Psychotherapy, or therapy for short, is a term that covers all talking therapies and the many associated approaches/methods. Psychotherapists can choose from a wealth of approaches to help you understand and explore how you feel. Some therapists also teach skills to help you manage difficult emotions more effectively.For more severe conditions, such as psychosis, a psychotherapist will normally work with other professionals (such as psychiatrists). This allows for an effective, robust treatment plan.

A psychotherapist can work with individuals, groups, families or couples. Many tend to specialise in who they work with and what issues they address. For example, psychotherapists can decide whether they work with children or adults.

Psychotherapy, like counseling, is based on a healing relationship between a health care provider and client. Psychotherapy, also takes place over a series of meetings, though often it has a longer duration than counseling. Some people participate in therapy off and on over several years.

Instead of narrowing in on individual problems, psychotherapy considers overall patterns, chronic issues, and recurrent feelings. This requires openness to exploring the past and its impact on the present. The aim of psychotherapy is to resolve the underlying issues which fuel ongoing complaints. Psychotherapists help to resolve past experiences as part of laying the foundation for a satisfying future.

Many psychotherapists are open to and interested in wisdom from a variety of sources: the body, the unconscious, and the inner child, to name a few possibilities. Therapists should be comfortable working with strong feelings, traumatic memories, and the therapeutic relationship.

There are many different types of therapy that psychotherapists can train in. They include:

  • cognitive and behavioural therapies (focusing on the way people think and behave)
  • psychoanalytic therapies (looking at how past experiences affect the present)
  • humanistic therapies (with a focus on self-development and growth)
  • arts therapies (using the creative arts in a therapeutic way)
  • other therapies (includes all other therapies such as group therapies and mindfulness).

There are many schools of thought when it comes to the therapies used within psychotherapy. So before you begin, research and see which type resonates with you.