What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy aims to help clients gain insight into their difficulties or distress, establish a greater understanding of their motivation, and enable them to find more appropriate ways of coping or bring about changes in their thinking and behaviour.
Psychotherapy involves exploring feelings, beliefs, thoughts and relevant events, sometimes from childhood and personal history, in a structured way with someone trained to help you do it safely.
Depending on the nature of your problem, therapy can be short or long term. Sessions can be provided for adults, adolescents and children on a one-to-one basis, or for couples, families and within groups whose members share similar problems.
What happens during psychotherapy?
Every session is different because every client is different, as are their problems. Your psychotherapist will encourage you to talk and explore, in a structured way, your feelings and experiences.
Depending on their training and modality, your therapist may also suggest particular techniques as part of that exploration – for example, using art, imaging, dream or movement work.
Whatever the technique or clinical approach, psychotherapy is not a magical cure, it is a process to help you find the capacity for improvement within yourself.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Different people use the words counselling and psychotherapy in different ways, so there is no commonly agreed definition. There is a general understanding that a psychotherapist can work with a wider range of clients or patients and can offer more in-depth work where appropriate.
UKCP believes the difference lies in the length and depth of training involved and in the quality of the relationship between the client and their therapist. UKCP-registered psychotherapists are trained to Masters level.
UKCP registers psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Psychotherapeutic counsellors are counsellors who have received more in-depth training than that undertaken by most counsellors. UKCP’s training standards for both qualifications seek to ensure that UKCP registrants are competent to practice to the highest standards.