“Psychotherapy” is a general term that includes many different ways of helping people with their issues and problems. Sometimes psychotherapy goes under the name of “counseling,” “mental health” services or treatment, or just plain “therapy.” On this website we most often use the word “therapy.”
Psychotherapy is a way of addressing personal difficulties by talking with a trained therapist in a confidential setting at regularly scheduled times. Psychotherapy helps people live lives that are more satisfying and fruitful by making better choices and getting a better sense of control over things with which they are having trouble.
Therapy is usually one-on-one, but couples and families may have therapy together, and some therapists work with groups of people.
Psychoanalysis is a particularly deep and intensive form of one-on-one therapy. (See About Psychoanalysis.)
How can psychotherapy help?
If you feel stuck about career decisions, relationships, finances, or other aspects of your life, psychotherapy can help you see that you have choices and that you can overcome barriers. Psychotherapy can help you take action.
If you experience feelings that seem too strong—feelings like anxiety, depression, grief, sadness, boredom, unhappiness, anger—psychotherapy can help you understand why you feel this way and how you can feel more in control and get relief.
If you constantly feel like you’re not good enough, psychotherapy can help you deal with negative feelings about yourself and give you clues as to how to cope with those feelings and lessen them too.
If you feel blocked in your creativity, psychotherapy can help you figure out what is keeping you blocked and free you to realize your full creative potential.
If you struggle with issues related to sexuality, ethnicity, parenthood, aging, illness, disability, partnering, divorce or other concerns, psychotherapy can help you become clearer and more comfortable about who you are and how you see yourself.
How does psychotherapy work?
You meet regularly with your therapist and talk about whatever is bothering you. Your therapist, who has expertise in helping people with difficulties such as yours, will listen and talk with you so that you will gain new perspectives on yourself and your problems.
As this process of understanding goes on, you will find yourself making changes in how you feel, how you see yourself, how you resolve problems, and how you conduct your life.