Types of Therapy

Have you ever been to therapy? 

Types of Therapy Types of Therapy

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    What kind of therapy was it? Did the therapist have you write down your thoughts or practice new behaviors? Maybe the therapist was warm and caring and listened to you really well.

    The approach a therapist uses in sessions can produce different results like these.

    • What are types of therapy for depression?
    • What are types of therapy for anxiety?
    • What are types of behavioral therapy?
    • What are types of psychological therapy?

    Types of Therapy for Mental Health

    There are lots of different approaches to therapy for mental health disorders. There is such a wide range of mental health concerns! Therapies that work for phobias might not work very well for a client struggling with interpersonal conflict. Similarly, therapies that work wonders for those seeking meaning in life, might not help a client that is dealing with depression.

    Types of Therapy A therapist consoling a troubled man StudySmarterFg. 1 Therapy, Pixabay.com

    Types of Therapy for Depression

    Cognitive therapy focuses on the idea that illogical or negative thought patterns are at the root of many psychological disorders. Cognitive therapy techniques seek to transform the way we think.

    Cognitive therapy is great for helping clients escape their depression. Often, negative self-talk and negative generalizations are at the root of depressive cycles. Cognitive therapies seek to help clients get out of being stuck in unhealthy and unhelpful thought patterns. Another part of why this treatment can work well for clients with depression is the ability to pair this approach with other treatments, such as psychotherapy or medication.

    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Cognitive-behavioral therapists consistently challenge clients to push past their natural assumptions and try out new approaches and thought patterns to solve their problems. This therapy is usually done in the short term with an average of 20 sessions. It focuses on specific client problems, such as a family relationship dynamic, a break-up, or fighting a depressive episode. Because CBT helps clients learn to change their behavior by also changing their thought patterns, it is an effective form of therapy for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

    Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy

    Rational-emotive behavior therapists similarly focus on restructuring a client's unhelpful or irrational beliefs about their life into more logical and reasonable beliefs. The approach assumes that a more rational viewpoint will lead people to live healthier. When someone experiences a negative circumstance like a breakup, it often leads them to irrational thought patterns: "I will never be able to date again", for example. This naturally causes a lot of distress for the person. Restructuring thoughts can help clients avoid vicious negative thought patterns, and can help clients avoid a depressive episode or come out of one.

    Types of Behavioral Therapy

    Behavioral therapy focuses on the reduction of dysfunctional and unhelpful behaviors, by using the basic principles of behaviorism as a guide. It is assumed that those who are behaving abnormally are doing so because they have failed to learn the skills needed to cope with life healthily and productively. This form of therapy seeks to help clients learn new behaviors and skills to cope, and unlearn their old patterns.

    Aversive Conditioning

    Aversive conditioning is modeled after a classical conditioning approach to modifying behavior. Behavior therapists seek to reduce the frequency of negative behaviors by pairing a negative stimulus with the behavior. Think how you would spray a cat with water when you don't want them on the furniture; in time, the cat would pair the idea of getting sprayed with water with getting on the furniture. This therapy is usually best for addiction-based issues such as substance abuse, or sexual disorders.

    Types of Therapy for Anxiety

    Behavioral therapy is a great method for reducing the symptoms of anxiety disorders, phobias, and compulsions. Part of why this treatment works is because it uses classical and operant conditioning methods to help your brain no longer feel threatened by the anxiety-causing stimulus.

    Systemic Desensitization

    Systemic desensitization is a behavioral therapy that pairs a frightening or worrisome stimulus with relaxation to help calm the client back down. This is to help the client learn to associate the stimulus with relaxation, rather than fear and worry. This is done by training the client in techniques to help them learn to relax more deeply; then, the client is exposed to a series of stimuli from mildly scary to extremely scary, while they work on staying relaxed while facing their fear.

    A client who has a strong fear of clowns would first imagine they are watching a movie about clowns; imagine they are in a room with a clown; work up to actually watching a movie about clowns; and eventually being in a room with a clown. At the same time, the therapist helps the client learn to relax as they think about and face the clowns.

    Flooding

    Flooding is a type of behavioral therapy for anxiety. Unlike systemic desensitization, clients are suddenly forced to confront their fears. This is typically an uncomfortable process, but it can lead to the extinction of some fears and anxieties in as little as a few hours. This typically works for anxiety issues such as phobias, but it should be used carefully.

    Types of Psychological Therapy

    Psychological therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is an interpersonal form of therapy where the therapist and client work on integrating the client's self-perception, life goals, and current relationships. Various forms of psychological therapy might approach these goals differently, but overall the goal is to provide clients with the one-on-one guidance they need to overcome their obstacles.

    Therapists use a range of techniques for psychological therapy, one of which is active listening. Active listening means echoing and clarifying what the client is saying back to them to help facilitate insight.

    Psychodynamic Therapy

    Psychodynamic therapy focuses on a client's relationship with their past experiences and unconscious self. These approaches originally developed from Freud's psychoanalytic days, but the methods have modernized over time and increased in their effectiveness. The goal of this form of therapy is to gain control over the unconscious mind's impact on a client's behavior, and bring it into the conscious realm, where a client can more easily gain control.

    Humanistic Therapy

    Humanistic therapy is based on the perspective of self-responsibility. In this setting, a therapist might give the client responsibilities to help them reach self-actualization. This approach is usually helpful for those who are seeking to find meaning in their life, and less effective for those struggling with more intense mental health struggles.

    Client-Centered Therapy

    Client-centered therapy has a similar goal to humanistic therapy, to help the client reach self-fulfillment. In this setting, the therapist's role is to provide a warm and empathetic place for clients to share, allowing the therapist to reflect on the client's thoughts and facilitate insights into new approaches to their struggles. In this setting, therapists are likely to use active listening to encourage clients to share.

    Interpersonal Therapy

    Interpersonal therapy is meant to help clients more specifically with their moods and emotions. The therapist in this setting will focus on the client's current setting and social life, helping them navigate their existing relationships, social skills, and life changes. This therapy tends to be more directive and only lasts 12 weeks, as opposed to other forms of psychotherapy that last much longer, sometimes even indefinitely.

    Group Therapy

    Group therapy is when a therapist will guide a group of people towards some kind of resolution or insight. Family therapy and self-help therapy are popular examples of this. Therapists can help families express and resolve their differences by helping the family listen and view things from various perspectives. Self-help therapy can help those with similar issues lead each other to insights; they do this by listening while others share, and being listened to by others who can understand your situation.

    Types of Therapy A group therapy session in progress StudySmarterFg. 2 Group therapy, pixabay.com

    One of the most popular self-help groups is Alcoholics Anonymous, where those struggling with an alcohol addiction can meet and share.

    Types of Therapy - Key takeaways

    • Cognitive therapy focuses on the idea that illogical thought patterns or irrational ideas are at the root of psychological disorders, and therefore seeks to transform the way we think.
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapists consistently challenge clients to push past their natural assumptions and try out new approaches and thought patterns to solve their problems.
    • Behavioral therapy focuses on the reduction of dysfunctional and unhelpful behaviors, using the basic principles of learning as a guide.
    • Systemic desensitization is a behavioral therapy that pairs a frightening or worrisome stimulus with relaxation to help calm the client back down.
    • Flooding is when clients are suddenly forced to confront their fears in a therapeutic setting.
    • Psychodynamic therapy focuses on a client's relationship with their past experiences and unconscious self.
    Frequently Asked Questions about Types of Therapy

    What are the different types of therapy?

    Cognitive, behavioral, and psychological.

    Which type of therapy is based on learning theory?

    Behavioral therapy. 

    How many types of therapy are there?

    There are tons of different therapies if you include alternative therapies. There are three primary groups of therapy, in psychology: cognitive, behavioral, and psychological.  

    What type of therapy is best for ADHD?

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy.

    What type of therapy is best for depression?

    Cognitive therapy is best for depression. 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Flooding is an effective treatment for:

    Thoughts like, "If I do not get this job I will never find a job again", are best helped through which form of therapy? 

    This kind of therapy seeks to help clients learn better coping skills. 

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