was successfully added to your cart.

These are short summaries of a number of therapies. Please note that they do not cover every aspect of a therapy and you should do further research into those of interest.


By | Glossary | No Comments

Modern day life has left people feeling that they aren’t present in their own lives, between multitasking and coping with complex priorities. Mindfulness, which has its origins in Buddhism, can help people achieve balance in their life, react calmly to distressing situations and to address negative habits. Therapists teach clients techniques such as mindfulness meditation, which allows the client to focus on their senses and take an objective look at their daily chaotic thoughts. Other exercises such as Thai Chi and yoga can also help clients feel present in the here and now. This is believed to enable the client to reassess their habits and find better ways to cope with daily struggles in an aim to reduce overall stress.

Mindfulness can help with insomnia, chronic pain, eating disorders and addictions. Furthermore, sufferers of anxiety and depression may benefit from more complex mindfulness based therapies such as:

  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) which combines mindfulness techniques with cognitive therapy. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has clinically approved MBCT as a ‘treatment of choice’ for those with recurrent depression.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is often used to treat long-term stress. It teaches meditation and other gentle exercises which allow a client to see events with clarity and work with their emotions effectively. The Mental Health Foundation found that MBSR has resulted in a 70% reduction in anxiety and an increase in disease-fighting antibodies to name but a few benefits.

Mindfulness meditation is a technique which has received approval from many GPs.

Family Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Family or systemic therapy is centred on the improvement of relationships between family members and how each member interacts with each other. This can help a family to settle tension, overcome life changing events and encourage members to act collaboratively and with empathy. A family therapist should be an unbiased mediator who can give each member the opportunity to contribute to discussion.

Systemic therapy is used because it looks at the family structure as a whole and not as isolated individuals. Family therapists can work with a range of issues such as divorce, bereavement, psychosexual difficulties and conflict between family members. Family therapists can work collaboratively with health professionals to target specific conditions such as ADHD, addictions and eating disorders, which may be having a negative impact on family life. Therefore family therapy is useful for short and long term difficulties.

Family therapy sessions are tailored to the key individual needs of the family involved, taking into consideration their ages and individual preferences. Techniques used may include those based around systemic theory, cognitive behavioural or psychodynamic therapy. Occasionally, family therapists may wish to see parents of very young children individually or other members before treatment starts to assess the family dynamic.

It can take several sessions for a therapist to help the family identify their strengths and weaknesses as a unit, develop communication skills and work to move forward. These will not necessarily be weekly sessions and the plan depends on the severity or specific factors of the problems at hand.


By | Glossary | No Comments

Osteopathy is a complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) when used outside of the US. It is founded on the principle that our general wellbeing depends upon our ligaments, muscles, joints and connective tissue working together. Osteopaths aim to find, prevent and heal sources of pain by massaging and manipulating the client’s muscles and joints.

When is Osteopathy used?

Osteopathy is often used on patients who suffer from lower back pain, sports injuries, arthritis, shoulder and neck pain. However, some osteopaths have promoted the use of such treatment on period pains and migraines but the evidence for its success is limited. Additionally, Osteopaths are qualified to identify problems for which a client may need to seek further medical investigation in the form of blood tests or MRI scans.

Osteopathy sessions often last just under an hour in which the practitioner will first address the client’s general health before physically examining the symptoms. The client may have to remove clothing so that the practitioner can address the affected areas. They use their hands to massage, stretch stiff joints and to move the body in its natural way (known as articulation). They may also use high-velocity thrusts in a motion with sharp movements to the spine. Practitioners must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) in order to call themselves osteopaths and use this method on clients.


By | Glossary | No Comments

Traditionally, acupuncture aims to rebalance the energy that flows along the meridian points of the body with the insertion of fine sterilised needles into the skin. This works by stimulating nerves in the muscle tissue and under the skin. Traditional practitioners believe that acupuncture can restore the body’s energy flow or Qi.

Acupuncture therapy is carried out on clients who have had a medical diagnosis and is often used to treat issues such as headaches, lower back pain and nausea after chemotherapy, IBS and osteoarthritis. Occasionally, acupuncture is used as an alternative treatment for infertility or anxiety for example. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for chronic lower back pain and migraines, backed by scientific evidence.

Acupuncture practitioners should either be regulated healthcare professionals or belong to an acupuncture association. Some patients have recorded short term effects of feeling drowsy or dizzy as a side effect, but patients should not feel pain during the treatment apart from tingling sensations. Sessions generally last from 20 to 40 minutes and can stretch for up to ten sessions. There is a short discussion about the client’s general health, medical history and a short medical examination before any needles are inserted. Up to 12 acupuncture points will be chosen depending upon the symptoms of the sufferer and areas of pain. These needles are generally left in the skin for up to 30 minutes. Sometimes the practitioner may stimulate the needles with a mild electric current in a procedure known as electroacupuncture.

Interpersonal Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a type of therapy based on the theory that issues such as depression can cause difficulties in personal relationships and that these problems can in turn worsen the symptoms of depression. Therefore IPT is a short-term therapy, normally lasting 12-16 weeks which attempts to break this cycle and foster much healthier ways that the client can interact with the important people in their lives.

Interpersonal therapy sessions are at first centred on identifying the key areas of improvement and ordering these into when and how they will be addressed. Therefore IPT targets focused issues, aiming to gain results in a short amount of time. Sessions towards the end of the treatment plan will focus on honing in skills the client has learnt and making sure they can apply them to their life after therapy.

IPT is a therapy which can help with the following issues:

  • Poor relationships that the client wants to improve
  • Disputes which have originated with the people in the home or workplace environments
  • Grief or bereavement
  • Dramatic life changes which affect the client’s relationship role

Dynamic interpersonal therapy

Dynamic interpersonal therapy is similar to IPT but focuses much more on the link between the relationships of the client’s past and the difficulties that they now face. The therapist will help the client to understand how they have felt about past relationships in order to help them cope with their current relationships in a constructive way.


Integrative Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Integrative counsellors believe that therapy should be tailored to the client. All psychotherapy theories have merit but often contradict each other and must be integrated. Integrative therapy is founded on the principle that some issues cannot be solved using just one type of psychotherapy.

Integrative therapy is focused upon healing the client as a whole physically and psychologically. The therapist will help the client to identify their own limitations and work upon how to overcome them. Therapy involves self-exploration and allows the client to look at each moment or issue individually without a predetermined attitude or opinion.

What does Integrative Therapy entail?

Integrative therapists use various techniques such as cognitive and behavioural therapies, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies and humanistic therapies. For example, a therapist might want to start on behavioural therapies with a client who has behavioural issues before they move on to analysing the emotions and past memories which may have had an effect on the client and how they behave. Integrative therapists must be non-judgemental, committed and build a foundation of trust with their client in order for the client to achieve their goals.

Integrative therapy can be a long process used to treat long-term issues such as anxiety, trauma or depression and is therefore not suitable for clients who are looking for short or intense therapy.

Psychosexual Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Psychosexual therapy is a method of therapy which aims to help people who suffer from psychological sexual difficulties. Clients may suffer from temporary or long term issues, and be of any age or sexual orientation. Sexual difficulties can often be embarrassing to talk about, even to a partner, so a psychosexual therapist can provide professional, empathetic and objective support on sexual matters.

Psychosexual therapists can help clients to overcome issues such as the following:

  • Recent lack of sexual desire
  • painful intercourse
  • difficulties with orgasm
  • arousal disorders
  • erectile dysfunction, premature or delayed ejaculation
  • post-abuse
  • breakdown in a relationship
  • not being able to achieve penetrative sex
  • sexual anxieties
  • menopause
  • pregnancy and postnatal sex
  • poor body image which affects intimacy

Psychosexual therapy does not involve medical examinations or any sexual acts; therapists are trained to listen and work through a client’s sexual issues and emotions only. Past events may be identified which have caused present difficulties such as sexual abuse which the therapist can discuss with their client. A treatment plan will be devised, which may incorporate exercises such as sensual touching for the client to practice alone or with a partner. Sex therapy can also help people suffering from chronic illnesses and disabilities by providing other solutions in order to achieve sexual intimacy such as artificial aids.

Professional psychosexual therapists should have been trained in a post-graduate diploma in psychosexual therapy and have taken part in at least 200 hours of supervised clinical work.

Psychodynamic Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Psychodynamic therapy is rooted in psychoanalysis, where a therapist observes the psychological processes of the client’s brain in order to address these problems and reduce their symptoms. Central to psychodynamic therapy is the relationship between therapist and patient. For example, when the therapist is put in a parental position this can help to examine how the client interacts with their real parents and ways to improve this can be discussed. This type of therapy is versatile and can be short or long-term, and used to treat individuals, groups or couples.

A key principle of psychodynamic theory is that people try to forget their painful memories and emotions by keeping them in their unconscious through defence mechanisms, repression and denial. Psychodynamic therapists aim to get their client to talk about their emotions in order to uncover what troubles them and then reduce or remove these defence mechanisms.

Improvisational psychodynamic music therapy

Psychodynamic therapists may also use music in order to allow the client to express themselves or feel more comfortable during a session. Various musical instruments are used by the client even if they have no experience. Music therapists can then interpret how the client uses the instruments to uncover their personality traits and their underlying emotional difficulties. When the therapist joins in on making this music a strong bond can be built between therapist and client as a foundation for further therapy. Music can also be played during sessions to relax clients who may suffer from anxiety.

Group Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Various types of psychotherapy can be delivered to a group, but group therapy is especially focused on the use of the group dynamic in order to work through issues. Group therapy is often very beneficial as clients can build their own support network and all have experience with similar difficulties. Group therapy can be used to treat issues such as addiction, depression, eating disorders, OCD, schizophrenia, relationship difficulties and self-harm.

Initially a group therapy session will allow a small group of clients to introduce themselves. Subsequent sessions will allow clients to discuss their problems and progress in an empathetic and trusting environment. Sessions will involve discussion, but also activities which the group can all participate in, such as team building, psychological and trust exercises. Each client does not have to take part in the group activity and can listen and contribute as much as they want to the discussion once they feel comfortable.

Overall group therapy aims to allow the clients to acknowledge their weaknesses and analyse their own behaviour through comparing themselves with other people. Group therapy provides an environment in which sufferers can exchange feedback and tips on how to cope with certain issues, whether that be from the therapist or other group members. Essentially, group therapy alleviates the pain of feeling isolated in suffering and allows the client to build a supportive framework for their confidential worries.

Bereavement Counselling

By | Glossary | No Comments

Bereavement counselling aims to help clients who are suffering to cope with the confusing and chaotic event of losing a loved one. Clients may suffer from anger, guilt, overwhelming sadness shock, forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate. Overall, experts believe that there are four stages of bereavement. Initially a person must accept that their loss is real and then experience the pain of grief. The sufferer must then adjust to life without their loved one and start putting their energy into something new so that they can move on. Bereavement counsellors aim to help their clients move through these stages smoothly as a supportive and objective aid.

A client’s own family and friends may also be suffering from the same bereavement so it is useful to talk to an objective therapist as well. It is time to seek help when the person cannot function in daily life, sees no point to getting out of bed or neglects themselves or their loved ones for example. Bereavement can be a long lasting period either side of 18 months. Therefore, clients may also wish to see a counsellor a long time after the death of their loved one if they feel they haven’t emotionally progressed.

In some cases a client may seek pre-bereavement counselling if their loved one is suffering from a long-term incurable illness. In this case, therapists can help a client or their family to cope with their overwhelming emotions at this stressful time. Therapy for children facing this event may also be beneficial.

Anger Management Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Anger can affect people in many different ways, but for some this anger can become out of control and take over a person’s daily behaviour and affect how they function. This can be seen as a problem when it starts to damage a person’s relationships with other people. Anger management therapy aims to help the client identify where their anger stems from and teach the client about how they can reassess situations and express their thoughts in a calmer matter. Clients may voluntarily visit a therapist to address their anger or they may be sent by court-order or their doctor.

An anger management therapist will address specific anger related issues of the client which could include anger surrounding issues such as work, adolescence and relationships. Anger management sessions can be held one-on-one or in a group and are tailored towards the client’s specific needs, using methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Most importantly, anger management sessions aim to teach the client/s how to identify the triggers of their anger and transform their destructive anger into a more positive, constructive and just anger. The therapist also teaches the client techniques which will help them to diffuse conflict. Sessions tend to last from a month to six weeks and are combined with at home journal writing for the client to record their progress. If the client suffers from any other mental health issues such as depression or addiction this will need to be addressed before anger management can commence successfully.


By | Glossary | No Comments

Physiotherapy aims to help the patient to heal from their injuries, pain or disability through the movement of their muscles and regular prescribed exercise. Physiotherapists mainly work with musculoskeletal problems but can also treat other issues such as:

  • men’s and women’s health (including incontinence)
  • recovery after major surgery
  • orthopaedics and trauma
  • sports
  • workplace health
  • paediatrics (children)
  • care of the elderly
  • education and health promotion
  • intensive care
  • mental health
  • neurology (including stroke)
  • long-term conditions
  • breathing problems

What does Physiotherapy involve?

A Physiotherapist may use a combination of the following methods:

  • Recommending regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Suggesting to a client what they can do on a daily basis to relieve pain.
  • Using both movement and exercise in a treatment plan for the patient to repeat at home. This may include swimming or walking for example.
  • Use manual techniques such as using their hands to massage the client’s joints and muscles in order to improve blood circulation, relieve pain and improve movement in that area. This is particularly successful for lower back pain but is also used alongside cancer treatment to relieve the patient of the side effects of the intensive treatment.

Physiotherapists may also advise that other methods are used alongside their treatment of the patient such as acupuncture or ultrasound which is used to treat deep tissue injuries.

Complementary and Alternative Therapy

By | Glossary | No Comments

Complementary and Alternative medicines (CAMs) are treatments which stand outside of orthodox medicine and mainstream treatment. Most of these therapies are founded on basic principles and are not backed by sufficient scientific evidence and are therefore not acknowledged by a majority of independent scientists. CAM can include therapies such as colonic irrigation, herbalism, chiropractic, physiotherapy and acupuncture.

Complementary and alternative is mainly used as a single category but can be split into two separate methods. Firstly, complementary medicine is used alongside medical treatment in order to relieve the patient of symptoms of their problem. It can also be used solely for the pleasure it provides in itself which can improve the patient’s quality of life. On the other hand, alternative therapies are used instead of mainstream medicine in order to treat a health issue. However some treatments can be used in both ways, for example aromatherapy can be used as a complementary or alternative therapy.

CAM should be considered upon the evidence for its success and the insistence on seeing qualified practitioners. Only chiropractic and osteopathy are managed by professional statutory regulation. Chiropractors and Osteopaths must be registered with their corresponding council. Therefore anyone can practise other types of complementary and alternative treatments with limited experience. It is up to the patient themselves to find a practitioner who they are comfortable and satisfied with to carry out the therapy.

When searching for a therapist, take a look at their qualifications and professional accreditations before contacting them.



By | Glossary | No Comments

Chiropractic therapy is a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Chiropractors use their hands to relieve their client of disorders of the bones, joints and muscles. Chiropractic should not be used as a substitute for visiting a GP.

Chiropractic treatments are often used for musculoskeletal conditions which include:

  • lower back pain
  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain and problems
  • slipped discs
  • leg pain and sciatica
  • pain or problems with hip, knee, ankle and foot joints
  • pain or problems with elbow, wrist and hand joints
  • fibromyalgia

However, some chiropractors have insisted that they can also treat issues such as asthma, period pains, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines. Chiropractic sessions are used most successfully on persistent lower back pain.

Chiropractic sessions are based upon manipulation of the spine although they can include general advice given to the client on their lifestyle including their diet and regular exercise to improve the client’s wellbeing. Treatment usually lasts from 15-30 minutes and can involve several sessions. Initially a chiropractor will assess their client’s pain and may even arrange for x-rays of the spine to be taken and a treatment plan made.

During a chiropractic session, the client will be asked to remove their upper body clothing so that the spine can be manipulated. Chiropractors may apply short sharp thrusts to the spine, move the client’s joints through different positions or stretch muscles in specific directions. This should be relatively painless unless the injury has made that part of the body inflamed.

The Bowen Technique

By | Glossary | No Comments

The Bowen technique is used by practitioners to compliment other types of therapy and is believed to aid the body’s natural ability to heal and restore balance without intensive treatment. Bowen practitioners often work alongside allopathic health professionals to support their client in treatment. On average, clients are treated three to four times but may need to be treated over a longer period depending on their specific complaint.

During Bowen therapy sessions, the therapist uses their hands to gently target precise points on the body, applying pressure and using Bowen roll techniques. This action stimulates the muscles and soft tissue. This is relaxing for the client and is not supposed to cause pain or manipulate any of the client’s hard tissue. The Bowen technique allows the body to rebalance its energy and repair itself, having a long-lasting effect upon pain relief and the client’s general wellbeing.

When is the Bowen technique used?

One of the most common complaints treated by Bowen practitioners is back pain. However clients who suffer from respiratory conditions, neck pain and recurring headaches are also frequently treated. Furthermore, Bowen therapy is building its reputation with rugby clubs and premiership football teams as it used widely for sports injuries. Sports players who are regularly treated have reported fewer injuries and even improved performance.