Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living. This usually includes increasing individual sense of well-being and reducing subjective discomforting experience. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behaviour change and that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family.)
Most forms of psychotherapy use only spoken conversation, though some also use various other forms of communication such as the written word, artwork, drama, narrative story, or therapeutic touch. Psychotherapy occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client(s).
Therapy is generally used to respond to a variety of specific or non-specific manifestations of clinically diagnosable crises. Treatment of everyday problems is more often referred to as counselling but the term is sometimes used interchangeably with “psychotherapy”.
Psychotherapeutic interventions are often designed to treat the patient in the medical model, although not all psychotherapeutic approaches follow the model of “illness/cure”. Some practitioners, such as humanistic schools, see themselves in an educational or helper role. Because sensitive topics are often discussed during psychotherapy, therapists are expected, and usually legally bound, to respect client or patient confidentiality.