What is psychotherapy

Psychotherapy describes a relationship between a therapist (psychotherapist) and a client or clients (sometimes also referred to as a patient or patients) in which both therapist and client work with what the client brings to therapy, as well as the dynamics of their relationship.

Psychotherapy approaches

Different approaches to psychotherapy define the nature, purpose and task of psychotherapy in different ways, with different emphasis on the clients:

  • Personal, social, cultural, spiritual identity, context and environment
  • Past, present and future
  • Childhood and history
  • Nature of the therapeutic relationship
  • Intrapsychic and interpersonal life, unconscious dynamics
  • Affect, behaviour, cognitions and somatic experiencing

Who psychotherapists work with:

Depending on their training and experience, psychotherapists work with:

  • Individuals
  • Couples
  • Families
  • Groups
  • Adults
  • Children and young people

Psychotherapy settings

Psychotherapy takes place in different settings and agencies in public, voluntary, and private sectors; and, generally, in a particular and designated room, although some therapists also work outdoors.

Professional psychotherapy organisations in New Zealand


Last updated: 20-Oct-2015 3.03pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.