5 Popular Types of Psychotherapy


There are a variety of therapies you can choose from when looking to seek help. There are couples therapy, family therapy, group therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychotherapy. All of these therapies are considered โ€œtalking therapiesโ€ and can help you with underlying issues causing harm in your inner or outer life.

Psychotherapy, which is one of the most common types of therapy, is great for understanding behavioural problems, deconstructing feelings, and uncovering your unconscious meanings and motivations. Most psychotherapy is also done one-on-one with a psychologist, unlike some of the other types mentioned above.

While there are several types of therapies, there are also different types of psychotherapy. However, psychotherapy can be divided into five broad categories: Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic, behavioural, cognitive, humanistic, and integrative โ€˜holistic.โ€™

1. Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic

The psychoanalysis and psychodynamic is an approach that focuses on changing behaviours, feelings, and thoughts, by analyzing your unconscious meanings and motivations.

In this type of psychotherapy, you will learn to explore yourself and how your inner interactions work with your outer actions. Psychoanalysis is closely tied with Sigmund Freud, but it has been extended and changed since Freudโ€™s early formulations.

2. Behavioural Therapy

Behavioural therapy takes the approach of learning your role in developing normal and abnormal behaviours you might have. Behavioural therapy is associated with classical conditioning or associative learning.

Behavioural therapy can help you understand your phobias and anxieties. Itโ€™s also been useful for uncovering condition such as your responses to rewards and punishments. Ivan Pavlov, who is the person behind Pavlovโ€™s famous dogs, is one of the people behind the creation of behavioural therapy.

3. Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy works with your thinking to help you escape negative thought patterns that might be holding you back or causing harm in your life. Cognitive therapy works with peopleโ€™s feelings, emotions, and behaviours, with the underlying belief that all things start with our thoughts.

Cognitive therapy has been hugely successful for people and works better than some think. Albert Ellis, an American psychologist, and Aaron Beck, an American psychiatrist, helped play a role in developing the cognitive therapy method.

4. Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic therapy is a type of therapy that works with people looking to understand how to make rational choices and develop their maximum potential. Humanistic therapy might also help you understand concern and respect for others.

There are three types of humanistic therapy: client-centered, Gestalt, and existential. Client-centred works to reject the idea of therapists as authorities and instead focuses on the clientโ€™s inner experiences to understand their concern, care, and interest in life and people.

Gestalt therapy works from what is called โ€œorganismic holism,โ€ which is the importance of being aware of here and now and accepting responsibility for yourself, your words, and your actions. Existential therapy focuses on understanding your free will, self-determination, and your search for meaning in your life.

Humanistic therapy was influenced by philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Buber, and Sรธren Kierkegaard.

5. Integrative โ€˜holisticโ€™ Therapy

Many therapists take the approach of using several methods to help a client. By blending different types of therapy, they can help their client overcome and uncover their mental and emotional blocks. This is what integrative โ€˜holisticโ€™ therapy does โ€” it includes several methods for the best solution.

Knowing which therapy is best for you depends on your situation. Best practice is to try a couple of therapists before committing, but you have to try before you can find someone. Give a couple of methods a try and work with your therapist to uncover which solution is your solution. There are many methods to choose from, and perhaps a blend would work best โ€” you wonโ€™t know until you try.

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5 Popular Types of Psychotherapy

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