Psychotherapy is a form of therapy (usually talk-based), normally involving regular personal interaction - either one-to-one or in group sessions - which uses psychological methods to help a person change and overcome their problems.
Psychotherapy aims for the individual to gain helpful personal insight, and looks for a positive outcome through increasing the individual's well-being, self-esteem and general mental health. In doing so the therapy tackles difficult and troublesome behaviors, thoughts and emotions; compulsions and beliefs. There are many types of therapies; some evidence-based and some that follow the work of one great thinker. Certain psychotherapies are considered evidence-based for treating some diagnosed mental disorders.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A therapy session will begin with introductions and the therapist setting out their role and the format of the therapy. This may be a group or individual session. A therapist in group therapy is often called the leader or facilitator. It is important that expectations are explored early on so that a defined purpose for the therapy may emerge. Most psychotherapies require a dialogue to occur with both parties sincerely working towards an agreed goal. The session generally ends on time and payment is made at the end of each session. Payment is essential as it symbolises the client’s commitment as well as delineating the roles and motives of those involved.
Lessons and insights gained through therapy can last a life time. Positive release through crying or expression of anger within a session may prevent an outburst in day-to-day life. In overcoming and resolving each of these the individual should enjoy improved relationships and social functioning.
Therapy is only as good as the therapist. There can be luck involved in finding an effective therapist. Recommendations may help but a fit between therapist and client can be a very personal thing. Another problem with psychotherapy is that medication may be needed and psychotherapists have no authority to prescribe medication or issue sick certificates.