Psychotherapy: The Four Main Approaches
Psychotherapy: How it Works
There are many misconceptions about psychotherapy, and because of this many people are reluctant to try it. If you don’t know exactly what psychotherapy is and how it works, it can be a bit intimidating. However, getting over that initial nervousness is worth it.
There are many different approaches to psychotherapy. However, the four forms most commonly used are: psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and eclectic theories. S0 now that we have a bit better understanding of the basics, lets delve into the details a bit more.
#1: Psychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy, also known as psychoanalytic therapy, is one of the oldest theories of psychology. This approach focuses on changing problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their unconscious meanings and motivations.
Psychologists using this method often exam a clients history to see what events may be influencing the current issues. One of the main goals of this therapy is a clients understanding of the influence of the past on current behaviors. Whether this means looking back on dysfunctional relationships, traumas, or unresolved conflicts, the ultimate goal is to become aware and to reflect.
Psychoanalytic therapies are often characterized by a close relationship between therapist and client. Typically this therapy focuses on one specific issue, agreed upon by the client and therapist, and gives a structure and goal to the treatment.
#2: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
The main idea behind the Cognitive-Behavioral Theory (CBT) is that learned thought patterns affect outward behavior. Cognitive therapists believe that it is dysfunctional and unhelpful thinking that leads to dysfunctional emotions and behaviors. CBT is a very time sensitive therapy, as it requires clients to learn skills used to modify dysfunctional thinking.
Unlike psychodynamic therapies, cognitive-behavioral therapies are very present oriented. This type of therapy focuses more on solving current problems and thought patterns. The basic idea is that you can change how you feel and what you do by changing your thoughts. If you can change the automatic negative thoughts you have during a certain situation, you can change the way you react.
#3: Humanistic Therapy
Humanistic therapy is a positive approach to psychotherapy that focuses on a persons individual nature. One of the main goals of this therapy is to help the client gain self-awareness and work on self-improvement. This therapy emphasizes the clients positive traits, behaviors, and good nature. This approach emphasizes the clients ability to find fulfillment, healing, and maximum potential within themselves.
Humanistic therapy emphasizes the importance of accepting responsibility for yourself and focusing on the present. Instead of the therapist being an authoritative figure, they help clients change by expressing their care and interest. Humanistic therapy is most often used to treat:
- Panic Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Relationship Issues
Humanistic therapy also focuses on free will, self-determination, and the search for meaning. This type of therapy is mainly talk based, and focuses on how a person feels in the now rather than focusing on past events.
#4: Eclectic Therapy
Eclectic therapy is an approach that blends many different elements to create a tailored treatment for each client. Instead of focusing solely on one method, eclectic therapists use a range of techniques in order to create an ideal and personalized approach. The approach varies depending on the client, and often uses many different methods to deal with one situation. Some psychologists argue that because eclecticism does not have a specific theory to follow, it can cause a psychologist to lead a client blindly. However, eclectic therapists say that it allows them to treat clients more effectively due to the fact that they are not as limited.
While psychotherapy may seem a bit intimidating at first, there really isn’t anything to be afraid of. There are many different approaches to psychotherapy, each based on different theories and practices. The most important thing to figure out is whether your psychologist has expertise in the areas you need help in, and has reliable credentials.
If you are interested in learning more about psychotherapy or other holistic treatments, I encourage you to check out our personalized care questionnaire in order to figure out which service will be right for you. If you are still a bit unsure, try reading some of our testimonials from clients who have seen results from their treatments.