One of Freud's early female patients called psychotherapy "the talking cure". Another referred to psychotherapy as "chimney sweeping" which suggests better warmth and air after the task is done! Although a unique experience, many agree that by talking with a therapist insight and understanding develop.
Therapy has different meanings to different people, previous clients have commented to me
"I am amazed by what I know when I give myself the chance to think about what I am saying."
"I never know what I am going to say but something always happens -therapy is my soul doctor."
"I could never have understood this unless I was able to put my feelings into words for you to hear."
"I am in awe of the insights - where do they come from?"
Psychotherapy has indeed developed a great deal since Freud's early formulations in the 19th century. There are many rich ways of incorporating his and others insights.
Psychotherapy helps us look at the way in which we undermine ourselves despite our best intentions.
By looking at unconscious thoughts and behaviour we can gradually develop insight and stop repeating destructive and ways of relating.