Psychotherapy Biological Basis

Psychotherapy Biological Basis

Peer-reviewed articles like the one authored by Jokinen & Hartshorne (2022) have shown that medication management alone may not be enough for many clients. Psychotherapy, which is a type of treatment that changes how the brain works, is crucial for healing. Psychotherapy is considered biological because it helps clients develop healthy coping strategies, deal with mental illness, and recover from trauma or other difficult life events (Moreira, Inman, & Cloninger, 2020). Clinicians who take a holistic approach, considering biological, psychological, and social factors, can help clients heal in various settings, whether individual, group, or family therapy. This approach is particularly beneficial for clients whose biological or genetic makeup has been affected by trauma or other life events, as discussed in Jokinen and Hartshorne’s article.

In order to effectively help clients from diverse backgrounds, including different cultures, religions, and socioeconomic statuses, psychotherapy is often combined with medication management to address specific mental health issues. When working with clients, it’s important for clinicians to gather information about their cultural and religious beliefs, as well as their socioeconomic circumstances. These factors can influence a client’s perspective on therapy and medication, and sometimes cultural beliefs may hinder treatment progress. Clinicians need to respect and accommodate clients’ beliefs while still providing effective therapy. For example, cultural attitudes towards grief can impact how clients cope with loss and affect their therapy journey, as discussed in Smid et al.’s article (2018).

Clients or families facing financial challenges due to their socioeconomic status may struggle to attend therapy sessions or afford medications. While lower socioeconomic status is often linked to more mental health issues, recovery is still possible with the right support. Clinicians should prioritize finding solutions for practical barriers like transportation and childcare early in the therapeutic relationship to prevent them from hindering progress.


Maintaining confidentiality is crucial in therapy, especially in group and family settings where multiple individuals are involved. However, ensuring privacy while conducting therapy in these settings can be challenging. With the increasing use of telemedicine, it’s essential to inform clients about the limitations of privacy and obtain their consent before sessions. This legal and ethical aspect of therapy, including informed consent and protecting clients’ rights, has been addressed in Avasthi, Grover, & Nischal’s article (2022). Despite these challenges, clinicians must take all necessary precautions to protect clients’ privacy and maintain confidentiality.

ReferencesAvasthi A, Grover S, Nischal A. Ethical and Legal Issues in Psychotherapy. Indian J Psychiatry. 2022 Mar;64(Suppl 1): S47-S61. DOI: 10.4103/Indian psychiatry. indianjpsychiatry_50_21. Epub 2022 Mar 22. PMID: 35599651; PMCID: PMC9122134.

Jokinen, R. R., & Hartshorne, T. S. (2022). Anxiety Disorders: A Biopsychosocial Model and an Adlerian Approach for Conceptualization and Treatment. Journal of Individual Psychology78(2), 155–174. to an external site.

Moreira, P., Inman, R., & Cloninger, C. (2022). Reactance and personality: Assessing psychological reactance using a biopsychosocial and person-centered approach. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 41(11), 7666-7680.

Smid, G. E., Groen, S., de la Rie, S. M., Kooper, S., & Boelen, P. A. (2018). Toward Cultural Assessment of Grief and Grief- Related Psychopathology. Psychiatric services (Washington, DC)69(10), 1050–1052. to an external site.

response 1

I really liked what you wrote. I agree with you that psychotherapy has a biological foundation. Malhotra and Sahoo (2017) suggest that as the brain develops and changes during therapy, it shows that there’s a biological aspect to it. Psychotherapy impacts the mind and mental processes, suggesting its connection to biology (Malhotra & Sahoo, 2017). Religion, culture, and money are all important factors affecting whether someone will try psychotherapy. In some cultures, mental health is valued as much as physical health. They talk openly about it and encourage people to seek help. But in other cultures, having a mental illness is seen as unacceptable, making it hard to get treatment.

As a therapist, it’s crucial to respect a person’s culture and religion when helping them. People with lower incomes might struggle to go to therapy sessions. They might have trouble paying for it, getting there, or seeing it as necessary. Legal and moral issues come up when treating clients. In group therapy, it’s vital to keep things confidential and get consent from everyone involved. There are legal concerns with minors and clients under guardianship. Sometimes clients share things that aren’t an immediate danger but could be important for their parents to know. There’s a clash between what’s ethically important and what’s legally allowed. Even if we think something is right, the law might not agree. Parents have the right to decide what’s best for their child, even if the child disagrees (Jesus et al., 2022).


Jesus, V., Liem, A., Borra, D., & Appel, J. (2022). Who’s the Boss? Ethical Dilemmas in the treatment of children and adolescents.  Focus, 2(20), 215-219. to an external site.

Malhotra, S., & Sahoo, A. (2017). Rebuilding the brain with psychotherapy. Indian Journal of  Psychiatry, 59(4), 411-419. Http:// to an external site.


response 2

I find your post quite interesting. Indeed, psychotherapy has its roots in biology because it focuses on the brain, which is the center of all mental activity. Psychotherapy can influence certain brain regions, either activating or reducing their activity (Marwood et al., 2018). Neuroscience is gaining importance in the field of mental health, and by incorporating it into psychotherapy, new ideas can emerge to tackle various mental health issues.

Psychotherapists must be mindful of several factors that could hinder the effectiveness of psychotherapy. These include cultural, religious, and socioeconomic factors. People with lower socioeconomic status may be less inclined to seek therapy, even if they need it more. Studies show that individuals with lower education levels and income levels tend to use mental health services less frequently (Leppänen et al., 2022). Psychotherapists also need to consider the religious beliefs of patients, particularly those from Christian or Muslim backgrounds, and tailor their guidance accordingly based on socioeconomic status. For instance, therapists should approach patients differently based on their financial situations.

Maintaining confidentiality is crucial in group and family therapy. While therapists are expected to uphold confidentiality in all psychiatric settings, it can be more challenging in group or family therapy where multiple patients are involved. One way to address this is by gathering relevant information from individual patients before sessions start, ensuring confidentiality for everyone involved.


Marwood, L., Wise, T., Perkins, A. M., & Cleare, A. J. (2018). Meta-analyses of the neural

mechanisms and predictors of response to psychotherapy in depression and anxiety. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 95, 61– to an external site.

Leppänen, H., Kampman, O., Autio, R., Karolaakso, T., Näppilä, T., Rissanen, P., & Pirkola, S.

(2022). Socioeconomic factors and use of psychotherapy in common mental disorders predisposing to disability pension. BMC health services research22(1), 983. to an external site.

I really enjoyed reading what you wrote. I was actually going to share my post first, but I’m glad you did. The article you mentioned by Jokinen and Hartshorne (2022) caught my attention too. The idea of how mental illnesses develop due to both environmental and biological factors is what drew me to psychiatry. I’m also interested in understanding the timing of medical and mental health issues. It’s often believed that medical problems are more important than mental health issues, but I’m excited to be part of the mental health field during this important time of change. Jokinen and Hartshorne (2022) discussed how environment and biology affect mental health, and I liked how they emphasized that neither genetics nor biology is more important – it’s how individuals use what they have to make informed decisions.

In the second part of your post, you mentioned how beliefs and cultural practices can sometimes stop people from getting treatment, which slows down their progress. In these situations, I think it’s crucial for healthcare providers to really understand which beliefs or cultural practices are causing problems for the patient. I don’t want to be too direct, but healthcare is like a business where providers offer services. The great thing about these services is that they’re meant to make people healthier, improve their well-being, boost their thinking skills, and in some cases, make them happier by improving their mood.

Just like any salesperson, I think providers should be thoughtful and use critical thinking to explain to patients why treatment is important. According to research by Sunderani and Moodley (2020), therapists sometimes share personal experiences to build a connection with clients based on cultural similarities, or they may choose not to share personal details if there are cultural differences. In my future work, I hope to use personal experiences when appropriate to highlight cultural similarities and build trust. This way, if there’s a belief or cultural difference that’s getting in the way of treatment, I’ll have a better chance of coming up with a plan that focuses on the patient’s needs and keeps them engaged in treatment.


Jokinen, R. R., & Hartshorne, T. S. (2022). Anxiety Disorders: A Biopsychosocial Model and an Adlerian Approach for Conceptualization and Treatment. Journal of Individual  Psychology78(2), 155–174. to an external site. 

Sunderani, S., & Moodley, R. (2020). Therapists’ perceptions of their use of self-disclosure (and nondisclosure) during cross-cultural exchanges. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling48(6), 741–756.