Embarking on a therapy journey can feel a bit like finding your way through a maze. With so many different types of therapy out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Whether you’re new to therapy or looking to switch things up, understanding the different types of therapy is the first step to choose which approach – or a combination – might work best for you.
What are the different types of therapy approaches?
You might be wondering, “Why are there so many different types of therapy?” Well, it’s because we’re all wonderfully unique – and one size generally doesn’t fit all.
Broadly, therapy types can be categorized into a few key groups:
- Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies – most traditionally associated with Sigmund Freud, which focus on your past to understand your unconscious motivations
- Behavioral therapies that focus on changing problematic or difficult behaviors
- Cognitive and cognitive-behavioral therapies that target your thought patterns
- Humanistic therapies that emphasize your personal growth and self-fulfillment
Think of it as a diverse menu of options, each designed to cater to different aspects of mental health and personal experiences. So, whether you’re dealing with deep-seated issues from the past or looking to tackle present challenges, there’s a therapeutic approach out there that’s right for you. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common therapy approaches:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
If you’re someone who’s constantly bogged down by negative thoughts or is always worrying about the future. If that’s you, then CBT might be of help. CBT focuses on identifying these negative thought patterns and reframing them into more positive ones that can improve your mood and actions. It’s one of the most popular forms of therapy since it focuses on providing time-bound, practical solutions, and is a great approach to try if you’re struggling with issues like anxiety, depression and phobias.
Person or Client-centered Therapy
Developed by the famous psychologist Carl Rogers, person-centered therapy is perfect if you’re someone who values being in the driver’s seat of your therapy journey. It’s a type of Humanistic Therapy that’s all about using active listening techniques to create a safe, non-judgmental space where you can explore your thoughts and feelings freely. Person-centered therapy can help if you’re struggling with depression, PTSD, substance abuse, or want help with your relationships.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
For those who find themselves in intense emotional storms or are struggling with relationships, DBT can be a lifesaver. This therapy treatment combines CBT techniques with mindfulness, emotional regulation and stress management. It was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder and can be helpful if you have difficulty managing your emotions or have thoughts of self-harm.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT is a type of cognitive therapy that focuses on challenging irrational beliefs or thoughts that can make life unnecessarily hard. REBT uses techniques to help you recognize irrational thought patterns and challenge them. It’s a good fit if you find yourself thinking stuck in a loop of negative thinking – say, thinking you’re a terrible friend if you’re running a few minutes late for your meeting. With REBT, you learn to swap out those unhelpful thoughts with more rational, empowering ones.
Eclectic therapy is like the Swiss Army knife of therapy approaches. It’s a flexible approach that blends elements from various therapeutic schools, making it one of the best therapy options for those seeking a tailored treatment plan.
For the deep thinkers and the soul-searchers, existential therapy dives into life’s big questions. Existential therapy is based on existentialism, a philosophy that explores the concept of free will in an individual’s life. If you’re someone struggling to find purpose, meaning or authenticity in your life, existential therapy might be a good fit for you.
Which approach is right for you?
With so many therapy types available, finding the one that suits you best can be transformative for your mental health. The journey of therapy is as unique as you are, so take the time to explore and find the therapeutic approach that feels just right.
Most therapists often use a blend of different approaches to find a solution that’s tailor-made for you. The idea is to find someone who understands you and can guide you toward your goals. Remember, the therapist-client relationship is key, so don’t be shy about shopping around until you find that perfect fit.