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As a psychiatrist Dr Perring spent 7 years working in an acute mental health setting. While 'person centred' practice in psychotherapy puts the individual at the centre of decision making, psychiatric training tempers the softer skills of listening with an ability to step in where necessary and prescribe medication and acute care.

Psychotherapy, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is ‘the treatment of mental disorder by psychological means’.  Though true, this does little to describe what treatment entails.  Psychotherapy, with its various schools is best understood in terms of its 19th century origins.  Freudian psychoanalysis had made a huge contribution to common perceptions of neurosis and psychological health and Freud’s thinking still influences psychotherapeutic practice today.

However, its highly elaborated theoretical framework has been largely replaced by more accessible therapies focused on behavioural change.  These newer therapies have been supported by research based on the long-term observation of children and an emphasis on ‘good enough’ parenting. Practitioners, now trained with a recent understanding of personality development, offer various approaches to the psychological problems of their clients.  These are broadly psycho dynamic or humanistic in origin and offer the recipient insight and behavioural change.   

Psychotherapy may offer you a way to resolve your present-day problems; it may or may not require you to address issues from an earlier period in your life.

In the course of some months your relationship to a skillful therapist may enable you to develop insights into the past,  resolution/ acceptance of events, a capacity for empathy, a sense of authenticity and a choice of ways to deal with your future. Different therapists work differently: find a person you feel you can trust and feel free to ask how they work.

Aims of Psychotherapy
What is Psychotherapy

At Optimal Health we give you time to tell us what you need from therapy. Dr Perring is usually able to say at the end of your first session if he is best able to help you himself or, otherwise, will refer you to someone else who can help you. Because of his training and experience of medicine and psychotherapy his approach is broadly based and will take account of your physical as well as your psychological health. Sessions are typically arranged on a weekly basis and can make some allowance for your own schedule and circumstances. Please call Dr Perring’s secretary, Christine, to arrange an appointment or for other information

Useful links

For listing of therapists specialising in couple therapy go to Relate has a UK wide network of training and therapists at and the UK conference on psychotherapy has a UK wide register of qualified therapists from a wide variety of training backgrounds at