Therapy, in a mental health context, includes a broad range of treatments designed to help people feel and function better in their daily life. It usually involves talking to a professional to gain insight and coping skills for stressful life events. Some of the fields that may be included under 'therapy' are:
Psychology, or the scientific study of the mind, including the science behind human development and cognition, mental health, memory, perception, and intelligence.
Psychotherapy, or 'talk therapy,' where patients talk to a therapist in order to problem solve and learn new ways to handle difficult issues in their lives.
Counseling, which is sometimes used interchangeably with psychotherapy, and is very similar. It is also a type of 'talk therapy,' but it tends to be more short-term, and it can be provided by professionals without medical credentials, such as spiritual advisors. The goal of both counseling and psychotherapy is to improve a patient's well being by helping them navigate difficult situations in life.
Substance abuse therapy, or rehabilitation, which often uses a combination of medication and talk therapy for treatment. Substance abuse therapy may include coping skills, life skills training, family therapy, or behavioral therapy to learn new ways of reacting.
The use of mental health therapy is extremely common and safe, and it is an effective tool in supporting people who are struggling with life changes, unwanted feelings and behaviors, or difficult circumstances in their lives. If you are feeling stuck with an issue or circumstance that is troubling, therapy can be a very healing way to be guided past it to a more positive future.