The use of conversation and discussion to illustrate, understand and sort out underlying psychological problems is a vast subject. The broad term psychotherapy is used to denote a wide variety of methods to deal with emotional problems. It covers everything and anything from counselling to psychoanalysis . There are four main branches of psychotherapy: psychoanalytic, humanistic, cognitive and behavioural. Within these branches are many more types or ‘schools’ of psychotherapy, but all of them use talking to stimulate and support the process of achieving mental health.

Psychotherapy is not only suitable for people in crisis or conflict, but can also be used as a method of achieving personal growth and realiz- ing full potential. Undergoing therapy requires that you make the choice to do it yourself , and that you are open to change and to new feelings and experiences. A basic rule of thumb is to trust your psychotherapist or counsellor and to let him or her use whichever therapy is felt to be the most suitable. A few practitioners have training in more than one type of psychotherapy and these are probably the practitioners with whom to work. Whatever theories or techniques they may espouse, all the psychotherapies have one aim in common – that is, to enable their clients to understand themselves and their relationships with others, and to explore new ways of behaving and dealing with conflicts and difficulties.