare recipients will also need to pay any applicable deductible and coinsurance amounts.

If symptoms are severe, inpatient treatment through hospitalization may be required. Medicare recipients can have these costs covered through their Medicare Part A benefits. Yearly or lifetime limits may come into effect during extended inpatient hospitalization, so it’s important to check specific eligibility rules since these can be subject to change each year. Outpatient care and services may fall under Medicare Part B coverage.

Medigap (Medicare Supplement)  plans may help reduce any cost-sharing expenses related to mental healthcare, but these are provided by private insurers and differ from state to state. Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many provide additional coverage.

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