Before you dive into therapy and what it can do for you, let’s explore some of your options.
Every therapist employs unique approaches to help their clients get the most out of each session. To find the right therapist, you’ll first need to consider which approach you’re most comfortable with.
What exactly is therapy?
Great question! In short, therapy involves meeting with a therapist or counselor to work on resolving and understanding various problems that may be troubling you. These can include behavior, beliefs, feelings, interpersonal relationships, and even issues you may have with your body or self-esteem.
Therapy provides you with the opportunity to chat with a therapist or counselor frequently – usually once a week. Your therapist or counselor will use their knowledge of psychology and your personal circumstances to help you grow into a happier, healthier version of yourself.
You might meet with a therapist privately, in a small group, or even virtually. The point is, you have lots of options.
What are the different therapeutic approaches?
We’ve made it simple for you to wade through different approaches to therapy with easy-to-understand categories, but this isn’t by any means an exhaustive list – there are so many therapeutic techniques to choose from!
If you don’t find yourself vibing with the approaches mentioned below, you can explore Psychology Today’s Types of Therapy page to see what sticks. Happy reading!
Action-focused approaches, such as action-oriented and solution-based approaches, involve your goals and how you’d like to approach them.
These approaches are based on the idea that practical solutions are key on the path to better mental health. Likewise, they focus on your personal skills and abilities where coping is concerned.
This is different from the conventional “therapy stereotype,” where you’d focus on the problems you’re facing. Action-oriented and solution-based therapists will help guide you to realistic solutions to these problems.
Expressive approaches involve the use of creative mediums to help you work through and cope with the issues you’re facing.
These approaches can involve combinations of art, movement, dance, drama, and storytelling. Each encourages you to connect your mind with your body, all in an effort to discover new ways of healing.
You don’t have to be a fine arts major to participate in expressive therapy! It’s never about how “good” or skilled you are at the creative medium you’re working with. Rather, it’s about how you can use this medium to process emotions in a constructive way.
Empowering approaches, such as person-centered approaches and strength-based approaches, allow you to step into your own power as an individual.
These approaches permit you to lead in conversations and identify your personal strengths. You’re therefore able to develop your own solutions to your troubles, of course with the guidance of your therapist or counselor.
Empowering approaches are especially beneficial if you’re in need of a confidence boost! They definitely have the potential to help you become more self-assured and well-rounded.
Affirmative approaches, such as multicultural approaches, culturally sensitive approaches, and feminist approaches can help you feel more secure in your intersectional identities.
Multicultural approaches can help to specifically address issues such as oppression, marginalization, and racism. Culturally sensitive approaches accommodate cultural differences and involve the cultural competence of the therapist. Feminist approaches address mental health issues that arise from gender and the challenges it can pose.
Cognitive approaches hone in on current thought patterns, behaviors, and communication patterns and seeks to make them healthier. There are various sides to cognitive therapy. Below are some of the more ones, but not all!
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on the connection between how you think and how you act.
Through identifying harmful thoughts and feelings, you’re then given the chance to learn skills that can help you change them.
Dialectical-behavior therapy (DBT) is a cognitive approach that offers skills in four areas – mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
DBT allows you to confront and regulate your emotions comprehensively. It can be done with a therapist one-on-one or in a group setting. Clients learn to explore “greys,” steering away from black-and-white thinking. They learn that two opposing viewpoints can be held at once and that it never has to be one or the other.
The mindfulness-based approach utilizes techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises to support you on your journey.
When we’re mindful, we surrender to the present moment and view our thoughts objectively – this approach is especially helpful in that way.
We know navigating therapy can feel overwhelming (we’ve been there ourselves!). Keep an eye on our blog, Leda’s News Feed, for helpful guidance and tips along your journey.