What is psychotherapy? How does it work? Why would someone go? The simple answer is that life gives us pain. We seek relief. Therapy gives us hope that we can feel better. The complicated answer is that a professional therapist in a room with someone seeking help can lead to transformation, both in the therapist and the client. This transformation can be in the form of increased energy, more creativity, better judgments about relationships, and/or a greater sense of vitality.
Many experts debate the key ingredients which lead to therapeutic action. In my twenty years of private practice, I have come to see that the curative elements of psychotherapy are deeply mysterious. Each dyad, that is each clinician-patient relationship, has a unique narrative. Healing occurs as this unique narrative unfolds. The individuality of the experience is the hallmark of psychotherapy.
Yes, there are therapeutic principles which are very useful. For example, creating a frame, that is a consistent and reliable relationship provides a calming experience. Being deeply curious about how the mind works helps individuals understand themselves and others. Reading great thinkers about human motivation stimulates the building of this narrative since as with all types of education, an enrichment takes place.