There is a popular conception of therapy – that is the classic form of ‘talk therapy.’ It involves a psychologist with a pencil and a notepad, a couch, and a client. Some approaches still use this method, but there are quite a few different types of therapies that might be used – sometimes a combination of one or more – to assist clients when it comes to overcoming problems that can range from mental issues to addictions and more.
Some types of therapy are inpatient, some are given through an intensive outpatient program, and some are just casual outpatient programs. In each case, the goal is to give the client or patient an environment that is not judgmental and will allow both the provider of the therapy and the client to work in tandem to reach a set of goals they have agreed upon.
Here is a quick look at a couple of types of therapy.
This is one of the treatment modalities that is the most well-known. However, it also tends to be understood by patients. It was founded by the famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and consists of therapists listening to their patients talk about events in their lives, which is why this is often called ‘talk therapy.’ The therapist will look for things like significant events or patterns that might play a role in the difficulties the client is having. Therapists subscribe to a school of thought that things like childhood events, as well as unconscious motivations, thoughts, and feelings, play a role in maladaptive behaviors and mental illness.
This type of therapy is much criticized by people who claim that it takes too long, is expensive, and typically ineffective, but it does offer its benefits. The therapist offers the client a nonjudgmental and empathetic environment where the client will feel safe when it comes to revealing actions and/or feelings that led to tension or stress, that might then lead to worse things, like violence or an addiction.
A cognitive behavioral therapist focuses on specific issues. They believe that faulty perceptions or irrational thinking lead to dysfunction. A therapist might work with clients to change their patterns of thought. This is a type of therapy that has had good results for those suffering from anxiety or depression.
Behavioral therapists will work to alter problematic behaviors that may have been trained through many years of being reinforced. A good example of this would be a therapist who works with a patient to overcome a fear of heights. The person giving the therapy might encourage their patient to face that fear gradually through experiences. First, the patient might imagine that they are riding an escalator or standing on the roof of a building. Next, that patient might expose themselves slowly to more and more intense levels of their fears until that specific phobia either disappears totally or diminishes.
Behavioral and cognitive approaches can be effective in treating specific issues. Often, both behavioral and cognitive approaches will be used to treat a disorder. The therapist who treats the client with, say, social anxiety, might assist the client when it comes to forming thinking patterns that are more accurate and by focusing on individual behaviors, like social avoidance.
These are just two types of therapies, with how they work and how they help. There are many different types of therapy, from mental to physical, and all have their benefits. If you are in need of help with a problem, don’t hesitate to seek the therapy you need.