- Types of therapy
Types of therapy
When deciding on an appropriate counsellor or psychotherapist, it can be useful to understand the different therapies they may use. Although all can be effective, you may find one approach more appealing than another, or find that some approaches are better for a certain area of counselling or psychotherapy than others.
Psychological therapies generally fall into four categories. These are behavioural therapies, which focus on cognitions and behaviours, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood, humanistic therapies, which focus on self-development in the 'here and now' and arts therapies, which use creative arts within the therapeutic process.
This is a generalisation though and counselling or psychotherapy usually overlaps some of these techniques. Some counsellors or psychotherapists practice a form of 'integrative' therapy, which means they draw on and blend specific types of techniques. Other practitioners work in an 'eclectic' way, which means they take elements of several different models and combine them when working with clients. There are also a number of specific other therapies that can be used.
Below is a breakdown of some of the different psychological therapies available. To find out more about the therapy categories or the individual therapies themselves, take your time to explore the links.
Behavioural therapies are based on the way you think (cognitive) and/or the way you behave. These therapies recognise that it is possible to change, or recondition, our thoughts or behaviour to overcome specific problems.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Behavioural therapy
- Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive therapy
Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies are based on an individual's unconscious thoughts and perceptions that have developed throughout their childhood, and how these affect their current behaviour and thoughts.Read more
Humanistic therapies focus on self-development, growth and responsibilities. They seek to help individuals recognise their strengths, creativity and choice in the 'here and now'.
- Existential therapy
- Gestalt therapy
- Human Givens psychotherapy
- Person-centred therapy (also known as "client-centred" counselling)
- Reality therapy
- Solution-focused brief therapy
- Transactional analysis
- Transpersonal psychology
Although psychological therapies generally fall into the categories above, there are also a number of other specific therapies too.
- Equine assisted therapy
- Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Family/Systemic therapy
- Group therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Play therapy
- Psychosexual therapy
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