Psychological Therapy, or Psychotherapies, is forms of treatment which involve talking to a trained therapist to help you overcome your difficulties. Within all the different modalities of psychological therapy, it is agreed that it is the relationship between therapist and client which most influences the progress and outcome of treatment.
Some of the most common procedures are briefly described below:
The way we feel influences the way we behave. If we can, therefore, learn to behave differently in a particular situation, this will help to reduce the complicated feelings. They are particularly useful for anxiety related problems.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Similar to Behavior Therapy, but in addition to looking at how our feelings affect our behavior, CBT looks at the links between our thoughts (cognitions), feelings and behavior. If we can change the way we think about something, this will help us change the way we feel, and the way we behave.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) are part of the new or “third wave” Cognitive & Behavioral Therapies.
Involves the client talking about their difficulties with a counselor, who plays a listening and supportive role, and may sometimes provide practical advice on problem-solving. Person Centered Counselling or Psychotherapy is based upon the work of Carl Rogers, who advocated the establishment of a therapeutic relationship between client and therapist, which includes genuineness, unconditional positive regard (non-judgmental), empathic understanding and active listening. It is these attributes of a client-therapist relationship upon which all other modern psychotherapies are based.
Systemic Therapy (‘Family Therapy’)
This therapy focuses on how people get on as part of a group or system. This is often their immediate family but might also include their community or school/workplace. Systemic therapists often see problems as being in a group of people (or ‘system’) rather than in one person (the client). If you see a systemic therapist, you may, but not necessarily, see them with other members of your family or social group.
Thrive Video: the power of evidence-based psychological therapies
Speakers: Professor David M Clark, Professor Lord Layard, Andrew Marr
(Brief) Solution Focused Therapy (BSFT)
Solution-focused therapy is a talking therapy that is brief and efficient. It can be brief because it is future-focused and because it works with the strengths of those who come to making the best use of their resources, and it can bring about lasting change precisely because it aims to build solutions rather than solve problems. Rather than focusing on a person’s problems, the therapist, and client work together to identify the goal, what the client want to achieve, then use various techniques to reach this objective. Click for more about Solution Focused Therapy.
Several people with similar problems meet. Group Therapy can vary, with the group facilitators or leaders using any of the therapies listed above. Most group therapies last 1 – 1.5 hours, for weekly sessions. Some groups are ‘closed’ – being attended only by those who are invited, and no new members can join. Closed groups run for a certain amount of time, typically several weeks. Open groups are those that are run at the same time each week, and are open to anyone to join at any time (although group members are expected not to be late for the start of a session, nor leave early).
Some group therapies can be ‘led’ by a group leader, perhaps in an educational-type method, or in Inter-Personal Group therapies (Yalom); the group itself is the therapist. The group member gains (Yalom’s Curative or Therapeutic Factors): support from other group members, the installation of hope, ability to identify with others and lessen feelings of being alone, exchange of information, help each other (each group member gains from giving as well as receiving), the group can resemble a family and the group members take on various roles which all can discuss and provide feedback on, improve social and interpersonal skills, trust and openness.
Group CBT is time-limited and usually psycho-educational. See here for more information about CBT open group therapy.
Hypnotherapy is simply a method of deep relaxation, which enables the therapist to use any of the psychotherapeutic approaches in a more efficient way. In a deeply relaxed state, our conscious mind – while still being aware of what is happening, being said, and being fully able to ‘wake up’ – is less likely to resist the therapy with negative thoughts. The subconscious mind is also more receptive to the therapeutic intervention, which it is considered makes treatment more effective.