What is Psychotherapy?

Broadly speaking the term “psychotherapy” might be defined as the treatment of mental, emotional or relationship difficulties. Also, it is generally considered to be treatment by means of talking rather than by medication. Of course, it is possible to use both together although many psychotherapists, myself included, are cautious about the impact that medication might have on someone’s ability to experience one’s self and to talk freely.


Psychotherapy usually involves the development of a relationship between therapist and client which is not like other relationships. It is not a friendship, as such, and neither is it a conventional business, teaching or family relationship. The relationship has clear boundaries of space and time, yet within those boundaries it must be possible to confide thoughts and feelings which would otherwise be difficult to share and reflect on.


At times, during psychotherapy sessions, it is valuable to re-experience some past situation or feelings in order to work on them and reduce the power they can exert over our present day to day lives. To do this also means that the environment and the working relationship need to be safe and secure.


As with any treatment there is no absolute guarantee of success. Given time, trust and mutual commitment, however, it is usually possible to bring about changes which will endure.