5 Effective Types of Therapy

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When it comes to therapy, there is not a one-size-fits-all option.

And that’s because we are all unique and have different needs.

At times, it may seem impossible to differentiate between the different types of therapy available, and it’s true that there are certain practices that are standard.

For instance, you can expect to sit across from a therapist, who will ask you direct questions in order to get to the root of your problem.

Then, instead of letting you try and figure out solutions on your own, your therapist can make suggestions to give you new ways to think about things and help change your behaviour to make you feel more in control.

Ultimately, therapy is a collaborative process between you and your therapist, but it’s your decision to choose the type of therapy you wish to do which will make a difference in your experience.

Plus, you need to be 100% comfortable in the presence of your therapist to make the most out of your sessions, otherwise they will not be effective.

As a general rule of thumb, you should ask your potential therapist whether they have experience in treating your specific problem before you book your first session.

Keep in mind that even though you may have found them through personal referral, it doesn’t mean they will be right for you.

So, be prepared that finding the right therapist and type of therapy can involve some trial and error.

That said, to help you with your search, here’s a brief explanation of 5 effective types of therapy, including the mental health problems they’re most useful for.

1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a talking therapy that works to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave, and is most commonly used for those suffering from anxiety and depression.

Briefly speaking, CBT is based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings and actions are connected, and that negative thoughts can trap you in a vicious cycle.

So, CBT aims to help you deal with situations that overwhelm you in a more positive way by breaking it down into smaller parts.

Here, your therapist will work with you to find practical ways to improve your state of mind, and look at dealing with your current problems, rather than looking at issues from your past.

And, your therapist will analyse your thoughts to figure out whether they’re unrealistic or unhelpful and determine the effect that they have on you.

Typically, you will have a session once a week or once every two weeks and the treatment will last between 5 – 20 sessions.

2. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is an action-oriented approach to psychotherapy and is effective at treating persistent anxiety.

So, it’s a form of cognitive behavioural therapy that teaches you how to live with anxiety without letting it control you.

Here, you will learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with your inner emotions and instead, accept that these feelings are responses to certain situations, which should not stop you from living your normal life.

With this understanding, you should hopefully be able to accept your hardships and make a commitment to make the necessary changes needed, regardless of what is happening in your life and how you feel about it.

In these sessions, you will learn how to listen to your own self-talk, then decide whether a particular issue needs action or whether you should accept it for what it is.

Then, you can try to stop fighting your past and emotions, and practice more confident and optimistic behaviour based on your own personal values and goals.

3. Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

DBT is usually recommended to those suffering with more severe problems, such as addiction or suicidal thoughts.

To put it simply, DBT is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy, which tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns to transform them into positive, by teaching patients skills to cope with unhealthy behaviours.

Furthermore, the term dialectical comes from the idea of bringing together two opposites in therapy: acceptance and change, which can bring better results than just one alone.

And, the way it’s different to other forms of therapy is that it focuses on accepting your experience, gaining reassurance from your therapist and then working to change negative thoughts.

4. Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is both a therapy and a theory, and is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety.

In therapy, this is the one you can probably picture in your mind, where you’re asked to lay down on a couch, relax and then your therapist will stand behind you taking notes while you speak about your childhood memories and dreams.

However, because of the natural defense mechanisms operating in the unconscious mind, psychoanalysis is a lengthy process and can involve a few sessions per week for a few years.

Generally, a psychoanalyst (the therapist), will use a variety of techniques to encourage you to develop insights into your behaviour, such as:

  • Dream interpretation: according to Freud, dream analysis is the most important psychoanalytic technique and is often referred to as the “royal road to the unconscious”.
  • Free association: an exercise where you’re encouraged to freely share your thoughts, which could bring up unexpected memories
  • Transference: where you will project your feelings about another person onto the therapist, and talk to them as if they were that person.

5. Art Therapy 

Art therapy is effective at working through a number of mental health issues, from depression to PTSD, through the application of visual art.

Essentially, art therapy is an integrative type of therapy that involves managing symptoms of a variety of mental health disorders through active art-making, creative process and applied psychological theory.

For example, activities include colouring, painting or sculpting, where you are able to express yourself through art, and then your therapist will examine both the psychological and emotional undertones from that.

Positively, art therapy benefits both adults and children and is usually recommended to improve cognitive functions, boost self-esteem and self-awareness, give an insight into behaviour and enhance social skills.

The Takeaway

Hopefully, this has given you an insight into the most common types of effective therapy to help you choose the right one for you.

All in all, you won’t really know until you try, and if after a couple of sessions you don’t feel comfortable, there’s nothing stopping you from moving on to a different therapist or a different type of therapy altogether.

Please get in touch today if you’d like to know more.

In the meantime, take a look at our Court of Protection Solicitors here.

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