What is psychotherapy and how does it work? Sounds like simple enough questions, but it is sort-of like asking "How long
is a Irish-man's last name?" and "How high is the sky?". Psychotherapy is a general term that is used to describe the
process of treating psychological disorders and mental distress, by the use of verbal and psychological techniques. During
this process, a psychotherapist helps the client tackle specific or general problems such as a particular mental illness
or a source of life stress.
Depending on the approach used by the therapist, a wide range of techniques and strategies can be used. However, almost all types of psychotherapy involve developing a therapeutic relationship, communicating and creating a dialogue, and working to overcome problematic thoughts or behaviours.
There are several approaches to psychotherapy, these include: Psychoanalytic Therapy, Behavioural Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Cognitive-behavioural Therapy.
Psychotherapy can also take a number of different formats depending on the style of the therapist and the needs of the patient. These can include: Individual therapy, Couples therapy, Family therapy, and Group therapy.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether the practice of psychotherapy should be assessed by using scientific criteria or not. Some feel that, like many other professions, the actual practice of psychotherapy is much more of a skill-based craft. It can inform science and can certainly be informed by science, but it is definitely not a science in itself.
Some psychotherapeutic approaches tend to lend themselves to producing measureable 'evidenced based' results while others appear to have more subjective outcomes. But in either situation, only the client's behaviour can be observed. It is undeterminable if a change in behaviour is a result of the structure of the therapeutic approach or the skill and/or personality of the therapist.
I mostly utilize a type of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) called 'Trial Based CBT'. However, the reality is that not every therapy will work for every person and not every therapist will be a good fit for everyone.
If you discover that therapy is just not helping lift your burden or even if you and I don't seem collaborate well together, I am easy to fire. And if I feel that that you are not benefiting from therapy, I can invite you to discontinue - that way we will work together as a team; each keeping the other informed and both striving to accomplish the same goal of improving your life.