Psychotherapy is often misunderstood or devalued.
Discuss your views of the PMHNP as a psychotherapist
Discuss whether it is feasible to provide psychotherapy at each patient encounter
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Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or counseling, is a form of treatment that involves talking with a trained mental health professional to address emotional and behavioral issues. Unfortunately, psychotherapy is often misunderstood or devalued, and some people view it as a last resort or a sign of weakness. However, psychotherapy can be an effective form of treatment for a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction.

As a PMHNP (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner), providing psychotherapy is an important aspect of our role. PMHNPs are trained to provide a range of therapeutic interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalytic therapy, interpersonal therapy, and mindfulness-based therapies. We work collaboratively with clients to help them understand their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and to develop coping strategies to manage their symptoms.

In my view, PMHNPs can be highly effective psychotherapists. We have a strong understanding of the neurobiology of mental health conditions, which allows us to tailor our approach to each client’s unique needs. Additionally, we have the training and expertise to manage medications, which can be an important part of a client’s treatment plan. This combination of skills allows us to provide holistic care that addresses both the psychological and biological aspects of mental health.

However, it is not always feasible to provide psychotherapy at each patient encounter. PMHNPs often work in busy clinical settings where time is limited, and there may be competing demands on our time. In some cases, clients may only be able to see us for a brief medication check, and there may not be enough time to engage in psychotherapy. In these cases, we may need to prioritize medication management over psychotherapy, but we can still provide brief counseling interventions to support the client’s overall well-being.

Furthermore, some clients may not be interested in or may not benefit from psychotherapy. For example, clients who are in acute crisis or who have severe symptoms may require more intensive interventions, such as hospitalization or crisis stabilization. In these cases, psychotherapy may not be appropriate or may need to be postponed until the client is more stable.

In conclusion, PMHNPs can be highly effective psychotherapists. We have the training, expertise, and skills to provide a range of therapeutic interventions that can help clients manage their mental health symptoms. However, it may not always be feasible to provide psychotherapy at each patient encounter, and we may need to prioritize medication management or other interventions depending on the client’s needs. As mental health providers, our goal is to provide the best possible care for each individual client, and we must remain flexible and responsive to their unique needs and circumstances.


American Nurses Association. (2014). Psychiatric-mental health nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: Author.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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