This type of psychotherapy is described well by Dr. Fredric Neuman:
Supportive psychotherapy attempts to help clients by any practical and appropriate means to deal with their emotional distress and problems in living. This can include, but is not limited to, comforting, advising, encouraging, reassuring, and mostly listening, attentively and sympathetically. The therapist provides an emotional outlet, the chance for patients to express themselves and be themselves. Also, the therapist may inform patients about their illness and about how to manage it and how to adjust to it. Over the course of treatment, he may have to intercede on a patient's behalf with various authorities, including schools and social agencies, and with the patient's family, and really, with all of those with whom the patient may be contending.*
Supportive psychotherapy can often "set the stage" for deeper and more rigorous therapies as the client improves.
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