What is Psychotherapy?

It is very similar to counselling. In fact, Counselling and Psychotherapy are interchangeable terms nowadays. This is probably due to counselling training now incorporating effective psychotherapy techniques. Likewise, counselling skills are a valuable part of psychotherapy, in terms of developing good communication.

A person may wish to see a counsellor or a psychotherapist for a variety of reasons. It does not mean there is something ‘wrong’ with them, it means the client wants to be the best they can be.

For instance, they may have major decisions to make in their life, or they may want to understand themselves better, or realise their true path. They may feel depressed, confused or have low self-esteem. They may want to come to terms with past issues, or explore present day scenarios or their relationships with others. They may be stressed or anxious, or have panic disorders.

They may feel heartbroken, they may want to talk about their loss of a loved one. This could be a person or a pet or some other kind of loss. They may need to share their feelings of grief or sorrow. They may need to share feelings of guilt.

Psychotherapy, as counselling, should offer a safe place where you feel able to open up and be honest with yourself. Your therapist should be non-judgemental, empathic and respectful. It is not their role to give advice or their own opinions.

Confidentiality is assured except in extreme cases of course, and this is explained to you at your first meeting. You may feel vulnerable or nervous at the thought of talking to a stranger and sharing your innermost feelings. It is recommended that at the first session you have a short meeting with your counsellor to see if you feel you could have a good working relationship with that person. This also enables the counsellor to discuss with you suggested ways of working together and you can decide either at the time or later whether you wish to go ahead with further sessions.

The role of the psychotherapist/counsellor is to enable awareness and insights and to assist the client to get in touch with their feelings and their true thoughts. Ultimately it is about assisting the client on becoming who they want to be.