Types of Therapy
Therapy is an umbrella term that encompasses several types of mental health treatment. Not all approaches to therapy will benefit every patient. It is essential to know some basic information about the different kinds of therapy available so that you can find a therapist who will be able to provide the type of therapy you are seeking.
Behavior therapy is focused on addressing patterns and behavioral responses that can negatively impact everyday life or cause distress. This form of treatment is action-based and does not spend much time diving into the root of the behaviors. Behavioral therapy can help address anxiety, phobias, substance use, obsessive thoughts or behaviors, and communication or emotional challenges.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This short-term therapeutic approach helps patients address problematic behaviors and the thought patterns that motivate those behaviors. This form of therapy focuses on the current symptoms and making changes that can relieve the adverse effects associated. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help address mood disorders, anxiety, phobias, disordered eating, substance use disorders, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy differs in that the approach focuses on emotional regulation, mindfulness, and the acceptance of discomfort as a part of life that can be coped with rather than feared. This form of therapy helps address disordered eating, post-traumatic stress disorder, mood disorders, and substance use disorders.
The humanistic therapy approach examines the patient’s worldview and how that worldview informs behaviors and choices in life. This empowering approach to therapy is rooted in the belief that the patient is the best person to understand their own needs, motivations, and experiences. Self-acceptance and unconditional positive regard are the cornerstones of this therapeutic approach. Humanistic therapy can help address self-esteem issues, chronic health issues, effects of trauma, depression, substance use disorder, interpersonal relationship issues, and self-worth.
Exposure therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on exploring the triggers of harmful behaviors rooted in anxiety. Coping skills and methods will be practiced to lessen the effects of the triggers. Therapists will create a safe, controlled environment in which the patient will be exposed to triggering stimuli to practice coping skills. This form of therapy can be used to address post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Family therapy focuses on the family unit to address and resolve interpersonal conflicts and issues. A family therapist can provide a neutral environment where each family member can openly share feelings and thoughts. The therapist can act as a mediator for disputes and facilitate the breakdown of barriers in communication to address the root of these conflicts.
There are many other forms of therapy available. This list offers an overview of the most common forms of therapy that you may encounter. When looking for a therapist, ask what kind of therapeutic approach is used.