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Psychotherapy is a set of techniques believed to cure or to help solve behavioral and other psychological problems in humans. The common part of these techniques is direct personal contact between therapist and patient, mainly in the form of talking. Owing to the nature of these communications, there are significant issues of patient privacy and/or client confidentiality .


Schools and approaches

Psychoanalysis was the earliest form of psychotherapy, but many other theories and techniques are now used by psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, personal growth facilitators and social workers. Techniques for group therapy have been developed.

While behaviour is often a target of the work, many approaches value the notion of "psyche" in the root of the word. This is especially true of the psychodynamic schools of psychotherapy, which today include Jungian therapy and Psychodrama. Other approaches focus on the link between the mind and body and try to access deeper levels of the psyche through manipulation of the physical body. Examples are Rolfing, Pulsing and Postural Integration .

A distinction can also be made between those psychotherapies that employ a medical model and those that employ a humanistic model. In the medical model the client is seen as unwell and the therapist employs their skill to help them back to health. An example would be Freudian psychotherapy. In the humanistic model the therapist facilitates learning in the individual and the clients own natural process draws them to a fuller understanding of themselves. An example would be Gestalt therapy.

Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to treat specific symptoms or problems in a limited number of therapeutic sessions and for this reason is particularly common where the mode of psychotherapy is dictated by the demands of insurance companies who wish to see a financially limited commitment.

A computer program called ELIZA has been built to perform an automated and extremely simplified version of Rogersian psychotherapy.

List of psychotherapeutic modalities

In the 20th century a bewildering range of psychotherapies sprang up in western societies.

The following is only a partial list:

List of techniques used in psychotherapy

The following techniques may be employed in psychotherapy although which are used will depend on the nature of the therapy

Related topics

Therapy, Psychology, Attachment, Defence mechanism Neurosis, Psychosis, Psychiatry , Important publications in psychoanalysis & psychotherapy


An introduction to Psychodynamic schools

  • Anthony Bateman, Dennis Brown, Jonathan Pedder Introduction to Psychotherapy: An Outline of Psychodynamic Principles and Practice; Routledge; ISBN 0415205697; June 2000
  • Bateman, A. & Holmes J. Introduction to Psychoanalysis: Contemporary Theory and Practice; Routledge; ISBN 0415107393; 1995

An introduction to Humanistic schools

  • John Rowan; Ordinary Ecstacy: Brunner-Routledge; ISBN 0415236320; March 2001

External links

  • UK Council for Psychotherapy
  • European Association for Psychotherapy

Last updated: 02-10-2005 13:08:43
Last updated: 02-11-2005 17:47:38