Psychotherapy Overview

Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental and/or emotional problems using psychological rather than medical means. The psychotherapist uses various approaches, techniques, and tools during the course of treatment to guide the client into deeper self-exploration and problem-solving that ultimately enhances psychological wellness. At UPWARD, session tools may include talk therapy, in-session role plays, in- and out-of-session assignments, psychological assessments, and play therapy (for children). The psychotherapy relationship is one based on trust, honesty, openness, and respectful collaboration between therapist and client.

Psychotherapy, when done well, can have significant benefits. It allows the client to explore his/her feelings, behaviours, and thoughts, restore interpersonal relationships, come up with solutions to difficult issues, enhance awareness and insight, and bring about other positive life changes. However, difficult topics also arise that can lead to discomfort and strong feelings (such as intense anger, fear and sadness) and may not be resolved at the end of every session. Hence, an important part of psychotherapy is learning how to sit with heavy feelings outside of the psychotherapy room, process why these emotions and thoughts are coming up, and be ready to discuss these issues at the next session. During psychotherapy the client is also challenged to engage behaviours that fall outside of his/her comfort zone or encouraged to make changes in aspects of his/her life that may be negatively impacting his/her ability to function optimally (e.g. relationships, housing, jobs, etc.). The main goal of psychotherapy is to improve psychological wellness and bring about mental healing. This requires the client’s active involvement in the psychotherapy relationship.

For more information on the types of psychotherapy services offered at UPWARD, see the individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy pages. Additional information on what to expect in therapy, costs, and other service-related issues can be found in UPWARD’s Service Agreement.