What Is Psychotherapy


Sometimes life can be tough…

You might find that you just can’t talk to anyone about certain problems, issues, difficulties or feelings that you are suffering?  At times you may feel that you cannot openly discuss these feelings with someone you know, or you may not even have another person to talk to about such problems. This is when psychotherapy can help you.

Psychotherapy is a journey of self-exploration that you embark upon with your therapist.

Revealing your thoughts and feelings to a stranger is not always easy, but the trained psychotherapist provides a confidential, non-judgemental and emphatic environment where trust can be built and exploration can commence. Through psychotherapy you will be led to greater self-understanding and self-awareness; an understanding of the cause of your difficulties and an awareness of why you are feeling the way you are feeling. Looking at past experiences and emotional patterns can be useful as early experiences can determine how you behave and feel as adults. Early relationships with parents or carers often define the relationships we have in later life, both with others as well as with ourselves. Through therapy, we become more conscious of our patterns of behaviour and emotional functioning. This sense of self-awareness leads to a greater sense of wellbeing, freedom and personal authority.

During psychotherapy, defences will be confronted and underlying anxieties uncovered that can reveal true and intensely experienced feelings. Making connections between these defences, anxieties and true feelings can develop new ‘self-awareness’, and a capacity to understand differences in others and in the world in which you live, so that you can begin to bear what might have felt unbearable.

How does psychotherapy work?

Psychotherapy works in part, because it offers the individual a safe, confidential environment from which to explore difficult feelings. The ‘therapeutic structure,’ or ‘frame,’ is made up of a few components that help the individual feel safe and able to explore difficult issues.

  • Your therapist – who remains with you throughout your journey in psychotherapy
  • A time frame – each psychotherapy session is 50 minutes in length
  • Psychotherapy sessions are weekly – ideally at the same time and on the same day each week

The structure of the therapy session will help you feel at ease, build trust with your therapist and give you a safe place to explore your difficult thoughts and feelings

Psychotherapy or Counselling?

‘Psychotherapy’ and ‘Counselling’ are terms that are often used interchangeably. Some practitioners may choose to use both terms when referring to themselves. Although they are very similar (both practices share the goal of relieving psychological symptoms and enabling individuals to live more fulfilled lives), there are some subtle differences.

‘Counselling’ is generally used to denote a briefer process than psychotherapy and is mostly focused upon behaviour patterns and often targets a particular symptom or problematic situation.

‘Psychotherapy’ is generally a longer term treatment which focuses more on gaining insight into the underlying causes of emotional problems. Its focus is on the patient’s thought processes and ways of being in the world rather than specific problems.

Generally speaking, psychotherapy requires more skill from the practitioner than counselling. Psychotherapy training requires a longer, more rigorous academic and clinical focus than counselling training. Whilst a psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, a counsellor may not possess the necessary training and skills to provide psychotherapy. In actual practice there may be quite a bit of overlap between psychotherapy and counselling.

How Can Psychotherapy and Counselling Help You?

Psychotherapy and counselling can help you gain understanding of overwhelming feelings or unwanted behaviours. In gaining an understanding of feelings and behaviours, psychotherapy can help you gain control of these difficulties.

  • It can help in decreasing your stress levels. By sharing thoughts, fears and anxieties with an experienced, professional psychotherapist you will gain relief, clarity, reduced stress and be able to find a healthier way forward.
  • It can help you build healthier relationships. Through the examination of relationship problems in psychotherapy and counselling, you will gain a better understanding of how your relationships work. In examining repeated patterns in relationships, expectations of others and of yourself for example, psychotherapy and counselling will help you discover how the difficulties arise and help you move forward into healthier patterns of relating.
  • It can help build your self-esteem and confidence. By sharing your difficult feelings with a psychotherapist/counsellor you will be listened to and understood. From this understanding, your psychotherapist will help you build your self-value, encouraging you to see yourself and value yourself in different, and healthier, ways.

Psychotherapy and counselling can help you eliminate self-destructive patterns of behaviour and patterns of thinking. By examining the root cause of the destructive patterns, with your psychotherapist or counsellor, you will gain an understanding of why you are behaving destructively and, together with your therapist, find a healthier way forward.

Don’t struggle on alone. Please take the first step and contact us at Cavendish Psychotherapy.