6 Different Types of Psychotherapy for You to Consider


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Page last updated: 3/09/2022

6 Different Types of Psychotherapy for You to Consider

Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all for everyone struggling with their mental health. From mental health residential treatment programs to animal-assisted therapy, there are multiple types of therapy available, some of which can be better suited for you than others. You do not have to do traditional “talk therapy” should it not be the most effective option for you. Therapy should allow for self-exploration in a comfortable and accepting setting with an experienced mental health professional. Learn about some of the many psychotherapy options available to you by reading this article.


Psychotherapy is an umbrella term that covers many different therapy techniques. Psychotherapy sessions are conducted by a licensed clinical social worker, mental health counselor, psychologist, or family therapist. They are typically one-on-one sessions, but sometimes involve the individual’s family or a group of individuals facing similar mental health issues. The goal of psychotherapy is to change negative thoughts, build interpersonal skills, and/or change maladaptive coping strategies or behaviors.

1.    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is the most popular form of therapy, and is typically regarded as traditional “talk therapy.” It is an evidence-supported therapy practice that has been proven effective for a wide array of various mental health disorders. By building a trusting relationship with the therapist, the client learns how to

  • Recognize distorted thoughts and their consequences,
  • Identify and correct maladaptive behavior,
  • Improve coping mechanisms & problem-solving skills,
  • And develop more self-confidence & advocacy skills.

CBT is effective in treating depressive and anxious disorders, relationship problems, and eating disorders. This form of therapy usually serves as a great introduction to therapy overall, or as a great supplement to forms of trauma therapy.

2.    Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

This therapy was once mostly prescribed to individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, but recently has been considered an effective modality of treatment for various mental health conditions. It is very similar to CBT, as it involves coaching, however, it is recommended mostly for high-risk clients. DBT is ideal for clients who pose a risk to themselves or others, have frequent angry outbursts, mood swings, or extreme rejection dysphoria. In this form of therapy, therapists will give their clients “homework” to work on between sessions. This homework includes:

  • Distress tolerance exercises.
  • Emotional regulation exercises.
  • Mindfulness exercises.
  • Interpersonal exercises.

3.    Humanistic Therapy

This form of therapy focuses less on an individual’s behavior and thought process and more on the ways they view themselves, their talents, their potential, and what brings them fulfillment. This approach focuses more on the individual’s present self in contrast to CBT or DBT, which focus on past events and experiences. Humanistic therapy is based on the concept of self-actualization, which is believed to be a human need to realize who you are, what brings you fulfillment, how to develop your potential abilities, and how to appreciate your life. This form of therapy is based on unconditional acceptance, warmth, and empathy from the therapist to the client, and it used to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • Panic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Relationship issues
  • Low self esteem

4.    Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapy is sometimes referred to as body-centered therapy, as it intergrates a mind-body approach. The main focus of holistic therapy is improving self-awareness and the connection between emotions and where they are felt in the body. This therapy practice is believed to be especially effective for healing trauma, as it is believed that trauma can be “stored” in specific regions of your body. Holistic therapy incorporates methods from traditional talking therapy, but may also include techniques like:

  • Breathwork
  • Meditation
  • Reiki
  • Hyponsis
  • Biofeedback
  • Massage
  • Acupunture
  • Reiki
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

5.    Eye Movement Desensitivation & Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR was formulated specifically to target traumatic memories that have be stored away in the back of the brain. The goal of EMDR is to unpack the traumatic event(s), reprocess it in a more positive light, and relieve all physical and mental symptoms of distress.

Although EMDR is considered to be type of psychotherapy, it relies very little on actual talking. Some sessions include virtually no back-and-forth between the client and therapist. This therapy mimics the rapid eye movement associated with REM sleep by asking the client to follow the therapist’s pen or finger. Alternatively, there is a machine with a dot that bounces from one side of the screen to the other. This triggers interal processes that allow the client to release the traumatic associations and process them emotionally. This frees the mental block caused by the traumatic event, which makes EMDR particularly effective for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

6 Different Types of Psychotherapy for You to Consider

6.    Psychoanalysis & Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychoanalysis was coined by Sigmund Freud, a pioneer of modern psychology. This form of therapy focuses on the client’s subconcious mind and addresses any problematic thoughts or behaviors that the client may not immediately be aware of. Psychoanalysis aims to dive deep into the psyche through methods such as,

  • Free association: By building a strong, trusting relationship with the therapist, the client is able to communicate freely without free of judgement. This helps the therapist evaluate impulses, unconscious information, or memories pertaining to the client.
  • Dreams intrepration: This includes evaluating dreams for deeper meaning and potential association with subconscious stress.
  • Recognizing resistance: Clients that choose to withhold information may be hiding it out of embarrassment or some degree of stress, as it may have some level of subconscious impact on them.

Conclusion – The Different Types of Psychotherapy for You to Consider

As you can see, there are many different approaches and techniques to therapy. Some are better suited for different mental health concerns than others, however any form of therapy is a good starting point for someone new to the world of mental health. Talking with a mental health professional when you’re struggling or feeling low is always a good idea. Together, you can decide what the best mode of treatment and unpack some unhelpful thoughts or behaviors. This way, you can achieve the relief you deserve and start living the life you desire! Look into some of these forms of therapy today.

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