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Dr. Beverley Marais  DPsych  CPsychol  CSci  AFBPsS  UKCP reg.  HCPC reg.  FDAP


Psychotherapy is a term used for the treatment of psychological problems.


There are many forms of psychotherapy including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychodynamic therapy. All forms, however, aim to increase an individual’s self awareness as well as their sense of well-being.

Psychotherapy involves an individual communicating with a therapist face-to-face or online to help them overcome the problems or concerns causing them psychological distress. The therapist may set them ‘homework’ tasks to complete such as monitoring and recording when they experience the negative feelings.


This works in two ways:

It allows the therapist to focus in on the problem (therefore allowing a more effective treatment).

The individual can see the thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with the negative or uncomfortable states and can make a conscious effort to change it outside of the therapy sessions.

Psychotherapy is not limited to any specific areas that an individual may be having problems with. Outlined below are some common concerns, some of their symptoms and how psychotherapy can help.

Work Issues

Some people experience anxiety through the stress of their workload or may be experiencing challenging or difficult relationships with their colleagues , thereby negatively affecting their ability to perform and well-being at work. This, in turn, may lead to increased anxiety and possibly depressive feelings, resulting in an inability to cope. People may find that they then take more time off work due to stress-related illness and may also become more prone to physical illness as a result. With the help of Psychotherapy, people are able to process, understand and work through their issues, and with the use of various psychotherapeutic techniques, they become more able to manage their work life more effectively.


Stress comes in all forms, for example, from family, work, social life, amongst others. There are two types of stress, eustress and distress. Eustress is positive and helps you move towards a goal, whereas distress is the one which can have a negative effect on someone’s life. Psychotherapy can aid this by helping to increase people’s levels of resilience when dealing with distressing or stressful life situations.

Sleep Problems

Approximately 25% of the people in the UK suffer from some sort of sleeping disorder. This could be restless leg syndrome, broken sleep patterns, insomnia or anything else that causes the individual to have a low quality sleep. Many take medication to get a good nights rest however this often causes a ‘hangover’ feeling in the morning and there is the risk of becoming dependant on the drugs. There is good news, research has shown that CBT is the most effective treatment. So how can psychotherapy help you sleep better? The most common cause of insomnia is an over active brain. CBT can help seek out the triggers to insomnia whilst also providing sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques in order to attain a restful night’s sleep.

Other Psychological Issues

Psychotherapy has many forms which makes it incredibly effective at treating various psychological issues. The three examples above are the most common however they are not the only problems that can be treated. Issues such as a lacking of concentration, depression, anxiety have all been effectively treated in the past using psychotherapy.

The individual may not know the core reason that is causing them the issue, however, through the use of an integrative therapeutic approach, CBT or psychodynamic psychotherapy, a therapist can help the individual to discover possible triggers for their problems or concerns and then help them think through options in order to resolve them.

For further reading:

Psychotherapy Introduction -


Psychodynamic Therapy -


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - cognitive_behaviour_therapy

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