Psychotherapy in Nigeria
A Man Laying On Couch In Front Of Psychiatrist

Psychotherapy is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider. During psychotherapy, During psychotherapy, a person with a mental illness talks to a licensed and trained mental health care professional who helps him or her identify and work through the factors that may be triggering the illness.

In Nigeria, psychotherapy of any form as a treatment modality either in out-patient or in-patient population has not been popular in orthodox hospital settings. However, the traditional African culture of the extended family system has always provided a psychotherapeutic milieu for dealing with personality difficulties. Thus, organized individual, group and family psychotherapy has always been practiced in one form or another by elder clansmen or traditional healers.

However, majority of the people offering counselling and psychotherapy services in Nigeria are not licensed to do so. The Association for Counselling, Matchmaking and Psychotherapy of Nigeria was established to identify, develop and maintain professional standards of excellence in counselling, matchmaking and psychotherapy. In the absence of a regulatory body the association serves as a link between those looking for the association’s services and experts in those fields.

In addition, the institute of Counseling Nigeria provides a platform for acquiring professional certificate as a clinical counselor and psychotherapist. The Institute provides a wide range of counseling and related courses. Students enroll with assurance and confidence on our quality courses, which are fully backed by the experience and resources of the Institute of Counseling.


Types of Therapy

Therapy can be given in a variety of formats, including:

  • Individual: This therapy involves only the patient and the therapist.
  • Group: Two or more patients may participate in therapy at the same time. Patients are able to share experiences and learn that others feel the same way and have had the same experiences.
  • Marital/couples: This type of therapy helps spouses and partners understand why their loved one has a mental disorder, what changes in communication and behaviors can help, and what they can do to cope. This type of therapy can also be used to help a couple that is struggling with aspects of their relationship.
  • Family: Because family is a key part of the team that helps people with mental illness get better, it is sometimes helpful for family members to understand what their loved one is going through, how they themselves can cope, and what they can do to help.


How Does Psychotherapy Help?

Psychotherapy helps people with a mental disorder to:

  • Understand the behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute to his or her illness and learn how to modify them
  • Understand and identify the life problems or events — like a major illness, a death in the family, a loss of a job, or a divorce — that contribute to his or her illness and help him/her understand which aspects of those problems he/she may be able to solve or improve
  • Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life


When should you consider psychotherapy?

Because of the many misconceptions about psychotherapy, you may be reluctant to try it out. Even if you know the realities instead of the myths, you may feel nervous about trying it yourself.

Feeling depressed, anxious or angry Overcoming that nervousness is worth it. That’s because any time your quality of life isn’t what you want it to be, psychotherapy can help. Some people seek psychotherapy because they have felt depressed, anxious or angry for a long time. Others may want help for a chronic illness that is interfering with their emotional or physical well-being. Still others may have short-term problems they need help navigating. They may be going through a divorce, facing an empty nest, feeling overwhelmed by a new job or grieving a family member’s death, for example.


Signs that you could benefit from therapy include:

  • You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
  • Your problems don’t seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or to carry out other everyday activities.
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
  • Your actions, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs or being aggressive, are harming you or others.


Difference Between Psychotherapy and Counseling

Psychotherapy and counseling are two different

disciplines. Psychotherapy is an in-depth, sometimes long-term, project that addresses inner and often covert core issues. It’s meant to get at and affect the understructure of a person. Carl Jung called psychotherapy treatment of the soul, which for me implies depth. Counseling addresses important but external overt behaviors, usually for brief duration, teaching and improving areas of outward functioning.

Psychotherapy is about personal growth, and the relationship between psychotherapist and patient is critical. Counseling is about life management and adjustment, and the relationship between counselor and client is quite secondary.

For example, there is counseling for career and finances and anger management and sexual issues and grief and psychotropic usage. There is no career or financial or grief etc. psychotherapy, because psychotherapy isn’t directly about such issues; it’s about the person underlying those issues. Psychotherapy is a life changing experience, while counseling is guidance, support and education.

Homework isn’t typical in psychotherapy, other than encouragement to reflect on one’s experience during the session, whereas homework assignments are frequent in counseling, often with time spent in sessions reviewing and discussing lessons, similar to what happens in a classroom. Psychotherapy is heavily feeling and experience oriented, whereas counseling is heavily cognitive and behavioral focused. In traditional language, psychotherapy is a primary process activity and counseling is very much a secondary process activity.

Though psychotherapy and counseling are two distinct disciplines, there has been over the decades a homogenization of the two. For many, the two have become one, in thinking and in practice. Counseling now includes some psychotherapy, and psychotherapy includes more counseling. The homogenization has blended and even equated two different tunes into a new third tune.



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