Psychotherapy Services in Singapore

By Carol Goh  |  Published on 29 March, 2023

Psychotherapist using psychotherapy during counselling


Psychotherapy is a growing field of mental health treatment in the world. The availability and affordability of psychotherapeutic services has become increasingly important as recent years have seen an increase in the number of people seeking help for issues such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, stress, and other psychological disorders. Psychotherapy is effective for individuals as well as for couples and families. This article explores the types of psychotherapy services available in Emotional Wellness Counselling Singapore, their applications, and also the differences between counselling and psychotherapy.

What Is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a process of using psychological methods to treat emotional distress and behavioural problems. It has been used for decades by professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists to help people understand their emotions and behaviours and resolving them. Psychotherapy can be used for a wide range of issues—from depression and anxiety to trauma and relationship problems.

The purpose of psychotherapy is to provide support for people during times of distress and difficulty by helping them to identify underlying causes of distress. It helps one to gain insights into ways to improve self-awareness and behaviour patterns, changing negative belief systems to positive ones, hence building confidence and resilience. Many types of psychotherapeutic approaches exist; however, all aim at providing understanding on an individual level rather than offering advice from an external source. The therapist acts as a guide for each person’s journey towards improved psychological functioning.

How does psychotherapy work?

How psychotherapy works depends on the individual’s needs and the chosen therapeutic approach used by the therapist. Generally speaking, it involves creating an environment where clients can work through their issues with openness and trust within a safe setting. This allows them to explore inner emotions or experiences that they may have difficulty understanding or expressing elsewhere. In doing so, this can lead to greater self-awareness and provide new perspectives for addressing their deeper issues.

Types of psychotherapy approaches

The application of psychotherapy techniques can be broken down into 5 main areas:

1. Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies

Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy attempt to explore a person's unconscious mind. This type of therapy focuses on helping individuals gain insight into their innermost thoughts, feelings, fears, and motivations in order to understand how they affect current behaviour. It is often used to identify patterns of behaviour or thought processes that may cause psychological distress and change these areas as well as improve overall functioning.

In psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies, the therapist typically takes an active role by listening carefully to the client’s words and looking for underlying meanings within them. From their narratives of their experiences from their childhood to adulthood experiences, the therapist will understand the sources of their distress currently. Past issues, when unresolved, stayed in the subconscious and are played out constantly in their daily lives.

This form of therapy serves many purposes such as resolving conflicts from past traumas, discovering hidden feelings about oneself or others, developing self-awareness through understanding one's connections between present issues and past events, addressing unresolved problems from childhood or early adulthood, gaining greater insight into why certain behaviours occur repeatedly even when they don't lead to desired outcomes. Working with a qualified mental health professional who specializes in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies can provide individuals with new perspectives on life challenges while also increasing acceptance and understanding of themselves.

2. Behaviour therapy

Behaviour therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals change their behaviour through the use of effective strategies such as reinforcement, modelling and habit reversal. It is based on the idea that unwanted behaviours are learned rather than innate. As a result, by changing how we respond to these behaviours or replacing them with more desirable ones, people can learn healthier ways to cope with life’s challenges.

To begin, the therapist must first assess what types of behaviours need to be addressed and why they have occurred in the first place. This assessment will include gathering information from the client about relevant background experiences and any other underlying factors which could contribute to their current state. Once this has been established, therapists may then suggest interventions tailored specifically for each individual case. These might include relaxation techniques, cognitive restructuring exercises, or even exposure-based activities designed to help patients overcome avoidance issues related to certain situations or objects.

Behavioural therapies offer an evidence-based approach for improving mental health and wellbeing; it provides individuals with skills and tools needed for lasting behavioural change. Through education and support around understanding one's thought patterns and developing coping mechanisms, clients can become empowered to take control over their own lives – transforming existing problems into opportunities for positive growth in both mind and spirit alike.

3. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioural therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that focuses on helping individuals identify and modify dysfunctional patterns of thought and behaviour. It has been used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, addiction problems and other mental health issues.

Cognitive therapists believe that psychological distress arises from maladaptive patterns of thought relating to oneself or others in one’s environment. Consequently, cognitive interventions seek to challenge these distortions to help the individual develops more effective coping strategies for managing emotions and behaviours associated with their problem area. The goal is to achieve positive changes in thoughts and beliefs which can be sustained over time through continued practice outside of therapeutic sessions.

The process begins by establishing rapport between therapist and client, and then gathering information about the presenting issue(s). This may involve exploring past experiences and current circumstances to gain an understanding of how they are influencing each other. Once this assessment phase is complete, specific techniques such as educational methods, cognitive restructuring exercises or behavioural experiments can be employed during subsequent sessions in accordance with progress being made towards identified treatment goals.

4. Humanistic therapy

Humanistic therapy is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and personal growth. It emphasizes an individual's capacity to make rational choices as well as their inner strength and wisdom. Humanistic therapists strive to create a safe, non-judgmental environment where clients can explore their own thoughts and feelings without fear or shame.

The goal is to help individuals gain insight into themselves, discover who they are, increase self-acceptance, and find meaning in life. This type of therapy encourages individuals to take responsibility for how they think, feel, and act by exploring the underlying causes behind their behaviour. To be effective, it must focus on helping clients become more aware of their true selves so that they may move forward with healthier behaviours.

Humanistic therapists use several different techniques including person-centered counselling, Gestalt therapy, existentialism, group dynamics theory, logotherapy, transactional analysis, narrative therapeutic strategies, and others. By utilizing these modalities within the context of therapist/client relationship building relationships built upon respect and empathy allow the client to reach greater levels of understanding about themselves while growing toward positive goals.

5. Integrative or holistic therapy

At Emotional Wellness we utilise a suit of therapeutic techniques integrating them seamlessly within the counselling sessions. Depending on the traumas experienced, suitable therapeutic techniques will be used to address those particular traumas, basically working on one's inner child to achieve resolution and peace. With traumas resolved, one will no longer be triggered by flashbacks consciously or unconsciously interfering their current functioning.

Each session focuses on understanding how these various components interact within the person being treated so that they can find long lasting relief from their symptoms without relying solely on medications or self-medication strategies like substance abuse or addictive behaviours. By taking this comprehensive approach towards healing, clients can lead healthier lives free from debilitating distress.

Evidence-based psychotherapy techniques

This section will discuss three popular types of psychotherapy techniques in Emotional Wellness Counselling Singapore: EMDR, schema therapy, and Gestalt therapy.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach that can help process traumatic memories. Research has found EMDR to be an effective technique for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Here are its four primary components:

  1. Client history taking and treatment planning
  2. Preparation to ensure safety during the counselling session
  3. The 8-phase protocol which includes eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation
  4. Closure and evaluation procedures

The major premise behind EMDR is that unresolved trauma can lead to maladaptive behaviours; by bringing these events into awareness with a therapist present, the individual's emotional response can be successfully desensitized and reprocessed so they may move forward without being held back by psychological distress from past traumas. To facilitate this process, clients must first identify a specific target incident that needs treatment before proceeding with their sessions. During each session, the client will focus on the memory while simultaneously engaging in sets of rapid eye movements or tones provided bilaterally through headphones. This type of dual attention stimulates different parts of the brain, allowing them to communicate more effectively which then helps reduce symptoms related to trauma such as anxiety and depression.

After completing multiple rounds of this sequence over several sessions, the targeted problem should eventually become less distressing until it no longer triggers negative emotion when thought about or discussed. Ultimately, EMDR gives people suffering from PTSD access to tools they need to heal from painful experiences and reclaim control over their lives again through empowerment rather than avoidance or distraction techniques used in other therapies.

Schema therapy

Schema Therapy is an integrative psychotherapeutic technique that combines aspects of cognitive, behavioural, and interpersonal approaches to treatment. This has been developed primarily to treat personality disorders, but it can also be used in other psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety. The goal is to help individuals identify and change maladaptive patterns or schemas which cause distress by promoting self-awareness, emotional regulation, and self-empowerment.

One key element of this approach is the identification of core beliefs about oneself and the world around them, which are then challenged through various techniques including imagery, role-playing, and reframing exercises. Schema therapy allows clients to explore how their life experiences have unconsciously developed schemas in their belief systems that shaped their current thought processes and behaviours. Through these activities, they become empowered as the therapist gives them a voice to express themselves as well as modelling speaking up for them.

Gestalt therapy

Gestalt Therapy is synonymous with 'Empty Chair Technique'. How does it work? We ask the client to sit facing an empty chair and picture the person you are having unresolved issues with seated on the empty chair. The client then engages in a dialogue with the imagery person pouring out all grievances, pains and hurts. It can be emotional as you will experience all the emotional distress in one go. However, this is carthatic when one can come to terms with their struggles with this person.

Variations are incorporated with the client moving into the empty chair and taking the position of the person and responding from that person's perspective, taking on their role. The client may move back and forth between the two chairs several times to continue the dialogue.

How does an empty chair help you? When you verbalise what's going on, the abstract becomes more concrete. As you take on the other person's role, you will gain insight into your own perspective and struggles and the perspective of the person you are having conflict or unresolved issues with. In such a way, you will be able to find a resolution to your 'unfinished business' with the other person.

Difference between psychotherapy and counselling

The term counselling is commonly used to describe a short therapy that focuses mostly on one’s behaviour. It typically targets a specific symptom or circumstance. Counsellors in Singapore will offer guidance, support, and recommendations for the individual to better adjust to adversity or change. Unlike psychotherapists who practice psychoanalysis or psychodynamic therapies, counsellors do not delve into clients' childhood memories or unearth deep rooted emotional conflicts but only provide guidance for current life issues. A psychotherapist is qualified to provide professional counselling services, but a counsellor may or may not possess the necessary skills to provide psychotherapy.

On the other hand, psychotherapy is an in-depth treatment that focuses on gaining insight into the individual’s struggles. It is an extensive analysis of an individual’s unhelpful attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that may have impacted their lives and relationships by exploring the unconscious mind to uncover repressed emotions. Psychotherapy addresses the root causes of current struggles to facilitate personal growth by resolving them, hence empowering them.

In the words of Britt Frank, a trauma specialist and author, psychotherapists are the archaeologists of the human psyche. Simply put, it is the role of a psychotherapist to dig deep to discover the reason(s) for an individual’s struggles and adopt a range of techniques to address these issues. After all, symptoms of mental health disorders are all manifestations of unmet needs!

We provide individual/couples/family therapy and any form of relationship counselling at our cozy office, a safe space to explore. We also provide online counselling to complement in-person counselling. We cover a wide range of clientele from adolescents to retirees. Get in touch with us now.