Psychotherapy, often referred to as “the talking cure”, is a collaborative process that is based on the relationship between an individual and a therapist.
The therapeutic relationship is different to one you may have with a significant other, family member, or friend. Therapy is facilitated by a skilled professional (usually a psychologist) according to an established evidence base, meaning that the therapeutic principles and techniques applied have been scientifically verified and found to be helpful. Therapy entails more than talking about your problems with someone who will listen, offer reassurance, or potential solutions. Therapy may include these elements, but most therapists aim to foster personal growth and change by helping you discover new ways of seeing, thinking, and feeling that leave you more capable, self-aware, and empowered.
As psychotherapy is a highly individualised treatment, the process differs for everyone – generally, it is influenced by factors such as treatment approach, therapist fit, length of therapy, as well as your commitment to attend sessions and be open with your therapist. Therapy often involves exploring emotionally distressing situations, past traumas and painful memories, feelings of frustration, and, at times, shame-filled disclosures. A skilled psychotherapist will guide you through this process with kindness, compassion, and gentle curiosity. I would like to encourage you to let your therapist know how you are feeling, whether this involves negative or positive emotions towards them. It is okay to have mixed feelings about therapy, and addressing this with your therapist can be very helpful.