What is psychotherapy?


Psychotherapy is a term used to describe a range of talking therapies that provide a safe and supportive environment for a person to share issues and anxieties and to be listened to in a way that helps them understand themselves better. The ultimate goal of psychotherapy is to help people make sense of issues they are facing and guide them towards more effective and positive ways of dealing with future challenges and choices.

Psychotherapy can help improve a person’s mood, levels of anxiety, their family and other relationship patterns, and help them change patterns of behaviour that may have proved unhelpful in the past. It can address symptoms of anxiety and guide people to manage stress.

Psychotherapy can aid any challenge or issue a person may be having – be that personal or professional. For example it can assist people with relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety, bereavement, trauma, self-harm, eating disorders, sexual issues and addition problems. It can also help people with issues including low self-esteem, stress and anger.

There are many different orientations of psychotherapy including psychodynamic, existential, humanistic, psychoanalytic and integrative (a blend of all orientations). The type that a person would find suitable will depend on their issues, their aims and their personality.



What is the Difference between Psychotherapy and Counselling?

Psychotherapy and counselling are similar, with both focussing on exploring feelings, beliefs, thoughts and patterns of behaviour. The terms psychotherapist and counsellor are often used interchangeably. The main difference is that psychotherapists undertake a minimum of 5 years training in the UK whilst counsellors train for a minimum of 3 years. Psychotherapy tends to be more in-depth than counselling, and is the more likely to deeply explore past experiences and childhood as well as behavioural patterns and presenting issues.