Types of psychotherapy
Psychotherapy, or talking therapy, may be carried out on an individual basis, as part of a group, or with your husband, wife or partner. Remember that psychiatry is something very different. Psychiatry deals with psychosis and mental illness. Outlined below is a description of the various types of psychotherapy. If you are experiencing symptoms of psychosis you will may need a consultation with a psychiatrist.
See here for an updated list of common presenting issues for psychotherapy.
Noel Bell is an integrative psychotherapist. That means that I use a range of tools and techniques to best meet the needs of each particular client. I believe therapy should be based on what the client needs, rather than getting clients to comply with standardised treatments. Being integrative means being committed to the whole project of therapy, rather than to a particular approach.
There are a number of different types of psychotherapy including:
- Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy a complex type of psychotherapy that was first developed by the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. A psychoanalytic therapist will encourage you to say exactly what you are thinking, and will try to identify hidden meanings or patterns in what you say that may be contributing to your problems. The analyst will work with the transference in the here and now as a way of understanding past object relations. In psychoanalysis you could see your analyst up to 4 times per week. Psycho-dynamic therapy can be shorter term work but uses psychoanalytic tools and techniques and the mode of attendance could more typically be once a week. Psychodynamics give us useful tools such as working with the transference, free association, dream analysis, observing slips of the tongue, projective identification, projection and boundary (frame) management.
- Existential Psychotherapy The art of existential psychotherapy is to understand the concept of not knowing. The language is conversational. Existential psychotherapists are well educated in philosophy. Existential therapy starts with the premise that although humans are essentially alone in the world, they long to be connected to others. Anxiety comes from the realisation that our validation must come from within and not from others. There is a huge emphasis on the relationship between client and therapist. Whereas the here and now is important for the analyst in terms of the past, for existentialists the here and now is more about the future.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) a form of psychotherapy that retrains a person’s way of thinking to help them to deal with stressful situations. Typically works with Beck’s ABC Model. Pure CBT can be manual based where thoughts and feelings are extensively recorded. It is popular in the NHS as it is viewed as an evidence based approach and is short term.
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), a cognitive behavioural therapy, was developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, at the University of Washington, and is a type of psychotherapy (sometimes called “talking therapy”) for borderline personality disorder (BPD).
- Mentalization-based Treatment (MBT) is a type of psychotherapy created to treat people with borderline personality disorder. Reflecting back group psychotherapy is a group process dynamic that supports practitioners.
- Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) is a form of CBT that is practiced in the NHS, whereby patients are initially required to produce a hierarchy of anxiety-inducing situations. They then confront the feared situations or objects without performing the compulsive ritual. The objective of this approach is to produce habituation, where anxiety reduces naturally after prolonged exposure to the stimulus.
- Person-centred Psychotherapy a method that encourages you to be as open as possible and to face, and come to terms with, difficult memories, feelings and fears. Carl Rogers said that “clients” needed an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood). Indeed, it is largely thanks to Rogers that clients are not called patients. A theme running through much of Rogerian thought is a positive view of human nature.
- Humanistic Therapy such as Gestalt therapy, involves exploring problems through both talking and action. For example, the ‘empty chair’ technique is a way of allowing you to try out talking to an imaginary person who is sitting opposite you. Has its roots in Gestalt Psychology (a psychology of perception), Existential philosophy, psychoanalysis and bodywork. Associated with Fritz Perls although in reality it was developed by a group of people including his wife Laura.
- Integrated Therapy An integrated therapy combines a number of different therapies into a single, integrated approach. For example, cognitive analytic psychotherapy (CAT) is an integrated therapy that uses methods from both CBT and psychoanalysis. For Cooper and McCleod (2010) therapy should be based on what the client needs, rather than getting them to comply with standardised treatments. Research on the therapeutic alliance indicates that the therapeutic alliance may be a better predictor of outcome than technique or approach.
- Systemic (or family) Therapy the clue is in the title. Family relationships and changes in family life, Child and adolescent mental health, Adult mental health, Parenting issues and Couple relationships.
- Group Therapy: What you project in group-work invariably has an external target. The target usually responds and reveals some degree of what they are accused of (projective identification) This leads to the projector being vindicated. However, in group-work, there is an opportunity to witness this process, to undertake reflection and take back the projection. Thus, learning to take responsibility for your projections and take them back is the essence of successful psychotherapy and of the experiential learning that occurs in groups.
What is transpersonal therapy?
In 1992, the Association for Transpersonal Psychology described transpersonal psychology as follows: Today, a more comprehensive view of human nature is developing. It recognizes our personal uniqueness, as well as a transpersonal dimension — something which is beyond our individual egos, and yet still a part of us. This perspective offers an expanded view of human capabilities, and combines a probing assessment of personality with an affirming vision of the full range of human psychological and spiritual development. Based on observations and practices from many cultures, the transpersonal perspective is informed by modern psychology, the humanities and human sciences, as well as contemporary spiritual disciplines and the wisdom traditions.
Counselling directory information on other therapies
CBT therapist training and Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in IAPT
A holistic and integrative approach to psychotherapy: a review of four approaches