People usually engage in psychotherapy if their lives are not going right. Whether the problem is obsessive thoughts or difficulties in relationships, gambling or anger management, identity problems or intimacy issues – psychotherapy is a safe and effective way to explore the underlying problems and make the symptoms better.

As the trusting relationship between the therapist and the patient develops it becomes a framework within which to create a life one desires.

There is something healing that occurs when one can feel understood in a safe and non-judgemental environment.

Psychotherapy can be said to have been practiced informally through the ages as people received guidance, counsel and understanding from others, but the word was formally coined at the end of 19th century and comes from Greek words “psyche” meaning spirit or soul, and “therapeia” meaning to nurse.

Today, many different forms of psychotherapy exist based on different schools of thought and approaches to the understanding of common problems. These include :

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Including Freudian, Lacanian, Kleinian approaches among many others. This type of therapy involves frequent meetings with the therapist, often 3 to 4 times per week, for many months and even years, in order to uncover and correct dysfunctional formations within the psyche.

It encourages the verbalisation of all of the patient’s thoughts, fantasies and dreams from which the therapist tries to understand the nature of subconscious conflict causing the patient’s symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This form of therapy utilizes specific tasks and exercises and is often practiced by psychologists.

Existential Psychotherapy

Existential psychotherapy is based on the existential belief that human beings are alone in the world. This isolation leads to feelings of meaninglessness, which can be overcome only by creating one’s own values and meanings.

Brief Therapy

“Brief therapy” is an umbrella term for a variety of approaches to psychotherapy. It differs from other schools of therapy in that it emphasizes (1) a focus on a specific problem and (2) direct intervention. It is solution-based rather than problem-oriented. It is less concerned with how a problem arose than with the current factors sustaining it and preventing change.

Transpersonal Psychotherapy

Transpersonal psychotherapy addresses the client in the context of a spiritual understanding of consciousness

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy was developed in the US for treatment of difficult to treat disorder and particularly for borderline personality disorder.


Bibliotherapy is an expressive form of therapy that uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy and other forms of awareness and mindfulness therapy. It has been shown to be effective as an adjunct in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. These results have been shown to be long-lasting.

Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the branch of psychology that uses scientific understanding and effective intervention to aid in the achievement of a satisfactory life, rather than merely treating mental illness.

The goal is to help people change negative styles of thinking as a way to change how they feel. This approach has been very successful, and changing how we think about other people, our future, and ourselves is partially responsible for this success.

Dana Ben-Israel is a MediBrain Clinical Psychologist View Profile

Schema therapy

This form of therapy, which is more accurately termed ‘schema – based cognitive therapy’, combines elements of cognitive, psychoanalytic, interpersonal and behavioural therapies to inform a blended approach to dysfunctional patterns of thinking, self-image and behaviour.  Initially developed for subgroup of people who had difficulty conceptualizing the standard cognitive behavioural strategies, schema therapy has recently become a more commonly used method of psychological intervention for patients with anxiety, depression, those who feel unworthy or unloved and have problems in relationships, those who feel socially isolated/alienated or dependent on others.

Melbourne MediBrain Centre offers individual or group schema therapy as a day hospital program, the cost of which is largely covered by private hospital insurance.

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