Psychotherapists are mental health professionals who are trained to
listen to a person’s problems to try to find out what’s causing them and
help them find a solution.
As well as listening and discussing important issues with you, a
psychotherapist can suggest strategies for resolving problems and, if
necessary, help you change your attitudes and behaviour.
Some therapists teach specific skills to help you tolerate painful
emotions, manage relationships more effectively, or improve behaviour.
You may also be encouraged to develop your own solutions. In group
therapy, the members support each other with advice and encouragement.
A therapist will treat sessions as confidential. This means you can
trust them with information that may be personal or embarrassing.
Different Approaches of Psychotherapies
Psychologists generally draw on one or more theories of psychotherapy.
A theory of psychotherapy acts as a roadmap for psychologists: It
guides them through the process of understanding clients and their
problems and developing solutions.
Approaches to psychotherapy fall into five broad categories:
Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies. This approach focuses on
changing problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by discovering
their unconscious meanings and motivations. Psychoanalytically oriented
therapies are characterized by a close working partnership between
therapist and patient. Patients learn about themselves by exploring
their interactions in the therapeutic relationship. While psychoanalysis
is closely identified with Sigmund Freud, it has been extended and
modified since his early formulations.
Behavior therapy. This approach focuses on learning’s role in developing both normal and abnormal behaviors.
- Ivan Pavlovmade important contributions to behavior therapy by
discovering classical conditioning, or associative learning. Pavlov’s
famous dogs, for example, began drooling when they heard their dinner
bell, because they associated the sound with food.
- “Desensitizing” is classical conditioning in action: A therapist
might help a client with a phobia through repeated exposure to whatever
it is that causes anxiety.
- Another important thinker wasL. Thorndike, who discovered operant
conditioning. This type of learning relies on rewards and punishments to
shape people’s behavior.
- Several variations have developed since behavior therapy’s emergence
in the 1950s. One variation iscognitive-behavioral therapy, which
focuses on both thoughts and behaviors.
Cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy emphasizes what people think rather than what they do.
- Cognitive therapists believe that it’s dysfunctional thinking that
leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviors. By changing their
thoughts, people can change how they feel and what they do.
- Major figures in cognitive therapy include Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.
Humanistic therapy. This approach emphasizes
people’s capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum
potential. Concern and respect for others are also important themes.
- Humanistic philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Buber and Søren Kierkegaard influenced this type of therapy.
- Three types of humanistic therapy are especially
influential.Client-centered therapy rejects the idea of therapists as
authorities on their clients’ inner experiences. Instead, therapists
help clients change by emphasizing their concern, care and interest.
- Gestalt therapyemphasizes what it calls “organismic holism,” the
importance of being aware of the here and now and accepting
responsibility for yourself.
- Existential therapyfocuses on free will, self-determination and the search for meaning.
Integrative or holistic therapy. Many therapists
don’t tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements
from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each
Type of Psychotherapies
- Psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) psychotherapy – a
psychoanalytic therapist will encourage you to say whatever is going
through your mind. This will help you become aware of hidden meanings or
patterns in what you do or say that may be contributing to your
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – a form of
psychotherapy that examines how beliefs and thoughts are linked to
behaviour and feelings. It teaches skills that retrain your behaviour
and style of thinking to help you deal with stressful situations.
- Cognitive analytical therapy (CAT) – uses methods
from both psychodynamic psychotherapy and CBT to work out how your
behaviour causes problems, and how to improve it through self-help and
- Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) – looks at the
way an illness can be triggered by events involving relationships with
others, such as bereavements, disputes or relocation. It helps you cope
with the feelings involved, as well as work out coping strategies.
- Humanistic therapies – encourage you to think about yourself more positively and aim to improve your self-awareness.
- Family and couple (systemic) therapy – therapy with other members of your family that aims to help you work out problems together.
- Behavior Therapy- Child behavior and emotional problems and others childhood and teenage problems.
- Systematic Desensitization Therapy- Fear, Phobias, Unwanted Thoughts and Behavior (OCD), Examination Phobia.
- Psychoanalysis- Emotional and psychological problems.
- Family Therapy– Stress and conflict with family members, communication gap.
- Group Therapy– Crises Intervention, Family Intervention, Stress/Anger Management, Motivational, Yoga/Meditation.
- Relaxation Therapy– Anxiety, Fear, Depression, Stress, Anger, Insomnia.
- Hypnotherapy- Child Behavior and Emotional
Problems, Anxiety, Fear/Phobias, Exam Phobia, Depression, Stress, Anger,
Lack of Confidence, Sleep Disorders (Insomnia), Hypno-Anaesthesia,
Memory and Concentration, Bereavement, Past Life Regression.
- Catharsis Technique– Anxiety, Fear, Depression, Stress, Anger, Insomnia.
- Bio-feed Back– Anxiety, Fear, Depression, Stress, Anger, Insomnia.
- Aversion Therapy– Homosexual Ideas/Behavior, Excessive Sexual Thoughts
- Brain Polarizer- Anxiety, Fear, Depression, Stress, Anger, Insomnia.