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Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a group of therapies provided by a psychologist, counsellor or psychiatrist. Psychotherapy explores your feelings, thoughts and behaviours. It can be used by people with mental health conditions, and it can also be used by people who want to understand themselves better.

Psychotherapy can be used to treat:

Often, people with such conditions are also advised to use medications.

Common types of psychotherapy

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy - identifies negative thoughts and behaviours and replaces them with healthy ones.
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy - teaches positive behavioural skills to manage your stress, emotions and develop positive relationships. It is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Interpersonal therapy - helps you deal more effectively with people and situations you find difficult.
  • Supportive psychotherapy - identifies stressful events that affect your mental health and helps you create healthy decisions with encouragement from your therapist.
  • Family therapy - aims to improve your relationship with your family, and the family function as a whole. Therapy sessions are conducted with family members.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy - helps you accept stressful events, such as experiencing psychotic symptoms, and commit to develop positive attitudes towards them and focus on the present moment.
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy -increases your awareness of how distressing thoughts and feelings came to be.

What are the benefits of psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy does not do away with stressful events, but it gives you the power to cope in a healthy way. It can also help you understand yourself.

How can you get the most out of psychotherapy?

  • Be honest with your therapist. You need to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences honestly.
  • Be an active participant in the therapy. Therapy works best as a partnership: you need to do the work.
  • Put in the time. If you have homework, make this part of your daily routine. It may be difficult in the beginning, but a new habit takes up to three months to feel routine.
  • If it's not working, consider a different approach. Talk to your therapist about whether a different psychotherapy approach may be more beneficial for you.

How to find a psychotherapist?

See your doctor for a referral. You may be eligible for a mental health care plan.

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia and Good Therapy Australia have search tools to find local psychotherapists, and the methods they specialise in.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency helps you check whether psychologists and psychiatrists are registered.

When choosing a therapist, think about what you want to achieve and what type of psychotherapy may benefit you.

Last reviewed: September 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 182 results

Psychotherapy | myVMC

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy refers to a broad range of practices, techniques, theories and perspectives, andis concerned with the meaning of experience and behaviour. Therapy attends to specific personal issues, past and present.

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Psychodynamic Psychotherapy - BluePages

Find out if psychodynamic psychotherapy is likely to help.

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Interpersonal psychotherapy - BluePages

Find out if interpersonal psychotherapy is likely to help.

Read more on e-hub Web Services - Australian National University (ANU) website

Psychology and Psychotherapy | myVMC

Psychology and psychotherapy: Psychology is mainly taught in the universities; psychotherapy may be taught in university, but most trainings are offered by private organisations.

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Psychotherapy for Depression | myVMC

Psychotherapy treatment for depression involves understanding the reasons for depression and work through feelings to prevent depression returning.

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Psychotherapy for anxiety | myVMC

Psychotherapy differs from psychiatry. It aims to understand anxiety experiences, identify causes of anxiety, treat anxiety and prevent it returning.

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Cognitive behavioural therapy | Professional help | ReachOut Australia

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy used to address different kinds of mental health issues.

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Schizophrenia: An Overview | myVMC

Information on Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a long term mental illness.Treatments for schizophrenia includes medications, electroconvulsive therapy and psychotherapy.

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Individual Therapy | myVMC

Individual Therapy: Individual therapy is a psychotherapy implemented by a trained professional, usually a therapist or psychologist, which helps a client work through a problem.

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Teen mental health treatments for teens | Raising Children Network

Teens with mental health problems have many mental health treatment options, including counselling, psychotherapy, CBT, e-therapy, family therapy and more.

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