What is psychotherapy?

Pronunciation: psychotherapy/ sʌɪkəʊˈθɛrəpi/


Although similar in nature, psychotherapy is different from counselling. As directly quoted from the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario website, “The practice of psychotherapy is distinct from both counselling, where the focus is on the provision of information, advice-giving, encouragement and instruction, and spiritual counselling, which is counselling related to religion or faith-based beliefs.”1 


Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the therapist and client, and the particular problems you bring forward. There are many different methods that can be used to deal with the problems that you hope to address. Psychotherapy is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, it calls for a very active effort on your part. In order for therapy to be most successful, you will have to work on things talked about and practiced both during the sessions and at home.


Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have benefits for people who go through it. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. But there are no guarantees of what you will experience. Sometimes psychotherapy services are provided primarily to prevent further deterioration of your mental or emotional status. Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select. 


Bernadette is trained in several psychotherapy modalities (including Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Trauma-Informed Adlerian Psychotherapy, Family Systems, Couples Therapy, Developmental-Individual-Relationship based therapy, Attachment, Mindfulness, Developmental Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy, Expressive therapies, Psychodynamic Therapy, and so on). If you have questions about Bernadette's procedures, you should discuss them with her whenever they arise. If your doubts persist, Bernadette will be happy to refer you to another mental health professional for a second opinion. 


1 HPRAC: New Directions, 2006; Chapter 7, Regulation of Psychotherapy, p. 208.