is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by
trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living.
This usually includes increasing individual sense of well-being
and reducing subjective discomforting experience. Psychotherapists
employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship
building, dialogue, communication and behavior change and
that are designed to improve the mental health of a client
or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in
a family). Psychotherapy may be performed by practitioners
with a number of different qualifications, including psychologists,
marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social
workers, counselors, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatrists.
word "psychotherapy" comes from the Ancient Greek
words psyche, meaning breath, spirit, or soul and therapeia
or therapeuein, to nurse or cure. Its use was first noted
around 1890. It is defined as the relief of distress or
disability in a one person by another, using an approach
based on a particular theory or paradigm, and that the agent
performing the therapy has had some form of training in
delivering this. It is these latter two points which distinguish
psychotherapy from other forms of counseling or caregiving.
are several main broad systems of psychotherapy:
are dozens of approaches, which continue to be developed around
the wide variety of theoretical backgrounds. Many practitioners
use several approaches in their work and alter their approach
based on client need.
- the first practice to be called a psychotherapy. It
encourages the verbalization of all the patient's thoughts,
including free associations, fantasies, and dreams, from
which the analyst formulates the nature of the unconscious
conflicts which are causing the patient's symptoms and
- generally seeks by different methodologies to identify
and transcend maladaptive cognitions, appraisal, beliefs
and reactions with the aim of influencing destructive
negative emotions and problematic dysfunctional behaviors.
- is a form of depth psychology, the primary focus of
which is to reveal the unconscious content of a client's
psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. Although
it has its roots in psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy
tends to be briefer and less intensive than traditional
Existential - is based on the existential belief
that human beings are alone in the world. This aloneness
leads to feelings of meaninglessness which can be overcome
only by creating one's own values and meanings.
- emerged in reaction to both behaviorism and psychoanalysis
and is therefore known as the Third Force in the development
of psychology. It is explicitly concerned with the human
context of the development of the individual with an emphasis
on subjective meaning, a rejection of determinism, and
a concern for positive growth rather than pathology. It
posits an inherent human capacity to maximise potential,
'the self-actualing tendency'. The task of Humanistic
therapy is to create a relational environment where this
tendency might flourish.
therapy - is an umbrella term for a variety of approaches
to psychotherapy. It differs from other schools of therapy
in that it emphasizes (1) a focus on a specific problem
and (2) direct intervention. It is solution-based rather
than problem-oriented. It is less concerned with how a
problem arose than with the current factors sustaining
it and preventing change.
- seeks to address people not at an individual level,
as is often the focus of other forms of therapy, but as
people in relationship, dealing with the interactions
of groups, their patterns and dynamics (includes family
therapy & marriage counseling).
Therapy - Addresses the client in the context of a
spiritual understanding of consciousness.
Psychotherapy or Body-oriented Psychotherapy (also
known as Somatic Psychology in USA & Australia) -
addresses the whole of the person, including their body,
manifestations of symptoms in the body of the client,
body language, proprioception, emotional expression, proxemics,