What is Psychotherapy?

5 Aug, 2015 Categories: Blog

Psychotherapy is a collective term for a group of therapies based on different psychological techniques.  It is an umbrella term that groups together different therapeutic models and therefore can be a bit confusing when it’s recommended that you receive psychotherapy.

Psychotherapists are trained mental health professionals that treat emotional, behavioural and mental health problems.  Due to the range of different therapies, it is important that you understand the type of psychotherapist that you have and that you are involved in the planning, goal setting and content of the sessions.  Treatment length varies based on the type of therapy so it would also be useful for you to know how long you may be engaged in therapy before you actually start. Committing to therapy is a big step so you’d want to make sure you are well informed as to the nature and style of therapy you are starting.

Psychotherapy will involve talking about problems and difficulties, normally on a one-to-one basis but can also include group therapy. Exploring your difficulties can allow you to understand them and ultimately overcome them.  You would have an opportunity to share and discuss important events or situations in your life as well as emotions and feelings that you may be experiencing.  Psychotherapy allows an opportunity for you to share your troubles with a trained professional in a non judgmental environment and research shows that much of the time it’s easier to speak to someone outside of your family or friendship network as there is reduced fear of judgement being passed on you.

Psychotherapy is a regular commitment and often takes the form of 1 session a week, for between 50-60 minutes and can range from being 6-12 sessions up to a number of years, depending on the type of therapy and the nature of the difficulties that you present with. This should be discussed with you during your initial assessment or consultation and you should be given the opportunity to ask questions about this.  It is worth noting that not all psychotherapy focuses on talking, there are alternatives such as music therapy, art therapy, drama therapy or play therapy. These can be extremely effective depending on the types of problems you are looking to work through.

There are a range of different psychotherapies.  Some can be of a more exploratory nature and therefore you may not be working towards specific goals with your therapist.  Other models such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) are much more symptom focused and your therapist will encourage you to collaborate and create some treatment goals together.  CBT involves talking about thoughts and feelings and it is very much focused on teaching skills and techniques so that the individual can learn to self manage current and future difficulties.

There is such a range of different therapies such as Psycho-Dynamic Therapy, Cognitive Analytical Therapy, Inter-Personal Therapy, Systemic Therapy and many more, which is why it’s so important that you are informed of the type of therapist you are meeting with.

Psychotherapy is used to treat many different but common types of concerns such as;

-Anxiety related disorders (panic, social, phobias, separation and generalised)
-Depression, including self harm and suicidal behaviour
-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
-Eating Disorders (Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia)
-Body Dysmorphic Disorder
-Bereavement or grief
-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
-Borderline Personality Disorder
-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
-Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
-Drug misuse

If you feel that you or someone you know is experiencing any of these difficulties then I would encourage you to seek professional support and work through the difficulties to prevent any prolonged or future discomfort.