From ArticleWorld

Psychotherapy is a blanket term which covers a number of techniques and approaches which deal with mental health problems and emotional or behavioural problems. They have as a common feature the fact that the treatment is based on conversation between the therapist and the client, and have been referred to as talking therapies.

There is no need for psychotherapists to have medical qualifications as the treatment is based on conversation only and no medicines are prescribed, but there are of course qualification and licensing requirements to fulfill before being able to practice psychotherapy. It may be practiced by a wide range of mental health workers such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, trained nurses and counselors.


Psychoanalysis began with Freud in the 1880's when he worked in Vienna. His school of psychology is that of psychoanalysis and he invented constructs such as free association, dream analysis and transference. His students and colleagues such as Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Otto Rank, psychoanalysts themselves, went on to form their own schools of thought which came to be labeled as psychodynamic as they emphasized the influence of the conscious and unconscious psyche on the self. From these roots, modern psychotherapy continues to adapt and change, some approaches remaining faithful to traditional theories and others breaking new ground.

Six main types

There are six main types of psychotherapy

  1. Psychodynamic which includes Jung's Analytical Psychology and includes the theories that concentrate on the psyche in preference to the ego as the dynamic influencing the conscious and unconscious mind.
  2. Cognitive therapies started in the 1940's with Aaron T Beck. In this type of therapy, the aim is the modification of core beliefs and it has proven effective in the treatment of depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders among others.
  3. Humanistic/supportive therapies originated with Carl Rogers in the 1950's and among its basic concepts are unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding and genuiness.
  4. Behaviour therapy began in the 1920's but only fully emerged in the 50's and 60's. The therapy focuses on observable, measurable behaviour rather than the cognitive processes favoured by other approaches.
  5. Brief therapy is, as the name implies, a therapy that uses specific techniques such as narrative therapy and solution-focused therapy that provide results in only five to ten sessions.
  6. Systemic Psychotherapy such as family therapy and marriage counseling.