How to Get Psychotherapy
A GP will be able to refer
Finding a Therapist
UK Council for
British Association for
British Psychoanalytic Council
Feeling â€œout of controlâ€
What is Psychotherapy?
There are many different types of psychotherapy. All aim to help people overcome stress, emotional/ relationship problems, or troublesome habits.
Psychotherapy is a relationship in which one person enlists the professional assistance of another for the purpose of bringing about changes in their own feelings, attitudes and/or behaviour. Sometimes the person entering therapy understands that changes are needed, but doesn't know what changes to make or how to facilitate them. The task of the psychotherapist, is to help individuals figure this out.
This focuses on the feelings we have about other people, especially our family and those we are close to. Treatment involves discussing past experiences and how these may have led to present situations and how these experiences may be affecting our life now.
Understanding gained frees the person to make choices about what happens in the future. It may involve brief therapy for specific difficulties, or it may require attending sessions over many months.
This tries to change patterns of behaviour more directly. Patients can be helped to overcome fears by spending more and more time in the situation they fear, or by learning ways of reducing their anxiety.
They may be given 'homework' exercises, and asked to keep diaries or to practice new skills between sessions. This therapy is particularly effective for anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive-compulsive problems and various kinds of social or sexual difficulty. Relief from symptoms often occurs quickly.
What actually happens?
Psychotherapy usually involves regular meetings at the same time and place every week/fortnight. In most cases the length of treatment will be agreed between the client(s) and the therapist(s) within a month or so of starting. What happens during a session is usually considered confidential to the people in that session.
In individual psychotherapy, one patient and one therapist talk together in a quiet room, usually for 50 minutes or so. In group therapy, several people with similar issues meet regularly with a therapist. These sessions may be longer than in individual psychotherapy. Group therapy may appear less intimate, but the experience of discovering one is not alone, and of being able to help other people, is powerfully encouraging and is often the first step towards getting better.
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