‘Psychotherapy’ is the generic term for all existing forms of psychological procedures that are aimed at the treatment of mental psychosomatic illnesses, disease states as well as behavioral disorders without the use of any medicinal drugs. Furthermore psychotherapy can be seen as a so-called intentional interpersonal relationship that is used by trained psychotherapists in order to help and support a patient in certain problems of living.
The main aim of psychotherapy generally consists in increasing the patients’ sense of their own and individual well-being. So there exists a wide range of different techniques based on dialogue, behavior change and communication that are employed in order to improve the mental health of a patient. The so-called behavior therapy for instance includes changes of the social environment and the interaction. In this regard the goal consists in educating and enhancing skills as well as in facilitating an improved self-regulation. Strictly speaking the cognitive behavior therapy attempts to make patients their own and individual thoughts and opinions aware, to correct and revise them if necessary and to consequently transfer them into concrete behavioral patterns. In the context of the so-called depth psychology rather occurs a confrontation with ‘the unconscious’ in order to clarify the background and the causes and reasons of suffering.
Strictly speaking psychotherapy can be considered as an independent and self-contained profession. In Europe the so-called European Association for Psychotherapy, a Vienna-based umbrella organization for exactly 128 psychotherapist organizations from 41 different countries, promotes this opinion. Besides, this association has set professional training standards to this effect. However, there are also various European countries that have passed certain laws about psychotherapy. These laws restrict the practice of the professions of psychology and psychiatry. Austria, for example, has established a law that recognizes multi-disciplinary approaches. Moreover it has to be taken into consideration that in contrast to the United Kingdom where psychotherapy is regulated by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, there are several European countries which have not yet regulated psychotherapy.