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Learn more about Psychotherapy

What is psychotherapy? 


You may have heard this term before and wondered what it means. It is not as complicated as it may sound, psychotherapy can also be referred to as counselling, talk therapy or simply just therapy. It involves meeting with a trained professional to explore your feeling, thoughts, behaviours, and underlying emotions. It can benefit individuals who are struggling with their mental health, can help treat unhealthy thoughts and feeling and work towards developing healthier behaviours and coping skills.


A brief explanation of the science behind psychotherapy


Psychotherapy traces its roots back to Sigmund Freud’s psychodynamic theory, which suggested that unconscious conflicts and early childhood experiences shape our thoughts and behaviours. The science behind psychotherapy draws from various psychological theories and research findings to understand how individuals develop, perceive the world, and cope with challenges. Research has shown that psychotherapy can lead to structural and functional changes in the brain such as strengthening and increasing neural connectivity, which can help change behaviours and better control emotions.

Understanding different types of psychotherapy


Now if you have decided to seek out psychotherapy, you may now be wondering how do I decide what kind of therapy to get? There is a various type of psychotherapy, but ultimately it is important to recognise that psychotherapy offers a safe environment for you to openly talk about your thoughts and feelings with a trained professional. The trust and bond you build with your therapists is very valuable. They are not your family members, and they are not your friends, but someone you can freely talk to in a private setting and then close the door. So, it is vital you to feel comfortable communicating and interacting with them.

Therapists may specialize in one main method, or they may integrate elements from multiple approaches based on their expertise, the nature of the disorder, and your requirements for treatment.

Here are some of the different types of psychotherapy.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a goal-focused therapy that highlights negative thought and behaviour patterns that can contribute to stress and impact mental health. CBT aims to replace these negative and destructive thoughts and behaviours with more positive and rational ones, to create healthier habits. This therapy can place focus on present issues that are affecting your mental and emotional wellbeing and teaches you new practical skills to cope with them. It can be effective for treating a wide range of conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and PTSD.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Depression and psychological difficulties can arise from problems in your relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. Often due to the loss of a relationship, separation, grief, conflict and many more. Interpersonal therapy aims to help you cope and deal with these difficulties from your relationships to improve symptoms of depression and other mood disorders. The therapist will work to help you express your feeling and provide coping strategies.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is an evidence-based therapy that can help people who struggle with emotional dysregulation and their emotional reactions. This therapy was mainly designed for people who suffer with thoughts of self-harm and suicide. It is often used to manage borderline personality disorder, helping to find ways to stabilise yourself when you react emotionally. DBT combines cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness practices to help individuals regulate emotions and improve interpersonal skills. DBT encourages you almost step out of your body to assess your own emotions rather than to act immediately.

Psychodynamic therapy.

Psychodynamic therapy is based on the idea that our personality, behaviours, and mental wellbeing is something that can evolve and are deep-rooted by our childhood and environment. Psychodynamic therapy draws upon our unconscious and brings awareness to thoughts and behaviours we may not be fully aware of. In therapy you will be encouraged to talk about early memories, your childhood, and the dynamic of your early relationships. These experiences and feelings in your early childhood could be having an impact on your current life and the person you are today. From this you will work together with the therapist to find way to resolve and cope with these past experiences.

Family therapy.

Family therapy involves working with you and your family or couples to address relational issues, communication problems, and conflicts within the family dynamic. A family therapist can help create a safe space for every individual to talk freely and feel heard. The aim of sessions is to encourage honesty and improve connections with each other.



How Psychotherapy differs from counselling


What is the difference between psychotherapy and counselling? Counselling takes place over a shorter period of time since it may deal with less complex issues or can help with supporting present difficulties. Whereas psychotherapy takes place over a long period of time delving into deeper-rooted issues that may come from past experiences. These past experiences can be that causes of disorders such as anxiety and depression. With counselling there may already be a set number of sessions agreed upon, however psychotherapy involves an ongoing therapeutic relationship that has no set deadline.


Here is an analogy to help understand the difference between counselling and psychotherapy.

You fall over whilst riding your bike and graze your elbow. Counselling would help you to clean and bandage up your wound so you can get back to riding your bike. It would also give you the resources to clean and bandage your elbow if you ever fall off your bike again. However, psychotherapy would look into the underlying causes of why you feel off your bike in the first place.


The benefits of individual psychotherapy: How it can improve your wellbeing 


The goal of an individual therapist is to have all of the focus on you. The relationship you build with your therapist is unique, giving them a very personalised approach when looking at problems and solutions to strengthen your character development. Individual therapy can benefit those who want to form better, more useful personal habits or who are dealing with challenging life circumstances or mental health issues.

Individual therapy can help:

• Finding the root causes of as well as managing symptoms, e.g. anxiety
• Expands your circle of support
• Help you to regulate and manage your emotions
• Learn more about yourself
• Provides coping mechanisms
• Help to make healthy changes to one’s life.


Psychotherapeutic techniques are used to support relationships and provide couples therapy. 


When it comes to psychotherapy for couples,, a psychotherapist can use many techniques and approaches to support relationships and create healthier dynamics between partners.

• Communication skills- Often in couples therapy, communication is the main factor in regard to conflict. Therapists encourage couples to actively listen to each other as well as work on interpersonal skills, such as working together as a team, patience, verbal and non-verbal communication. Improving on these qualities allows for dealing with conflict resolution more effectively and expressing yourself and understanding each other more.

• Reflective listening—Reflective listening is a powerful communication technique used in couples therapy. In this technique, the listener paraphrases or reflects back the speaker’s words, thoughts, and feelings to ensure they have been accurately understood. It is nonjudgmental and noncritical. The listener refrains from offering advice, making assumptions, or imposing their own perspective on the speaker. Instead, they strive to understand the speaker’s viewpoint without bias.

• Narrative therapy: Narrative therapy helps couples explore the stories they tell themselves and each other about their relationship. By reframing negative narratives and creating new, more positive stories, couples can shift their perspective and improve their relationship.


How psychotherapy can benefit you with coping skills and resilience. 


Psychotherapy can help you to build stronger resilience as it provides you with coping skills and mechanisms to manage stress, anxiety, and day-to-day challenges.

Through stress and anxiety therapy, individuals can understand and recognise their triggers, which are events, situations, or thoughts that lead to distress. By being self-aware, you can learn healthier ways to respond, which can make dealing with these triggers easier. Understanding the connection between triggers and reactions allows you to develop coping mechanisms to manage your responses more effectively.

Psychotherapy counsellors work with you on skill building and practical coping skills for challenging situations. These skills may include relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises and problem-solving strategies. By practicing these skills, you can develop greater resilience in the face of stress and anxiety.

Therapy provides a safe space for you to explore and process your emotions. Through therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness, emotion-focused therapy, and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), you can learn to recognise and regulate your emotions in healthier ways, which helps you manage difficult situations with more emotional stability and resilience.

If you are interested in seeking private psychotherapy in a safe and supportive environment, then contact My Solution Wellbeing, and one of our experienced therapists will be happy to assist you

Written By Ria Kaur 



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By MSWB Team on 16/04/2024 in Resources

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