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  • Writer's pictureCarla Vercruysse

What is Psychotherapy?

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

"One adult in eight (12.1%) receives mental health treatment, with 10.4% receiving medication and 3% receiving psychological therapy" The Mental Health Foundation

So, what is Psychotherapy? It's a widely used term but it's not always fully understood.

If you Google "Psychotherapy", the definition given is: ‘talking therapy’. But then what is 'talking therapy'? How can we understand a term that feels so vague and intangible? And how does talking make things better?

I find that the term ‘talking’ can feel a bit vague. In talking therapy we are talking to a trained professional, not just anybody. When we talk to our friends or family we assume that they are listening. But how often do you truly feel heard for what you are saying, feeling and communicating to the other? The answer may vary, but it's probably not as often as we might hope. A therapist is trained to listen to you in a confidential and non-judgemental way so that you can feel heard and understood.

When paying someone we often want to see tangible results. When you go and see a doctor for example there is a clear path: symptoms that lead to a diagnosis and eventually a plan/prognosis. Furthermore and perhaps critically, with a doctor you can often quantify if the treatment is working or not. In psychotherapy the process is similar but quantifying results is not always possible. There is no blood test that shows us how we are doing. What we are asked to do with talking therapies is embark on the process and try to trust it. The results can be subtle and can sometimes happen gradually, without us being fully conscious of them.

Anyone going through a hard time can choose to go and see a therapist.

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