Psychotherapy aims to alleviate psychological distress through talking, rather than by medication although those on medication can also use psychotherapy and the two approaches often compliment each other.
Psychotherapy is commonly used for psychological problems that have had a number of years to accumulate (although it can also be used for issues arising from a traumatic event). It works because a trusting relationship is built up between the client and the psychotherapist. The psychotherapist will then enable the client to access memories and reflect upon unconscious processes that the client adopts. The “challenging” is empathic and gentle and may include use of imagery/visualisation and other therapeutic “tools”.
Treatment can continue for several months, and even years. Psychotherapy may be practiced on a one-to-one basis, or in pairs, and even in groups. Generally, sessions occur about once a week and last 50 minutes.
Some people refer to psychotherapy as "talking treatment" because it is generally based on talking to the therapist or group of people with similar problems. Other forms of communication, including writing, artwork, drama, narrative story or music may also be used. Sessions take place within a structured encounter between a qualified therapist and a client or clients. Purposeful, theoretically based psychotherapy started in the 19th century with psychoanalysis; it has developed significantly since then.