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What is Psychotherapy?
Get answers to your questions about psycotherapy.
What is Psychotherapy?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a classic ‘talk therapy’, sometimes referred to as a form of ‘depth psychology’. It is a therapy that focuses on the influence of childhood and lifetime experiences and relationships on a person’s current sense of self and identity, their present life and relational patterns.

It is an open-ended, longer term therapy that is less structured and more free-flowing than some psychological treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Often psychotherapy can help clients get in touch with painful, unwanted emotions, helping them to process rather than suppress such feelings. This increases their capacity to tolerate distress, form a more solid, integrated sense of self and feel more confident in addressing everyday problems.

Who is Psychotherapy for?

Psychotherapy is for everyone, and can help with anxiety, depression, grief and myriad other forms of distress that we experience in our lives. This form of therapy might suit clients who want to understand and address the underlying causes of their distress, or who notice overarching themes in their life and relationships that they wish to change.

What should I expect?

The frame for Psychotherapy is normally a weekly, 50 minute appointment.

The first few sessions are a bit of a mutual get-to-know-you, where you and the therapist can explore what your goals are in therapy, what your life looks like now, your history, and the expected duration of therapy. This is a chance for you to get a feel for what psychotherapy may be like for you, and for the therapist themselves.

Psychotherapy relies on the dialogue between client and therapist, so sessions are very conversational. Occasionally there may be exercises or ‘homework’ to do between sessions, but this is not common as the dialogue in the therapy room and dynamic between client and therapist is the central component of psychodynamic psychotherapy.

How do I prepare for psycotherapy?

The main thing you need to bring is just yourself! You don’t have to get it ‘right’, and it is completely normal to feel a bit anxious or uncertain starting a process like this.

Some people find it is helpful think about, or write down, what is leading them to come to therapy, this can help define what they want to work on with the therapist.

How is Psychotherapy different from Counselling, Psychiatry and Psychology?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed further training in mental illness. They are trained in assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders and can prescribe medication. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication.

Psychologists have usually trained for 6-8 years and have a masters or doctorate in psychology with an arts or science background. They are trained in assessment and intervention through talk therapy. They typically use a structured approach.

Psychotherapists tend to deal with longer term therapy for deep-rooted issues such as childhood trauma or relationship problems. Psychotherapy is a less structured intervention and is focused more around dialogue and your childhood.