Our psyches as well as our bodies can become ill, too. The word 'psyche' refers to the soul with its conscious and subconscious aspects.

The psychiatrist recognises the signs of various mental dysfunctions such as depression, schizophrenia or panic attacks. He also knows which physical illnesses can give rise to psychological distress. In particular, psychological problems can often be caused by chronic illnesses that are accompanied by severe pain or that considerably reduce the quality of life. There is a variety of different drugs available to treat psychological illness.

Psychotherapy, a specialised form of treatment, uses a variety of interpersonal 'talking' techniques, such as psychoanalysis, person-centred therapy (as developed by Rogers), or Gestalt therapy. These different forms of therapy can help alleviate the patients’ problems. A combination of approaches is often used.