Often the first question I’m asked when someone comes to see me is:”What is counselling and psychotherapy, and how does it work?”
The long answer would obviously take several books, and maybe a small library, but the short answer is: support. We all need some support sometimes. But this kind is a little different, in that unlike a friend or relative, you are talking with someone who specializes in the subject of how people function, and what makes us feel better. In the past we would go to talk to the local religious person, or maybe read a philosopher’s book. But in the twentieth century, life became a little more complex, and so we needed something a little more focused.
So the answer to what is it and how does it work is not too different to many other periods in history. A person listens to you, and then because they are trained, they can spot patterns of behaviour: things that you are doing, or ways that you are acting that are not helping you but that you are unaware of. Therapy can be very powerful, because when you change how you see the world, the world changes, and your life changes. We often get stuck because we are missing some part of the whole picture.
Some more in depth articles on anxiety and depression: Depression, Anxiety