- What is medical psychotherapy?
- Who are medical psychotherapists?
- Who is psychotherapy suitable for?
- What types of medical psychotherapy are there?
- Do you need a referral letter to visit a psychotherapist?
- How long does psychotherapy last?
Medical psychotherapy is a treatment used to help people struggling with their emotional and mental well-being. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, encourages patients to explore past issues or events that impact their present-day life and cause persistent problems. The patient's thought process is examined to identify the root cause of the mental condition or emotional distress. Psychotherapy aims to reduce the burden on the patient to improve their overall well-being. This treatment is often used alongside medication to treat mental health illnesses.
Medical psychotherapists are trained psychiatrists who specialised in psychotherapy. ‘Therapist’ is the broad term used to describe professionals that treat psychological problems. Psychotherapy can be provided by numerous professionals, ranging from psychologists to licenced councillors, who have specialised training in the field. However, medical psychotherapy is provided by psychiatrists who are also trained in medicine and are capable of prescribing medication, in addition to therapy.
Psychotherapy can help those who:
- Are struggling to deal with problems, particularly past traumas, to the extent that it impacts their daily life and relationship with others.
- Suffer from depression or anxiety.
- Have a chronic condition, such as cancer, that has affected their wellbeing negatively.
- Struggle to overcome an addiction.
- Have schizophrenia or other conditions that cause detachment from reality.
- Have already visited a counsellor and been active in improving their condition, but have not experienced an improvement in their situation
Psychotherapy can benefit most mental health problems. There are few risks associated with the treatment. As difficult topics may be discussed, patients may experience moments of discomfort but should be reassured that they are speaking with trained professionals who want to find them a long-term solution to their emotional and mental pain.
There is a wide scope of therapies that can fall under medical psychotherapies. A therapy session may be individual or group sessions and can be suitable for children and adults. Such therapies can include:
As previously mentioned, these therapies may be used in conjunction with medication, and even other forms of therapy such as art therapy, to relieve some of the symptoms a patient is suffering from. The common aim of all these treatments is to help the patient to understand their emotions and thoughts better, to recognise how they influence their behaviour and how they can manage them in a less harmful way.
There are many different trained professionals who provide psychotherapy. In order to book an appointment with a psychiatrist, a referral letter from a GP is usually necessary. Your GP may assess your situation and advise on the most suitable treatment. In some instances, a referral may not be needed.
The length of psychotherapy is not fixed, rather decided upon by the patient and psychotherapist. Generally, it is a long-term solution for a chronic problem and can continue over an extended period of time intermittently, depending on the patient’s needs. It is essential that the patient trusts the psychotherapist and is able to be open and honest. This treatment is a collaborative effort and the more insightful information shared, the more accurate and personalised help and support can be provided to the patient. The time between sessions may increase as the patients feels they are benefitting from the treatment. Patients may also be required to do extra activities outside of the sessions to promote mindfulness, such as journaling, to process emotions and thoughts in a constructive way.