We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Does a Psychological Therapist Do?

By Marlene de Wilde
Updated Jan 31, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A psychological therapist, or psychotherapist, treats a variety of conditions such as adjustment or developmental disorders as well as mental disorders and illnesses. A variety of psychological techniques are used to change negative behaviors, thoughts, habits and feelings as well as to develop self awareness and personal strengths. Psychological therapists follow different theoretical approaches and may offer individual, group or family therapy. The main difference between psychotherapy and other types of counseling is that the former requires some form of training whereas the latter may not.

Different theoretical approaches are followed by different therapists who are guided by their training and experience to best serve the needs of the patient. Generally, the first few visits will be devoted to a psychological evaluation of the patient and the establishment of a relationship that both therapist and patient feel comfortable with. By asking background questions and perhaps the completion of a questionnaire, a psychological therapist is able to build up a psychological profile of the patient that then dictates how counseling is to proceed.

Therapy depends on the approach favored by the psychotherapist. Behavioral and cognitive therapies, or a mixture of the two, are aimed at changing behavior and cognition respectively. The therapist leaves most of the talking to the patient and gradually maladaptive thoughts and behaviors are unlearned and rational, positive ones take their place. Psychoanalysts concentrate on dreams and the unconscious and guide the patient to unravel the way their mind works and why they act the way they do. By making the unconscious mind conscious, the patient can then make different choices.

There are many therapy approaches but the standard procedure is that a diagnosis is given after the assessment; then it is usual for the psychological therapist to discuss the treatment procedure with the patient or even refer the patient to another therapist if appropriate. Some therapies are conducted once a week whereas others prefer to schedule sessions more often. Likewise, some are intended to be short-term while others can entail a long-term commitment. Usually, a session entails verbal communication between the therapist and patient but sometimes the therapy many involve art, drama, music or physical expression in order to either get to the root of the problem or effect treatment of it.

In order to become a psychological therapist, it is necessary to have either a master's degree or a PhD. Having a PhD enables the therapist to set up a private practice whereas therapists with a master's can practice only under supervision. Social Workers, psychiatrists and counselors may also practice psychotherapy within their own orientations.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.