Psychosocial Therapy

Psychosocial therapy is a trauma informed approach to understanding and overcoming all forms of distress and overwhelm.

It is fundamentally different from many other types of psychotherapy which rely on technical processes as it takes full account of how an individual has created different meanings from their own unique life experiences and the social contexts in which they grew-up.

The focus of the therapy collaboration that takes place between the psychotherapist and the client is on what has happened to that person during their life course and how those experiences have influenced the various behaviours that might be problematic in the current context.

This context-based approach is ideologically opposite to a bio-medical, psychiatric perspective in which a persons life experiences are discounted and difficult emotional experiences are regarded as ‘faults’ in the person’s brain chemistry or architecture regardless of what has happened to them.

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Psychosocial Therapy Structure

The psychosocial therapy structure is as flexible as it needs to be based on the needs of the client.

However, there will usually be a reasonably incremental approach which is developed collaboratively with the goal of recovery from the current distress.

Primary Phase – Formulation

Development of a life history in which the therapist and client discuss the experiences that may have led to safety behaviours or avoidance strategies designed to help the client cope with those experiences.

This is known as a formulation and is the opposite of diagnosis, a bio-psychiatric-medical approach which classifies the current behavioural difficulties as pathological problems or illnesses.

Here at Lee Psychology we develop formulations using the Power Threat Meaning Framework.

Secondary Phase – Exploration and Change

The second phase of psychosocial therapy aims to examine which of the adaptations (which have traditionally been labelled as ‘symptoms’) the client is currently experiencing are based on core beliefs, values and meanings that may no longer hold any validity.

We describe these ‘coping’ behaviours as post coherent adaptations because whilst they were undoubtedly coherent and logical at the time they were devised, they may no longer have the same validity.

Once identified, there are a number of approaches that can be used to help in the modification of these adaptations including Cognitive Reconstruction (CORE), Psychoanalysis and hypnosis-based counselling.

Tertiary Phase – Recovery & Sustainability

The final phase of psychosocial therapy is in the habituation and normalisation of new and adaptive ways of coping combined with the extinction of any post coherent adaptations.

The therapist’s role here is to assess and observe whether or not the client is using new knowledge and behavioural responses in more adaptive ways and to point out any old patterns of behaviour that may still persist which tend to maintain distress.

Therapist and Client working on a Psychosocial Formulation

Is There A Time-Frame?

Whilst there is an obvious duty-of-care to ensure that people do not become overly dependent on the therapy process or therapist for protracted and unnecessary periods of time, it is also important to note that every human being is unique, has unique experiences and will learn to adapt at differing rates.

Some people may find that they are able to overcome, manage or cope with their levels of distress in as little as 10 weeks (based on weekly sessions) whilst others may require much more time to make changes.

Because of this subjective variability, it is our view that the client is best-placed to determine the time-frame for their recovery process and as such, it makes little sense to argue for any number of sessions.

Much will also depend on the current level of distress as well as the degree of difficulty that a person has experienced during their lives, including factors such as culture, ethnicity, socio-economic settings, intersectionality, exposure to trauma and so on.

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FREE initial consultations

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming or recovering from your emotional distress or mental health difficulties then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular problems and the potential solutions in a safe and confidential environment without you having to commit to any counselling programmes or sessions going forward.

It is our view that not only do you need to decide whether the Lee Psychology approach suits who you are and what you have been through, but also whether or not you feel you will be able to work effectively with us as individuals.

Contact Paul

You can contact Paul on:

07434 776125

or by e-mail at:

Contact Joan

You can contact Joan on:

07434 776504

or by e-mail at:


Hypnotherapist Joan Lee D. Hyp. MIAEBP

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Lee Psychology, Maypole House, Yew Tree Court, Wombourne, South Staffordshire, WV5 9JB.

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