What is Psychotherapy?


During our lifetime, we may experience mental health issues in one way or another. For instance, people diagnosed with serious illnesses such as cancer, may need help to cope with the reality of their diagnosis, someone may need help to cope with the death of a loved one, or someone just may simply need help to quit smoking. At times we may feel overwhelmed and see no way out or any possible solutions for our problems, which is when we need someone who would just listen to us and assist us in finding solutions to our struggles. This is the job of Psychotherapy.


“Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment process based on the relationship between a client and a psychologist. Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows the person to talk and do something about his/her problems, issues and difficulties openly with someone who is neutral, unbiased and nonjudgmental. This is done in order to identify, change or enhance thought and behavior patterns to make one feel better than before and to be happier, healthier and productive in his/her life” (APA, 2016).

Psychotherapy is not a general conversation, but a scientific process whereby the psychotherapist applies evidence based procedures and techniques by tailoring them according to the person’s needs and requirements. As such, psychotherapy aims to offer a safe, confidential and supportive environment where one can have the space to explore the reality of their life.

Talking can help make sense of what is going on in ones life.  It may also facilitate an understanding of past experiences and offer the opportunity to look at how those experiences may be impacting the present.

When to Seek Help

Due to myths and stigmas attached to psychological illnesses and the therapeutic process in general, one may feel reluctant to seek therapy. However, one should understand the potential benefits of psychotherapy before ruling it out completely. Individuals may seek help from psychotherapists for a number of reasons including their long-term mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or the like, while others may need it to cope with their physical illnesses, which are interfering and disturbing their emotional and psychological well-being. Some may even seek psychotherapy for their short-term problems such as adjustment issues, grieving the death of a loved one or facing difficulty at a new job.

It should be noted here that the reasons listed above are not exhaustive in nature. The reasons are defined by the individuals themselves, not the society or the culture or the community.

Only you can understand what influences your mental health, how it impacts you and when you need to seek help for that concern.

Learn about some of the kinds of therapies that exist