What type of psychotherapy is right for you?

Carmen BryceBlog posts

Through psychotherapy, people of all ages can live happier, healthier and more productive lives.

Psychotherapy can help you develop healthier, more effective habits.

What is psychotherapy?

Grounded in dialogue, psychotherapy provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. You and your therapist will work together to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.

When should you consider psychotherapy?

Any time your quality of life isn’t what you want it to be, psychotherapy can can a big help.

Some people seek psychotherapy because they have felt depressed, anxious or angry. Others may want help for a chronic illness that is interfering with their mental wellbeing. Others may have short-term problems they need help navigating. They may be going through a divorce, a bereavement, exam stress or feeling overwhelmed by a recent, big change.

Signs that you could benefit from therapy include:

  • You feel a prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
  • Your problems don’t seem to get better despite your efforts and help from family and friends.
  • You worry excessively, expect the worst or are constantly on edge.
  • Your actions, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs or being aggressive, are harming yourself or others.
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What are the different kinds of psychotherapy?

There are many different approaches to psychotherapy and your therapist will generally draw on one or more of these.

The kind of treatment you receive will depend on a variety of factors but most importantly, it’s down to what works best for you and your situation.

Psychotherapists who use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for example, have a practical approach to treatment. Your therapist might ask you to tackle certain tasks designed to help you develop more effective coping skills. . Your psychologist might ask you to gather more information, such as logging your reactions to a particular situation as they occur. Or your therapist might want you to practice new skills between sessions, such as asking someone with an elevator phobia to practice pushing elevator buttons. You might also have reading assignments so you can learn more about a particular topic.

In contrast, psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches typically focus more on talking than doing. You might spend your sessions discussing your early experiences to help you and your psychologist better understand the root causes of your current problems.

Your therapist may combine elements from several styles of psychotherapy. In fact, most therapists don’t tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each client’s needs.

The following examples briefly outline some of the most commonly used therapies in counselling, and approaches that are practiced at MyMind.

Integrative: Integrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that combines different therapeutic tools and approaches to fit the needs of the individual client. With an understanding of normal human development, an integrative therapist modifies standard treatments to fill in development gaps that affect each client in different ways.

Behavioural therapy: The principle idea behind behavioural therapy is that our behaviour is learnt and can essentially be ‘unlearnt’. This leads behavioural therapy to focus more on the present as opposed to looking back to the past. This type of therapy is therefore best used with those looking to change their behaviour – for example sufferers of addiction or those with a phobia.

Cognitive therapy: The way we think often leads to changes in our behaviour, and cognitive therapy looks to reconcile issues where they begin – in our thoughts. The therapy looks to address any skewed ways of thinking that may be occurring, and eventually aims to replace them with healthier, more positive thought patterns.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT looks to combine both cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy in order to tackle the thought process and the resulting behaviour. Focusing on the present, CBT is a practical therapy that aims to break down problems into smaller, more manageable issues. This therapy is especially useful for those with more specific problems as it addresses each emotion separately.

Humanistic therapies: The humanistic approach explores factors such as free will, creativity and human potential. The therapy type encourages self exploration, with many varieties focusing on the ‘here and now’. Therapies that fall under this umbrella include Human Givens therapy, person-centred therapy and Gestalt therapy.

Psychoanalysis: One of the oldest therapies used in psychology, it was Freud who founded the psychoanalytic technique. The therapy takes a different approach to behavioural and cognitive therapies as it perceives our thoughts to be out of our conscious control. Instead, psychoanalysis believes any psychological issues stem from childhood and need to be addressed in order to be resolved.

Psychodynamic: The primary focus of which is to reveal the unconscious content of a client’s psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. In this way, it is similar to psychoanalysis.

Art therapy: Taking an alternative approach to counselling, art therapy encourages clients to use artistic methods to communicate their issues as well as words. This may be in the form of a painting, a sculpture or even a simple drawing. The aim of art therapy is to examine the resulting pieces of art and to interpret their meaning.

To hear more about the various approaches at MyMind and to talk to a member of our team about the best fit for you, please get in touch at hq@mymind.org or call 076 680 1060.

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