The terms ‘psychotherapy’ and ‘counselling’ are sometimes used interchangeably but, while the two disciplines certainly overlap, there is a general understanding that psychotherapy refers to work that is more in-depth and able to deal with more complex problems.
Such problems may be long-term, stemming from early on in life, or may occur where current experience has triggered deeper, earlier insecurities. In addressing such difficulties it is often necessary to look into childhood and personal history, and methods such as focusing, active imagination, dream work, guided meditation and regressive techniques may be used to facilitate this exploration.
A secure and trusting environment is essential for such work and the relationship between client and therapist is seen as central to the therapeutic process. Although brief psychotherapy is possible where help is needed to resolve a more immediate crisis, psychotherapy is usually expected to be fairly long-term.