This is a difficult question to answer. Here’s a bare bones answer:
Psychotherapy is a conversation between two people — where one person predominantly talks and the other predominantly listens. The goal of the conversation that develops is to foster insight into the nature of the person doing most of the talking, as well as insight into that person’s problems. But insight is not enough. The important work is somehow getting that insight to stick. To incorporate it into that person’s life in meaningful ways that in turn helps that person better adjust to their life.
Even such a simple definition leaves so much that is important out, and there are so many questions it raises, and statements that beg qualification. Look for Part 2.
Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.