What is Psychotherapy

Home / What is Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy explained by Fitzwilliam Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is about making sense of our experience and, over time, becoming aware of parts of our psychological lives that may not be fully conscious to us – things that have been forgotten or that have been set aside because it has been too painful for us to look at them. Our making sense is not always about a change in how we think about things but it is more about how we experience things in a fuller and wider way.

What brings someone into this kind of experience is often only a starting point for a wider and deeper exploration of one’s life as a whole. Psychotherapy is about exploring our own individual experience and people usually seek this when experience is painful. It involves looking at our lives in a broad way and finding connections between parts of our lives. While psychotherapy is in part about helping to resolve certain kinds of symptoms (like depression or anxiety), it is also about developing a fuller life experience.

Psychotherapy helps us to make sense of our experience and to link what we have experienced in our lives, our current situations and our aspirations for the future. It involves a taking of time and of space to develop a fuller sense of one’s life and where one has come to in this.

Our experience of life can leave us feeling fearful of everyday things and our lives can be limited as a result. It may be difficult to form relationships as it may be hard to put energy into work or to complete projects. For many people, such experience means that life is narrowed and things seem to remain unchanged. Hopes for development in life are suspended. Our confidence is affected by messages from childhood – from within the family, from teachers, from peers – and this often interferes with how we go about our lives later. We may hold back from things that would leave us feeling exposed or inadequate.

People often experience a sense of being caught or stuck in their lives; they feel trapped by the circumstances in their lives but also by their own ways of doing things. It is difficult to shift out of such patterns and cycles by our will alone and by the time we begin psychotherapy, we have often tried many other things.