When we rely on the psyche to treat multiple discomforts: we are talking about psychological therapy. This therapy focuses on psychological issues. There are many different types of psychological therapies. But leaving aside their different perspectives, approaches, and original theories, all aim for the same goal. The same therapeutic target, therefore: Facilitate the change towards well-being. So, instead of asking us which of these psychological strategies is best or worst, we should first ask ourselves what we need.
How to Choose Among the Different Types of Psychological Therapies?
On many occasions, when a person realizes that they need to consult a psychologist, they continue to have misconceptions about psychological therapies. Often, he has in mind the classic scene of a patient lying in a chair (couch), the therapist taking notes behind her.
The classic image of psychoanalysis continues to weigh heavily in the collective unconscious. In addition, it is common that many people do not yet know that there are different techniques, methods, and psychological schools. Thus, the question that comes back “but which one is better” is classic? Therefore, before making the mistake of focusing on one therapy over another, we need to clarify some ideas.
Each model uses a series of distinctive techniques that will be better suited to some people than others. Thus, we cannot forget that many of them focus on a certain type of goal. That others do not usually work. Likewise, it is important to always keep in mind the general purpose for which all psychological therapies coincide.
Therapeutikós – the One Who Takes Care of Another Person
The very term “therapy” comes from the Greek “therapeutikós” and means “the one who takes care of another person”. In this case, the one who cares is an experienced professional trained to this end through a series of studies and practices. Its purpose is not exactly to “take care”, but to provide adequate strategies and tools so that people can achieve balance and well-being on their own.
We are facing an active and proactive process between two or more people. It’s an intense work relationship, and difficult sometimes a journey of discovery, creativity, and interpersonal dynamics. Where it is not worth sitting. Where the therapist is not limited to giving advice or direction to his patient or client. As Lazarus explains, “ the goal of therapy is to teach to see problems as challenges, not threats.”
Emotional problems, fears, trauma, personal crises, couple problems, childhood disorders … The reason that drives us to seek a psychotherapist can be multiple; however, it never hurts to know the different therapeutic strategies that we have at our disposal.
All, if done by competent, experienced, and well-trained professionals, can be effective. We already know that as patients or clients, we must take an active role; in turn, it is necessary to know which approach each psychological therapy uses to feel if at least this therapeutic setting can be adjusted to our characteristics and needs.
Different Types of Psychological Therapies Can Be Categorized into 5 Major Orientations.
In this article, we will see what are the main psychological therapies and what they can offer us. Psychological therapies can be categorized into 5 major orientations namely: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Therapies – Humanistic Therapies – Artistic Therapies – and Other Types of Psychological Therapies.
Without further ado, discover a total of 19 types of psychological therapies most widespread and effective. Let’s start with cognitive-behavioral ones.
*** Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies
Cognitive-behavioral therapies are based on an understanding of how people think (cognitive approach) and how we behave (behavioral approach). The goal of this approach is to teach us that change is possible but to achieve it, we must first learn to improve our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors.
– In this type of therapy, the specialist will seek to identify the patient’s problems, serving as a guide to change the dysfunctional thinking patterns.
– To achieve this, we perform a functional analysis of the behavior to determine what are the “unsuitable” behaviors.
– Once identified, the cognitive-behavioral therapist will use a variety of techniques to train the person in problem-solving, professional training, cognitive restructuring, etc.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is very effective in the treatment of depression, phobias, anxiety disorders, traumatic processes …
On the other hand, other cognitive-behavioral therapies include other therapeutic lines that are important to know. As cognitive-behavioral therapies, we present you 4.
1. Acceptance Therapy and Commitment
– The therapy of acceptance and commitment is effective in the approach of depression.
– His goal is to train ourselves in psychological flexibility to improve the orientation of our thoughts and to promote change.
– She uses a series of practical exercises to recognize the emotional problem, to see the effect they have on our thoughts and behaviors and thus to assume a sincere and total commitment to ourselves.
2. Behavioral Therapy
– Behavioral therapy is useful in the treatment of phobias and addictions.
– Behavioral therapy, as its name suggests, seeks to point out to us our learned or conditioned behavior to see the impact they may have on our lives.
– Once identified, the goal is clear: to help us “unlearn” to “repackage” for healthier and more inclusive actions and behaviors.
3. Cognitive Analytical Therapy
– Very useful in short and punctual treatments (based on 12 sessions) to improve certain behaviors, distorted thoughts, behavior problems …
– It is generally implemented in the mental health fields of many hospitals.
Cognitive analytic therapy links cognitive therapy to analytic psychology.
– The goal is to help the patient understand why he thinks as he does or why he behaves as he does. In this way, you have different adaptation techniques to initiate the change.
4. Rational Emotional-Behavioral Therapy
– The rational emotional and behavioral therapy of Albert Ellis is useful for the treatment of anger, anxiety, frustration, social phobia, shyness, and sexual dysfunction.
– His goal is to solve emotional and behavioral problems through a more directive, more philosophical, and empirical approach.
– It addresses the reason and the rationality so that the person manages to become aware of his emotions, as well as his destructive and limiting thoughts. To those who are often on a more subconscious or automatic level and that the person does not usually identify on their own.
– Later, the psychotherapist facilitates strategies for the patient to use more constructive thoughts.
One of the best-known psychological therapies is undoubtedly the one that responds to Sigmund Freud’s theoretical model of nearly a century ago. Even if I draw this iconography so close and so familiar to the general population, it is necessary to know its dynamics. Its principles and objectives. Before you choose to start therapy in this setting.
Let’s look at some of its features.
– Psychoanalytic therapy is based on the premise that human beings sometimes manifest a series of unconscious conflicts from our past. Especially in childhood.
– Many of our problems are the result of instinctive impulses poorly repressed in the unconscious.
– The goal of the psychoanalyst is to facilitate the rise of all these unconscious conflicts towards the conscious world. To do this, he uses emotional catharsis or hypnosis. This facilitates the possibility of identifying. And exposes the defense mechanisms that most use to dodge the original problem.
These would be the main psychological therapies that fit into the subject. As psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies, we expose 3.
5. Psychoanalytic Therapy
– Psychoanalytic therapy is useful for treating childhood trauma, phobias, and depression.
– This therapy explores, as we have indicated, the unconscious and its influence on our thoughts and behaviors.
– Above all, she concentrates her efforts on analyzing childhood experiences, trying to identify how these specific events had an impact on the person’s life.
– This type of therapy usually extends a lot in time.
6. Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy
– Dynamic interpersonal therapy helps us to improve our relationships with others.
– It is limited in time and allows us to understand more easily some problematic links that we have with some people.
7. Jungian Therapy
Jungian Therapy or Jung’s analysis is another of these types of psychological therapies that are particularly useful for treating addictions, depression, and anxiety, and even for personal growth.
– The goal of Carl Jung was to dive into the unconscious of the person through the archetypes inscribed in our dreams and even in our artistic expressions.
– This type of therapy is based on the conversation between the therapist and the patient, where a relationship of trust, equality, support, and collaboration is established between them.
– We analyze dreams, perform tests of word associations and creative activities based on self-expression.
*** Humanistic Therapies
Humanistic therapies are topical. This is a highly valued, useful, and preferred approach by professionals and people in general because of the breadth of techniques used and the therapeutic strategies on which it is based.
The forerunner of this approach was Carl Rogers. We have already spoken on more than one occasion to this great specialist in human behavior, who was above all seeking to bring optimism to psychotherapy, to promote our personal development, and to move towards change to reach our maximum human potential.
These would be some of the features of one of the most used psychological therapies today.
– Instead of deepening our suffering or trauma, humanistic therapy is more concerned with providing alternatives to these states. This allows us to be active agents of our changes.
– They also seek to offer us a more optimistic view of ourselves. Humanistic therapists believe in the goodness of the human being, well-being, and health as a natural tendency. So, the ultimate goal is to help us put aside those “deviations” that sometimes take us away from this magical balance point to find the true meaning of our lives.
– In the humanist model, the present is considered as the ideal moment to solve problems. The past, unlike psychoanalysis, ceases to be so important.
8. Existential Therapy
– Existential therapy helps us to find meaning, a vital goal. It does this by inviting us to reflect on our own existence.
– It allows us to take responsibility and take on new personal challenges to succeed.
– She understands emotional difficulties, internal conflicts, and our fears as the stones that prevent us from achieving our goals. It does it further in “here and now”.
– Existential therapists offer us strategies to live more authentically, finding meaning in our lives and leaving aside the superficial. At least, try.
9. Gestalt Therapy
The goal of Gestalt Therapy is to work on our self-awareness so that we can solve our problems more safely. The purpose of the procedures he raises is to put aside personal anxieties, to achieve personal freedom, and to acquire sufficient determination to reach our maximum potential.
– Gestalt therapy was developed in the late 1940s by Fritz Perls. She supposed, for example, that each person is a whole, where a thought, a feeling, an emotion or an action can never be given in isolation.
– The therapist will always strive to make his clients feel comfortable, to be participants at all times to be able to see their own resistance and be fully aware of the importance of their emotions, thoughts, ideas, memories …
– Creative techniques are used to facilitate self-discovery.
– Customers are also encouraged to have a responsibility to themselves and to the company itself.
10. Client-Centered Therapy
– Client-centered therapy will help us understand our needs to improve our personal development.
– We are confronted with one of the most interesting psychological therapies in this field, where the humanistic therapist will help us first to clarify the needs, to reinforce the values that identify us, to facilitate our acceptance, and to work on our strengths.
– It is also important to remember that we are dealing with a type of non-directive therapy: the client, not the therapist, is the one who has the weight of a large part of the therapeutic process.
– Throughout the process, three key dimensions prevail empathy, unconditional positive acceptance, and authenticity or congruence.
11. Brief Solution-Based Therapy
As the name suggests, solution-focused short therapy is limited in time. She seeks to change a kind of dysfunctional thinking. To improve the relationship between couples or families or customers. To help them find their emotional and social balance.
– Thus, instead of focusing on the individual’s weaknesses and limitations, solution-based therapy seeks to strengthen our strengths and opportunities to help us move forward.
– The therapy is based on a series of questions where the process of reflection and self-knowledge is facilitated.
12. Transactional Analysis
Transactional analysis is a very effective therapy for improving psychological well-being and facilitating restructuring and personal change.
– It should also be noted that this approach is widely used in many psychiatric hospitals for the treatment of various disorders.
– Founded by Eric Berne in the late 1950s, therapy or transactional analysis is based on the theory that each person has three ego states: father, adult, and child.
– The goal of the therapist is to help us use a more ‘integrative’ personality based on these psychological transactions. Thus, for example, the adult represents the most rational domain, the child is bound to the spontaneous and the father to the normative and the ethical …
13. Transpersonal Psychology
Transpersonal psychology was developed by Abraham Maslow in the 1960s. His goal is to help us discover the true meaning of our lives, the resolution of needs according to the hierarchy that precisely marks this meaning.
In this branch of psychology, aspects such as consciousness, spirituality, deep inner knowledge, compassion, or universal brotherhood are emphasized.
The therapist acquires a very specific role here. Must have an open mind, great respect, innocence, and the ability to marvel. You must show your client that everything he says, that everything he communicates is new and valuable. Thus, the methodology used to promote this unique therapeutic process is a combination of spiritual traditions, where it is common to use some of these dynamics:
– Creative writing
– Guided views
– “Encounter” with our inner child
– Symbolic art
*** Artistic therapies
It is very possible that within the different types of psychological therapies, such approaches that are at once cathartic, liberating and healing, go unnoticed by the general public. As we pointed out at the beginning, when we are looking for a type of therapeutic strategy, it is very important to identify what we want and what therapeutic mechanism can work better with us.
Artistic expression is a channel, a world of possibilities where we shape our emotions, where to free them, where to promote self-discovery, and a different approach to many of our problems.
Let’s see what kind of artistic therapies we have at our disposal.
13. Artistic Psychotherapy
Art therapy or artistic psychotherapy uses tools such as canvas, painting, or clay so that people can express their inner worlds. In this way, they outsource problems and conflicts that can be addressed in a different way in the future. The good news about this type of help is that it offers the patient a form of expression that may be much more natural to them. Allowing him to say more. And to keep less for him.
14. Drama Therapy
This type of therapy uses drama to provide relief and promote physical and emotional integration.
Theatrical improvisations or specific scripts are used to deepen the person’s personal world, improve their social skills, and make them feel safer.
15. Music Therapy
Music therapy is a type of creative therapy that is very versatile, very intense, and healing. The changes are almost immediate. This is common in patients with autism spectrum disorders, dementia or anxiety. The person responds to the second and experiences a torrent of emotions and sensations.
*** Other types of psychological therapies
As we have seen, most psychological therapies can be approached through four very clear approaches. However, we have many more options that are worth knowing.
16. Systemic Therapy
Family or systemic therapy is very useful in groups of people linked by family ties. The goal is to improve the relationship itself. The communicative style. And this sometimes complex interaction that tarnishes the cohesion of this group of people.
In general, the therapy focuses primarily on the “control patient”; that is, in the person who has a clinical disorder or problem behavior.
17. Interpersonal Therapy
– Interpersonal therapy is a therapeutic discipline that aims to improve the quality of our interactions. And our communication styles.
– The basic creed of interpersonal therapy is that many of our psychological symptoms are the result of these sometimes complex interactions. Harmful or ambivalent. Which generates great anxiety. Sometimes even our own inability to interact better with others intensifies these states.
The goal is to offer tools to improve these dimensions.
18. Psychosexual Therapy
In psychosexual therapy, the right professional will help us to explore, reflect and analyze our sexual problems openly and sincerely. Many times, after them, a lot of emotional blocks in the couple have to be solved.
19. The Psychodrama
It is possible that many of us have heard of Jacob Levy Moreno’s psychodrama. Moreover, we may have practiced one of its dynamics in our work environments.
– We are dealing with a type of group psychotherapy where dramatic expression, theatrical play, or body movement is applied. We talk about therapeutic tools to improve our relationship with others and our personal safety.
– It is a very rewarding invitation to the spontaneity that usually gives good results in group dynamics.
As a Summary
To conclude, let us add that there are undoubtedly many more types of psychological therapies. However, those examined here are the most common. Which offer the greatest benefits. And the best answer at a given moment. Do not hesitate to approach these psychological therapies if we need them at a given moment. We all have the right to feel better. To enjoy greater well-being. And to grow as people.