What is Psychotherapy?

Therapeutic interaction between a client, patient, couple, family or group, and a trained professional is called psychotherapy. This therapy is a treatment, which addresses the problems faced by these clients, which are psychological in nature. The problems faced by family, group, individual, or couple can arise due to varied causes, influences, triggers and other potential resolutions. Depending on the experience or capability of the professional, accurate assessment of these causes can be made, and therapeutic solutions can be arrived at. As the practitioner gains experience, the assessment can change or evolve considerably with more knowledge and insight.

Psychotherapy sessions include various interactive processes that occur between an individual or group and a qualified mental health professional, who could be a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed counselor, or any other trained practitioner. The main purpose behind these therapies is the exploration of thoughts, feelings, and the behaviour, to understand the purpose of the achieving higher levels of functioning and problem solving.

Psychotherapy in Chennaiby trained psychotherapists has high impact on achieving an individual’s sense of well being. Experienced psychotherapists in Chennaiuse a wide range of scientific techniques that are based and developed on experiential relationship building, communication, behavior change, and dialogue. These techniques are designed to improve the mental health of the patient or client, and to improve the dynamics of relationship in a group or family.

Practitioners of psychotherapy are usually qualified in various fields of therapy like psychiatry, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, clinical or psychiatric social work, mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, hypnotherapy, play therapy, music therapy, art therapy, drama therapy, dance/movement therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatric nursing, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy for depression, and those from other psychotherapies. Depending on the legal system and jurisdiction of the region, psychotherapy may be legally regulated, unregulated or voluntarily regulated. Professional requirements of this career entity vary from region to region, and often require a degree from a graduate school, or supervised clinical experience.


Psychotherapy has been in practice for many years. Individuals have always been receiving informal psychotherapy in the form of counsel and reassurance from others. According to Colin Feltham, "The Stoics were one of the main Hellenistic schools of philosophy and therapy, along with the Sceptics and Epicureans (Nussbaum, 1994). From the late 4th century BC to the 4th century AD, many philosophers and physicians from these schools practiced psychotherapy among the Greeks and Romans. The principal precursor and inspiration for many approaches of cognitive therapy and rational-emotive behaviour therapy was explicitly Stoic Philosophy.

Sigmund Freud and others developed the first specific school of psychotherapy, which was psychoanalysis. Freud was trained as a neurologist, and focused on the problems that did not have any organic basis. He theorized that these problems originated from psychological causes involving the childhood and unconscious mind. Many techniques like dream interpretation, free association, transference and analysis of the id, ego and superego were developed. Basing their theories on Freud’s fundamental ideas, many theorists like Anna Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Karen Horney, Otto Rank, Erik Erikson, Melanie Klein, and Heinz Kohut, developed their own systems of psychotherapy.

Notable contributors for Behaviorism and behaviour modification as a therapy were Joseph Wolpe in South Africa, M.B. Shipiro and Hans Eysenck in Britain, and John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner in the United States. This was popularised in the 1950s and 1970s with therapy approaches that relied on the principles of operant conditioning, classical conditioning and social learning theory to bring about therapeutic change in observable symptoms.

Major contributors in the US (e.g., Irvin Yalom, Rollo May) and Europe (Viktor Frankl, Ludwig Binswanger, Medard Boss, R.D.Laing, Emmy van Deurzen) and later in the 1960s and 1970s both in the United Kingdom and in Canada, Eugene Heimler attempted to create therapies sensitive to common 'life crises' springing from the essential bleakness of human self-awareness, previously accessible only through the complex writings of existential philosophers (e.g., Soren Kierkegaard, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gabriel Marcel, Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche). The uniqueness of the patient-therapist relationship forms a vehicle for therapeutic inquiry. Other important orientations developed in the last three decades include Feminist therapy, Brief therapy, Somatic Psychology, Expressive therapy, applied Positive psychology and the Human Givens approach which is building on the best of what has gone before.


Psychotherapy uses many models of communication like written word, artwork, drama, narrative story or music, but the most popularly used one is spoken conversation. Psychotherapy usually occurs within a structured interaction between the client(s), and the trained therapist. Psychotherapy with parents and their children may involve play, drawing, role play, and dramatization, along with many non-verbal and displaced modes of interaction like co-constructed narratives. Though many approaches have been developed and continue to develop every day, the theoretical and purposeful psychotherapy began with psychoanalysis in the 19th century.

The term counseling, which usually means the treatment of everyday problems, can be interchangeably used with psychotherapy, which uses specific or non-specific manifestations of clinically diagnosable and/or existential crises. Our expert Child psychiatrist in Chennai can help a child overcome child hood problems or any behavioral issues.

Many practitioners see themselves in the role of a facilitator or a helper, while following humanistic therapy. Many psychotherapeutic approaches do not adhere to the symptom-based model of "illness/cure". Therapists are legally bound to respect and follow the client or patient confidentiality, as many deeply sensitive and personal topics are often discussed in the sessions.