COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY (CBT)
Bigger picture: CBT aims to help you change the way you think (cognitive) and what you do (behaviour). Rather than looking at past causes, it focuses on current problems and practical solutions to help you feel better now.
The therapist will… help you identify and challenge any negative thinking so you can deal with situations better and behave in a more positive way.
What to expect: CBT courses are usually brief (6-12 sessions) and often involve weekly ‘homework’ such as writing exercises and/or worksheets.
Bigger picture: Developed from psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current behaviour. It involves examining your emotions, relationships, and thought patterns.
The therapist will… maintain an attitude of acceptance, and will aim to form an equal and trusting client-therapist relationship.
What to expect: Expect an emphasis to be placed on free association (sharing thoughts, words, and anything else that comes to mind) interpretation and especially transference, where feelings you experienced in previous significant relationships are projected onto the therapist and worked with/through.
Bigger picture: Integrative counselling looks at the whole person, taking into account your mental, physical and emotional needs. When you understand the causes of your concerns or triggers for your behaviour, you can confidently set goals and develop new behaviours to improve your satisfaction with life.
The therapist will… use techniques and tools from different types of therapy to tailor an individual approach for you. They will also aim to build a trusting and non-judgmental relationship that helps you develop self-awareness.
What to expect: Integrative therapy requires a substantial investment of time on the part of the client. Therefore it may not suit those who want a quick, solution-focused approach to personal development.
Bigger picture: Existential therapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that looks to explore difficulties from a philosophical perspective, focusing on the human condition as a whole. Rather than delve into the past, the existential approach looks at the here and now, exploring the human condition as a whole and what it means for an individual.
The therapist will… help you confront your anxieties and negative thoughts, enabling you to make decisions about how to live life and deal with life problems in your own way.
What to expect: Existential therapy highlights our capacities and encourages us to take responsibility for our successes. Emotional and psychological difficulties are viewed as inner conflict caused by an individual's confrontation with the givens of existence.
Bigger picture: Practiced by psychological therapists who have arts-based experience and training in psychological interventions, arts psychoterapies use drama, movement, music or art to help clients communicate feelings and emotions.
The therapist will… use different approaches at different times to suit your needs. They will likely invite you to express your feelings without necessarily using words.
What to expect: An emphasis of creative expression (i.e. beyond words or traditional talking therapies). An image, a drawing, painting or collage, a clay figure, a piece of music, or a story can clarify what is being communicated in the therapy and bring about deeper understanding of the self in an indirect way.
Bigger picture: Humanistic therapy involves better understanding your world view and developing true self-acceptance. This is accomplished partially through the development of unconditional positive regard, both from others and from yourself.
The therapist will… emphasise self-development and help you to achieve your highest potential, rather than focusing on problematic behaviour.
What to expect: Humanistic therapy tends to focus more on your current day-to-day life. It encourages people to think about their feelings and take responsibility for their thoughts and actions.
Check out our other article Q&A with Self Space here.
Keep checking back as we'll be adding different types of therapy every so often.