Chapter 16 of the Lilienfeld textbook discusses who seeks psychotherapy and the different kinds of therapy available as well as biomedical treatments. People seek treatment for many reasons including struggling with specific problems, general feelings like helplessness that inhibit daily activities, and a desire to expand one's awareness. Interestingly, more women than men seek psychotherapy although the need for it is likely equal. I guess we men still find the social stigma intimidating.
There are many types of therapy one can seek out. Individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and many variations of approach. Psychoanalysis seeks to understand the unconscious (or in later years the concious) and reduce feelings of guilt through a case study approach. Freud is the person that usually come to mind when we think of psychoanalysis. However, the practice is much older than Freud.
Humanistic therapies focus on insight into oneself. They use self-actualization to assist people to realize their natural positive human nature. Cognitive behavioral therapies seek to change behavior to improve oneself and stop behaviors that negatively impact thoughts.
These are some of the therapies used to help people make positive changes in their lives. There are many more approaches out there. Some therapies are well researched and documented using the scientific method. Others are not so well documented and may include claims that are not falsifiable or correlations untested for causal relationships.
It is estimated that 20% of Americans have had some form of therapy. With numbers that high it is important to seek out treatments with proven track records and avoid therapies that make unsubstantiated claims. Buyer beware, is a good motto to keep in mind when looking for therapies. People also respond differently to the various therapeutic approaches and drugs which adds to the confusion when trying to find the "right therapy" for them.
Along with therapy are biomedical approaches. There are a large number of psychiatric drugs in use and being developed. Electroconvulsive therapy (electrical stimulation of the brain) is used in some cases of severe depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Surgery is sometimes used as a last resort to treat some psychological disorders.
The number of available treatments for psychiatric problems is vast and confusing. As a result it seems there is a need for those with problems to seek out reputable help and guidance when trying to navigate through all the possibilities.