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  • Janet Chang

What is Psychotherapy and How Can it Help Me?

Updated: Sep 22

Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. It is a process in which a trained professional works with you to make desired changes to your life, in order to improve your psychological well-being. These changes include: learning to manage emotions better, changing thinking patterns and/or behaviour, improving relationships (with others/yourself), resolving hurt from past trauma, among other things.


Here are 5 characteristics of psychotherapy:


1. Evidence-based: Psychotherapy is not just about talking. In psychotherapy, the therapist uses evidence-based (scientifically proven) methods to inform and guide the dialogue. Different therapists use different theories and approaches depending on their training and orientation, though often times your therapist might be trained in more than one approach and will draw from various approaches depending on their assessment of your needs.


2. Collaborative: Psychotherapy is a collaborative process. From the start, you and your therapist will set and agree on the goals of therapy together. Your therapist will also seek feedback from you during therapy to check that it is going in a direction and pace that you are comfortable with. Depending on the approach or type of therapy that your therapist takes, you may also be given some “homework”- exercises or things to do in between sessions.


3. Not a quick fix: Some people enter psychotherapy hoping their therapist can provide them with all the answers. However, these people will often be disappointed, as the therapist may not have a “quick fix” or all the answers. Instead, therapy is a process, and during this process, your therapist will work with you and guide you to arriving at some of the answers you are seeking.


4. Individualised: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. Your therapist will work with you to ensure that therapy is individualised to address your needs. Hence, the assessment process is important and your therapist may take time to understand your problem and you as a person at the beginning stages of psychotherapy, so that they can decide and advise on how to proceed.


5. Provides a safe space: Your therapist provides a safe, non-judgmental, and validating environment for you to explore and confront difficult issues and feelings, and in the process gain better understanding and insight into yourself and your problems. It is through this process that change can occur.


To find out the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist,


If you have further questions or are keen to begin this process of psychotherapy,