Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is sometimes referred to as ‘the talking cure’ and aims to help with a range of emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy looks at the whole person, explores the context of individual lives and how this shapes the present. It considers present difficulties in the light of past events, such as childhood and family experiences. It recognises the importance of unconscious processes, dreams and fantasies.

Psychotherapy can offer help in a crisis or when facing times of change.

Therapy can be short term for those seeking focussed work, or longer term for those wanting to explore deeper personal development, insight and self awareness.

Long term therapy can be an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of experiences in new ways. This can lead to a sense of awakening to purpose and creativity in life.

Although psychotherapy is usually long term work, it always aims to bring changes so that there can be an end in sight.

Talking in a confidential relationship with a therapist can be of benefit to those with problems such as

  • repetitive or destructive patterns of behaviour
  • facing changes at significant times in life
  • stress and anxiety
  • physical health problems
  • eating disorders, phobias or panic attacks
  • difficulty in communicating and showing feelings
  • failing to find meaning and purpose in life
  • relationship difficulties
  • adjusting to loss and bereavement
  • questions about racial or cultural identity and heritage
  • questions of sexual orientation
  • feelings of worthlessness and depression
  • a general sense of frustration and inertia in life
  • wanting to resolve a problem to do with family or past family experiences
  • a diagnosis of mental health problems
  • a desire to explore alternatives to medication

Psychotherapy should not be confused with psychiatry, which is a branch of medicine treating mental illness, usually with drugs.

Psychotherapy differs from psychology, which uses psychometric tests and evaluations to help people understand their difficulties.


Counselling usually focuses on a particular problem and is often short term work. Its purpose is to define the problem, help the person consider various choices and enable him or her to move on.

Will it be suitable for me?

Yes, if you are:

  • feeling the need for changes in your life
  • trying to cope with painful feelings
  • interested in understanding or exploring yourself and your relationships
  • willing to make the necessary commitment in time and money.