What is therapy?

Therapy involves you talking about the way you feel, think and act. The clinical psychologist listens to you and helps you gain new understandings of yourself so you can make changes in your life. A number of things make therapy different from talking to a friend. First, your psychologist will have specialised knowledge of psychological research, theory and approaches to treating problems. This will guide the way they listen to you, challenge you and support you. Second, usually you will know very little about the personal life of your psychologist.

There are many aspects involved in the therapy a Clinical Psychologist may practice.
These include:

  • Exploring and changing the way you relate to and communicate within your family and other relationships
  • Helping you learn skills for managing problems
  • Helping you and/or your family understand and cope with an intellectual or learning difficulty you may have
  • Helping you become aware of and understand your emotions
  • Helping you to understand how experiences in your life, even as far back as childhood, can affect the way you think, feel and act now
  • Helping you understand and change the way your thoughts affect how you feel and act
  • Helping you understand how a psychiatric disorder developed and what keeps it going, so that you can take charge of it
  • Using play and games to help children communicate about their troubles

A clinical psychologist may work with individuals, couples, families or groups. Therapy sessions usually last for about an hour. You may meet with your psychologist for only a short time or for a number of months. Before therapy begins your psychologist should discuss with you the likely length of the therapy.

 For more information download the pamphlet "How Effective is Psychological Therapy"