Types of Therapy
Types of Therapy
People seek counseling or therapy for many different reasons. You may be having specific problems such as relationship difficulties, career issues, or loss. Or you may be feeling dissatisfied with some aspects of your life, feeling the need to explore options or gain more insight or a greater feeling of well being. You may be someone who likes to look at the world from a very cognitive and rational perspective, or you may be more focused on emotional undercurrents. Because people are so diverse in their personal styles and their needs, there are many different approaches to doing therapy. It may be helpful in choosing a therapist to know what kind of approach they tend to use and what style feels best to you. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common therapy styles.
Psychodynamic Therapies explore your thoughts and feelings about yourself and your relationships in order to increase your ability to have healthy interactions and function productively. By examining early family experiences, dreams, the relationship between you and your therapist, as well as current events in your life, you come to understand how old patterns and ways of being affect your life in the present.
Brief Therapies generally focus on resolving problems in direct and practical ways. They tend to focus on reducing symptoms rather than looking for underlying causes. The number of counseling sessions is usually limited, and insurance providers for that reason often favor this type of therapy. Some examples of brief therapy are solution-focused, EMDR, and Thought Field Therapy.
Cognitive Therapy is also generally short-term and involves examining the thoughts and self-talk that underlie negative feelings or actions. It is usually combined with behavioral techniques to change responses to distressing situations. It is often used to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, among other complaints.
Body Work Therapies access the mind through the body, with the breath and muscle tension being key elements. Physical touch and/or breathing techniques are used to change energy and release emotions held within the body. These therapies can be very effective with somatic conditions and pain, as well as with people who have difficulty accessing their feelings because of past trauma or abuse history. An example of this kind of therapy is Hakomi.
Existential-Humanistic Therapy focuses on responsibility, choice, and finding meaning in one's life. It tends to be longer term and supportive and explores self-esteem, identity and more global issues of life goals and purposes.
Family Therapy and Couples Therapy focus on treating relationships between family members as a unit or between a couple. Often communication skills are stressed, and various techniques or approaches may be used.
Feminist Therapy focuses on personal strengths and empowerment and involves the client as an equal partner in the counseling process. It also explores the ways in which culture and society often limit perceived options and create anxiety, depression and lowered self-esteem. Part of the therapeutic process is deconstructing personal obstacles and reframing them as political or social.
—from Women’s Therapy Project Northwest, http://www.wtpnw.org/therapies.html