What is "Psychiatric Psychotherapy"?

What is Psychotherapy?

Why consult a Psychiatrist for psychotherapy?

Different approaches

Other Websites


What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is talking therapy that involves treatment by mental health professionals, the most highly trained of whom include Psychiatrists.Talking about your experiences will help get an understanding of the difficulties you face and sort through possible ways forward.

Psychotherapy assists with a wide range of emotional and behavioural concerns including problems with your sense of yourself, family, friends or partners, and problems like such as intense worrying , depression and anxiety.

Psychotherapy can be carried out one-on-one, in groups or with couples or families. Depending on the extent of the problem, such treatment may take a few sessions over several weeks or many sessions over a longer period of time.

Why consult a Psychiatrist for psychotherapy?

  • Quality accredited training
  • Trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches
  • Can combine psychotherapy and medication
  • Can distinguish between situational, personality and other formal psychiatric diagnoses
  • Attracts significant Medicare rebates.


You have the right to check out the training qualifications & experience of the practitioner you are consulting before you begin treatment. Not everyone offering psychotherapy is well trained or experienced. Some have very limited or poor training indeed.

Psychiatrists, who are medical specialists, learn psychotherapy as part of their extensive training over at least 5 years. Some Psychiatrists sub-specialise in Advanced Training in the Psychotherapies in their final years of training or after graduating. A number of Psychiatrists undertake further Psychotherapy training such as that offered by psychotherapy and psychoanalytic training institutes like the NSW Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Sydney Institute of Psychoanalysis and ANZAP etc which involve many more years of supervised training and education.

The nature of their training means that Psychiatrists have a strong grounding in both psychological and biological frameworks for understanding mental health problems and disorder. They are trained both to recognise and treat the effects of emotional disturbances on the body as a whole as well as the effects of physical conditions on the mind and brain.

To practice, Psychiatrists must be registered with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Position Statement of RANZCP Section Of Psychotherapy #54: Psychotherapy conducted by Psychiatrists  


Different approaches

The better the training and experience, the more versatile the approaches that a psychotherapist can use or combine. Psychotherapists can use a number of techniques, depending on their training and the nature of your problem and needs. Psychiatrists are trained in a variety of approaches and unlike other therapists, can combine psychotherapy with the expert use of medication where indicated.

You will hear about a number of common types of psychotherapy and the best guideline is that the more involved your personal problems, the more you need a widely trained psychotherapist who can use the best suited approach.

Overall approaches include treatments that are

  • Primarily supportive to get through a crisis or loss, including Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
  • Some that are more educational and usually brief like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) often used by psychologists and GPs
  • Psychodynamic or Psychoanalytic psychotherapies. These look for deep lasting change, by empathising with feelings and/or modifying old undiscovered root causes.
Everyone is different and while one approach may be good for one person it may not suit someone else. If you are not finding a particular approach helpful, it may be useful to look at other options after discussing this with your therapist and GP.


Other Websites

A number of websites may be of assistance as well:

[This site may contain links to websites which have not been reviewed by our Psychotherapies.org.au team and we recommend that you practice caution in selecting a suitable psychotherapist.]

The Commonwealth Health Insite website http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/Psychotherapy may be of interest

Reachout.com contains help for youth and in emergencies http://au.reachout.com/find/getting-help/therapy-medication?gclid=COKKrJ_-66ACFQhkegodU2DsGw

Beyond Blue:is well know for assitance with depression. www.BeyondBlue.org.au 

General useful information about finding a psychotherapist http://www.psychotherapy.com.au/referral/faq.asp

In Western Australia www.findapsych.com/

Understanding The Link Between Depression And Sleep Disorders: https://www.tuck.com/depression-and-sleep/