Other therapies

Written by Becky Banham
Becky Banham
Counselling Directory Content Team

Last updated 6th March 2024 | Next update due 6th March 2027

Although there are four main categories that psychological therapies usually fall into, there are also a number of other specific therapies that can help with a wide range of issues.

Finding the type of therapy that works best for you and your unique situation is key. If you try one kind of therapy and it doesn’t quite ‘click’ for you, that’s OK. Here are some other types of therapy that you may want to try.

Compassion-focused therapy

Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) looks to help those who may be struggling with feelings of shame and self-criticism. These can often be the driving forces behind other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. 

CFT tries to help you consciously develop your ability to be more compassionate towards both yourself and others by looking at how you think. Working with a compassion-focused therapist can help you to better understand why you feel the way you do, learn to notice and change how you think, and challenge self-blame and negative thoughts.

Dance therapy

Dance movement therapy (often referred to as dance therapy) uses physical movement to communicate and work through problems. This approach helps to build self-confidence, positive body image and communication skills. 

If you struggle to verbalise how you are thinking or feeling or don’t like the idea of talking about what is worrying you, dance therapy offers a different approach that could work for you. Based on the idea that our movement reflects our patterns of thinking and feeling, dance therapy allows room for emotional, spiritual, mental, and social expression and growth.

Able to help with a variety of issues, dance therapy can be particularly effective if you feel negative about your body, have trouble making physical contact with others, feel detached from everyday life, or have experienced abuse.

Equine therapy

Animals have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Equine therapy is one of many types of animal-assisted therapies used in the UK, alongside therapeutic approaches that use other animals, such as dogs and pigs.

Animals can help people build confidence and develop a greater understanding of their own behaviour. Exercises are set by a therapist and normally require the individual to work with the animal in a way that challenges their way of thinking.

Typically, there is no horse riding involved and, if you don’t want to, you won’t even have to touch the horse. Your therapist will set up different tasks that can help with a variety of issues. Normally, these include leading the horse through a series of obstacles or in a certain direction, requiring creative thinking and careful consideration of how you act, as well as a period of reflection with your therapist. 

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

When something traumatic happens, the memory can keep coming back to your mind, forcing you to relive the event over and over as though it is happening here and now. This can happen as flashbacks or nightmares. 

EMDR is a form of psychotherapy used to treat psychological traumas, such as war experiences, natural disasters, road accidents, rape or assault. It is also recommended for depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, phobias and fears. While it isn’t possible to erase or remove these traumatic memories, EMDR can help alter how these memories are stored in your brain. Over time, this can make it easier to manage. 

Family/Systemic therapy

Families can be complicated. Just as we are all unique, so too are our families and family dynamics. It’s no wonder that things can become strained or tense. 

Family therapy, also known as systemic therapy, works with families and those in close relationships, regardless of whether they are blood-related, to help make positive changes. Looking to improve how family members interact together, family therapy can help individuals to better understand each other, change negative behaviours, and resolve conflicts in a safe, judgement-free environment

Group therapy

This type of therapy takes place with a group of people going through similar difficulties and is facilitated by one or more therapists. Group therapy can offer emotional support and help develop interpersonal skills.

Group therapy can have a number of benefits that individual therapy may not have. By its very nature, it can provide a support network and the opportunity to meet and talk with others who have had similar experiences or concerns. Helping you to identify maladaptive behaviour, work through emotional difficulties, and provide a supportive environment, group therapy can be particularly effective in helping with addiction, anxiety, depression, OCD, self-harm, and schizophrenia

Should I try group therapy or a support group? Find out more about the differences between group therapy and support groups

Integrative counselling

Integrative therapy means drawing on and blending specific types of therapies. This approach is not linked to one particular type of therapy alone, as those practising integrative counselling believe there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations.

Interpersonal therapy

With a focus on interpersonal relationships, interpersonal therapy looks at the way we relate to others and how this impacts our mental well-being. The core belief of interpersonal therapy is that psychological symptoms are often a response to the difficulties we have interacting with others - and when these interactions are improved, so are the psychological symptoms.

Helping with addiction, depression, anxiety, bereavement, low self-esteem, and trauma, interpersonal therapy offers the chance to explore issues in-depth, setting goals along the way. Often a longer form of therapy, if you are looking for more of a solution-focused, quick fix, it may not be the best fit. 


Mindfulness is a technique that originated from Buddhist meditation that helps people focus on the present to gain greater awareness of their emotions and improve general well-being. Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based therapies are becoming popular tools to help those with depression and anxiety.

Play therapy

While adults can often express troubling thoughts and feelings through talking therapies, children may find it more difficult to put their emotions into words. Play therapy is used to help children communicate their worries at their own level and their own pace, while a play therapist offers valuable support and guidance.

The aim of play therapy is to increase self-esteem and confidence while teaching children new patterns of thinking and behaviour that can help make them more resilient in everyday life.

Psychosexual therapy

Sexual difficulties can make you feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, or reluctant to talk. Psychosexual therapy, also known as sex therapy or PST, offers support from a qualified therapist which addresses a sexual dysfunction or emotional block within a relationship. 

Aiming to help improve your physical intimacy with your partner and manage any difficulties you may be having, sex therapy can provide support to help you feel more comfortable, no matter if your difficulties are physical, psychological, emotional, or situational. 


Providing the opportunity to explore life situations from past, present, and future perspectives, psychodrama combines drama, group dynamics, and role theory to help you gain a new perspective and understanding of your roles in life. 

By working in this way, the significance and meaning of different events can become clearer, allowing you space to understand events better and express your thoughts and emotions. Able to help with most mental health issues, both psychodrama and dramatherapy use drama and theatre techniques in individual and group settings.

Schema therapy

Schema therapy (also referred to as schema-focused cognitive therapy) aims to change negative patterns or beliefs that people have lived with for a long time. First developed to help those who weren’t successful with CBT, schema combines elements of cognitive, behavioural, attachment, psychodynamic, and gestalt therapies. Initially used to treat BPD, it is now used to help with a variety of concerns and conditions. 

Finding the right type of therapy for your needs can be a process that requires both time and research. What works for one individual may not necessarily be effective for another, you can learn more about the different types of therapy through reading, sharing experiences with others, or talking to your doctor or counsellor.

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