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Life can go up and down, sometimes you feel better and sometimes you feel worse. However, if you have felt bad for a long time, it might be good to seek help. Here we explain what psychotherapy is and how treatment works.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a psychological treatment that aims to help individuals understand themselves and manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviours better in order to improve their mental health. There are different approaches to psychotherapy based on different theories, using different tools and techniques to meet the client’s needs and goals.

Psychological treatment is based on psychology as a science with treatment for many different diagnoses and conditions. These include depression, anxiety, stress, sleep problems, trauma, eating disorders, addiction or other conditions such as relationship problems.

It is common to receive psychotherapy in combination with medication, physical activity or other habitual changes.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk


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When might you need to seek psychotherapy?

If you have been feeling bad for a long time or have noticed you have a pattern that is difficult to break, it may be useful to try psychotherapy. Problems can be anything from having a tough childhood to having sleep problems. Many people who use psychotherapy do so because they find it difficult to talk to their loved ones, or they do not have enough support in their lives. Psychological treatment is now common and definitely nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes we just need a little more help.


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Are there different ways of working with psychotherapy?

The most common form of treatment is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). There is a lot of research showing that it provides good results for many different conditions.

Within CBT, there are new treatments, known as third-wave CBT, including Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and Compassion-focused therapy (CFT). Another treatment method is Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). For more complex problems, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) or Schema Therapy can be helpful.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) can be helpful for trauma. Psychodynamic therapy, existential therapy, and couples therapy are also available, depending on what you require.

How does psychotherapy work?

In simple terms, psychotherapy consists of two parts: the relationship between the psychologist and the client, and the method used by the psychologist.

The relationship is also called alliance, as treatment incorporates empathy and understanding, so you feel seen and heard as a client. The treatment itself can be structured based on a certain proven approach, but it is also adapted to the individual’s needs.

In group treatment, therapy is often manual-based. Psychotherapy can be in-person, but it is also possible to meet via video. There is also a lot of research on internet-mediated CBT (IMCT) that has produced good results. Here are some basic aspects of psychotherapy:

  1. Conversation and relationship: The conversation between client and therapist is central to psychotherapy. Here you can explore what you need help with.
  2. Goal setting: At the beginning of therapy, short- and long-term goals for the therapy are usually formulated.
  3. Therapeutic methods: There are various therapeutic methods used in psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, humanistic therapy, existential therapy, gestalt therapy, and many others. Each method has its principles and techniques.
  4. Self-awareness and change: Psychotherapy aims to help the client increase self-awareness, understand deeper patterns and causes of problems, and develop skills and strategies for change and better management of life’s challenges.
  5. Duration and frequency: The number of sessions and duration of therapy varies depending on the severity of the problem. Some therapies may be short and focused, while others may be more long-term and exploratory.
  6. Individual and group treatment: Psychotherapy can be conducted individually or in groups, depending on the client’s preferences and needs.
  7. Evidence-based practice: There is a lot of research on psychotherapy and evidence-based means that there have been scientific studies showing their effectiveness for different psychological problems. The effectiveness for different conditions can vary between different methods, with some methods getting better results than others.

If you work with psychotherapy and have a healthcare license, you have a duty of confidentiality. The professional must not reveal information about you to anyone else. In group therapy, all group participants must agree on confidentiality.

Who is involved in psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy can be provided by different professionals. Licensed psychologists usually work in psychotherapy, but there are also opportunities for other professionals such as doctors, social workers and nurses to train as psychotherapists.

There are also others who are interested in learning about treatment and who then attend what is called Step 1 in, for example, CBT. This allows you to provide CBT at a more basic level. Then there are many alternative treatment methods and forms whic can also be helpful but there is not always much research done on them.

If you are in treatment with a licensed therapist, you have certain rights if you are not satisfied. Licensed practitioners are held accountable by their governing bodies, which does not apply with coaches or another non-licensed professionals.

Online psychotherapy

All Lavendla’s psychologists and therapists provide online treatments via video conference. Feel free to book an initial session through our website if you need treatment. We help make the difficult easier.


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12 common questions about psychotherapy

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is treatment that aims to help individuals understand themselves and manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviours better to improve mental health.

How much does psychotherapy cost?

Sessions with Lavendla’s psychologists and therapists cost between €30-€100 per session, depending on the practitioner and the length of session.

What can you get help with in psychotherapy?

Psychological treatment is for many different diagnoses and conditions. It could be depression, anxiety, stress, sleep problems, trauma, eating disorders, addiction, or any other condition, including relationship problems.

How long does psychotherapy take?

Timeframes vary depending on the severity of the problem. A shorter period of therapy may be sufficient for some, while others need longer treatment. It can be anything from one session to two years.

What methods and techniques are used in psychotherapy?

Therapists use different methods and techniques to process thoughts, and feelings in dealing with clients’ different needs. The therapist may also give homework between sessions.

Can I take medication while undergoing psychotherapy?

It is common to receive psychotherapy in combination with medication, such as anti-depressants or sleeping pills. If you want to stop your medication, speak with your doctor.

How does treatment work?

The treatment itself can be structured according to a specific approach that has been shown to work, but it can also be adapted to the needs of the individual. If you are in group treatment, the therapy is often manual-based.

What does confidentiality mean?

If you work with psychotherapy and have a health care license, you have a duty of confidentiality. The professional may not disclose information about you to anyone else.

What is a licensed profession?

A licensed profession means that you have completed a training and practice period under supervision where you are quality assured by the governing body.

Can I do psychotherapy online?

All Lavendla’s psychologists and therapists provide online treatments via video conference. Feel free to book an initial session through our website if you need treatment. We help make the difficult easier.

If I have not been treated properly, where can I turn?

As a licensed practitioner, you can be investigated by the relevant governing body, which you can also turn to as a patient.

Where can I turn if I need help?

Lavendla has a team of experienced psychologists and therapists available to help you feel better. Feel free to book an initial session through our website. In the case of an acute mental health crisis, call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk immediately.



Written by dominic

Dominic is a Cape Town-based copywriter and editor with a background in psychology.