Types of Therapy
A comprehensive list of different types of therapy and psychotherapy treatment approaches are used by mental health professionals including Psychologists, Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurses as well as other professionals who have chosen a career in a psychological field. These different types of therapy are used to treat depression, anxiety, trauma, stress, and other psychological and mental disorders, learning disabilities, and behavioral health issues. Different approaches to counseling practices are sometimes combined to best meet the needs of the client and licensed professionals generally have certification in multiple therapies.
- ABA Therapy
- ACT Therapy
- Adlerian Therapy
- AEDP Therapy
- Analytical Psychology
- Anger Management Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Autogenic Therapy
- Behavior Modification
- Behavior Therapy
- Biofeedback Therapy
- Brain Stimulation Therapy
- Brainspotting Therapy
- Coaching Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
- Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
- Culturally Sensitive Therapy
- DBT Therapy
- Dream Analysis
- Eclectic Therapy
- EFT Therapy
- EMDR Therapy
- Emotional Freedom Technique
- ERP Therapy
- Existential Therapy
- Exposure Therapy
- Expressive Arts Therapy
- Feminist Therapy
- Forensic Therapy
- Gestalt Therapy
- Gottman Method
- Group Therapy
- Holotropic Breathwork
- Human Givens Therapy
- Humanistic Therapy
- IFS Therapy
- Imago Relationship Therapy
- Integrative Therapy
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
- Jungian Therapy
- Marriage and Family Therapy
- MBCT Therapy
- Milieu Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Multicultural Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Narrative Therapy
- Neurofeedback Therapy
- Nonviolent Communication
- PCIT Therapy
- Play Therapy
- Positive Psychology
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy
- Psychoanalytic Therapy
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- PTSD Therapy
- Reality Therapy
- REBT Therapy
- Relational Therapy
- Sandplay Therapy
- SFBT Therapy
- Somatic Therapy
- Structural Family Therapy
- Systematic Desensitization
- Therapeutic Intervention
- Transpersonal Therapy
- Yoga Therapy
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy uses methods and procedures from the applied science of behavior analysis to generate visible behavior changes in an individual. The science of applied behavior analysis focuses on the relationship of behavior and environment. The science of applied behavior analysis began in the late 1950s. Research and development in the behavior analysis area of psychology throughout the years has helped create therapies for people of all ages in many different areas of life. Although ABA therapy is most notably recognized in helping children and adults with autism, other areas of application include pediatric feeding disorders, health/fitness, brain injury rehabilitation, psychotherapy, phobias, and zoo animal care, to name just a few.
The US Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association both consider ABA therapy as the best evidence-based practice treatment (scientifically proven effective). (Applied Behavior Analysis, AutismSpeaks.org) The ABA treatment therapy typically uses the founding applied behavior analysis concepts of antecedents, behaviors, and consequences to help the individual to gradually learn how to change behavior. A board certified trained analyst (BCBA) or an ABA therapist works with individuals, their families, and their doctors to create a treatment plan. They also continue communication with families and doctors throughout the treatment as they execute ongoing assessments to record progress/revise therapy techniques.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT Therapy) is a type of psychotherapy that uses both covert conditioning and behavior therapy to increase the client’s psychological flexibility. It is considered a branch of clinical behavior analysis. It uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, along with commitment and behavior-change strategies to bring about this growth in psychological flexibility. American clinical psychologist, Steven C. Hayes, developed acceptance and commitment therapy in 1982. Evidence and research for the effectiveness of this therapy is limited, but ongoing meta-analyses and mediational studies are being conducted.
The basics of act therapy include having the client open up to unpleasant feelings, learn not to overreact to them, and also learn not to avoid certain situations where these feelings are aroused. The acronyms used to help summarize the concepts of act therapy are FEAR (client’s problems) and ACT (healthy alternative solutions). FEAR is Fusion with your thoughts; Evaluation of experience; Avoidance of your experience; and Reason-giving for your behavior. ACT is Accept your reactions and be present; Choose a valued direction; and Take action. The core principles of acceptance and commitment therapy are cognitive defusion; acceptance; contact with the present moment; the observing self; values; and committed action.
Adlerian Therapy can also be referred to as individual psychology and was developed by Austrian psychiatrist, Alfred Adler, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. “Individual psychology” (German-individual/phychologie) is a title that’s focus is not solely on the individual, but is used to mean that the patient is an indivisible whole. Dr. Adler taught that one must take into account the patient’s whole environment, including people and relationships. According to the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology, “Adler was one of the first persons to provide family counseling, group counseling, and public education to teach psychological concepts to the general public as a way of improving the human condition.” Classical Adlerian therapy can be done with an individual, a couple, or a group. Mental health professionals with education and training normally administer this type of therapy. The main goal of Adlerian therapy is to establish a healthy relationship between the patient and community. This is done to challenge the patient’s unhealthy and unrealistic thoughts of the world, and to replace self-defeating behaviors with positive ones, ultimately leading to a healthy lifestyle.
The classical approach to Adlerian therapy has 6 phases; however, the therapy is offered by the therapist with the sense that each patient has unique goals to accomplish within different timeframes. Phase 1 focuses on establishing a trusted relationship and gathering information from the patient. Phase 2 focuses on clarification of ideas and encouragement for alternative ways of thinking. Phase 3 fosters insight as the patient learns to interpret feelings and goals. Phase 4 inspires change through emotional breakthrough, breaking old patterns, changing attitudes, and positive reinforcement. Phase 5 challenges the patient to give 100% in relationships and take risks. Phase 6 is a reflection phase for patients who have gone through Adlerian therapy and have reoriented their lives to better meet their goals in life. Adlerian therapy can be used to treat any type of psychological disorder or illness. It can also be used in conjunction with other psychotherapies.
Accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP) is a type of short-term psychotherapy that uses disciplines from interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, emotion theory and affective neuroscience, body-focused approaches, and transformational studies. AEDP was originally developed to help children who suffer from the effects of childhood attachment trauma and abuse, but has expanded to help treat people with complex PTSD, adult attachment disturbances, eating disorders, couples problems, and dissociative disorders. AEDP therapy is historically recent and was developed by Romanian-American psychologist, Dr. Diana Fosha, in 2000.
The AEDP Institute summarizes treatment therapy in their mission statement: “There is no better way to capture the ethos of AEDP than to say this: we try to help our patients—and ourselves—become stronger at the broken places. By working with trauma, loss, and the painful consequences of the limitations of human relatedness, we discover places that have always been strong, places that were never broken.” The two central premises of AEDP are that (1) disorders of emotion and relationship are rooted in traumatic emotional states that were not relieved by a caregiver and (2) that humans are biologically wired to positively respond to healing interventions that bring about psychological resilience. A therapeutic relationship is one of the key factors in AEDP therapy as the interventions used within the client-therapist relationship help identify and encourage transformance strivings and bring about healing. Mental health professionals and registered nurses can become certified in AEDP therapy through the AEDP Institute. (AEDP Training & Certification, AEDP Institute)
Analytical psychology, or sometimes referred to as analytic psychology or Jungian analysis, is a form of psychology created in the early 1900s by Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung. According to Psychology Wiki, analytical psychology’s aim is “the apprehension and integration of the deep forces and motivations underlying human behaviour by the practice of an accumulative phenomenology around the significance of dreams, folklore and mythology.” The history of analytical psychology has an intimate relationship with the life and works of Carl Jung. The Collected Works of C.G. Jung is a bibliography of published volumes, essays, lectures, letters, and a dissertation written by Jung from 1902 until his death in 1961. Dr. Jung was captivated by what he experienced in his early years of psychiatry while working with Sigmund Freud in a Swiss hospital with schizophrenic patients. He dedicated his life to the study of the unconscious and its relationship with individual behavior.
Classical analytical psychology collectively explores the unconscious, the collective unconscious, Jungian archetypes, self-realization and neuroticism, the shadow, anima and animus, and psychoanalysis. Analytical psychology distinguishes the extravert and introvert psychological types. The term “complex” was also created by Dr. Jung in his discovery and explanation of how our psychological lives are patterned on common human experiences. There have been criticisms of analytical psychology, but approaches (classical and “post-Jungian”) are still used today by psychologists and other mental health professionals. The post-Jungian traditions include classical, developmental, and archetypal.
Anger Management Therapy
Anger management therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach to preventing and controlling anger. Mental health professionals who treat people who struggle with anger include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors. Occupational therapists, physicians, teachers, and law enforcement professionals typically have some training in anger management. Anger management interventions based on classical psychology originated in the 1970s. Much of the research and advancements in modern anger management therapy was accomplished by psychologist Dr. Ramond W. Novaco in the 1980s and 1990s. His research was inspired by the interventions that Dr. Donald Meichenbaum developed in the area of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The Novaco Anger Scale was created by Dr. Navaco in 1990, and it is a two-part test designed to assess anger as a problem of psychological functioning and physical health and to assess therapeutic change. The goal of anger management treatment is to help the patient control and regulate anger so that it does not result in problematic behavior.
There are many causes for the development of anger problems. Drug addiction, alcoholism, mental disabilities, biochemical changes, PTSD, migraines, stress, abuse, poor social or familial situations, poverty, and trauma (in particular sexual trauma) are all examples of factors that could induce anger associated problems. A few examples of anger management therapy treatment approaches supported by empirical studies include the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), anger journaling, relaxation therapy, and rational emotive behavior therapy. Medication is only used as a secondary line of approach. The main benefit of anger management therapy is successful reduction in anger and violent outbursts, which affects previously strained personal and professional relationships. Positive emotional and behavioral changes have also been proven to reduce physical illnesses for better overall health and well being.
Art therapy is a method of treatment pairing psychology and art together to assist individuals or groups in the process of healing for mental, physical or emotional illnesses/disorders. Art therapy has historic origins all the way back to the 18th century, but wasn’t named until 1942. The practice of art therapy is considered to be a mental health and human service that is applied by a professional with a minimum of a masters degree and a state licensure. Art therapy is used for treatment for people of any age and for a wide variety of problems including general illnesses, cancer diagnosis, disaster relief, dementia, autism, schizophrenia, depression, trauma in children, PTSD, and eating disorders.
An art therapy session can be done in a group or individually, and the environment varies based on what is best for the client. A therapeutic relationship is important in the application of art therapy, and many clients meet regularly with art therapists for long-term treatment. There have been inaccurate uses of the term “art therapy” in the media, in workshops, and in consumer products like adult coloring books. (About Art Therapy, American Therapy Association) It is important to note that true art therapy is done by professionals with educational credentials and experience in both psychology and art.
Autogenic therapy, or autogenic training, is a desensitization-relaxation technique that uses a series of visualisations and self-suggestions to focus the mind’s attention to bodily perceptions, such as warmth and heaviness, in order to help the client relax both mentally and physically. Autogenic therapy has been used to effectively treat conditions such as panic attacks/anxiety, phobias, migraines/headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, asthma, irritable bowel/colitis, pain, fatigue, stress, unresolved grief, and sleep disturbances. Basic elements of autogenic imagery are frequently integrated into biofeedback therapy. Autogenic training is considered a self-hypnotic technique, and emphasizes the giving of control from the therapist to the client. During short-term autogenic therapy, the client learns the techniques and is able to use them for future self-treatment.
German psychiatrist and independent psychotherapist, Johannes Heinrich Schultz, developed autogenic therapy in the early 1930s. Schultz was studying self-reports of people who were immersed in a hypnotic state when he noticed physiological changes were accompanied by certain feelings. He was inspired by the work of German physician and neurologist, Oscar Vogt, in the field of sleep and hypnosis. Schultz’ autogenic training is based on three principles of reduction of stimulation, mental repetition of verbal formulae, and passive concentration. Simple sitting, reclined armchair sitting, and horizontal posture can all be used for autogenic therapy. There are six standard exercises used in autogenic training that emphasize muscular relaxation and passive concentration by repetition of verbal formulae that focus on the feelings of heaviness and warmth/coolness. There are multiple schools/organizations that offer online autogenic therapy training and/or certification including the International Certification Board of Clinical Hypnotherapists (ICBCH).
Behavior modification is a technique used by trained mental health care professionals such as psychologists, psychotherapists, and counselors. It can also be used by parents, caretakers and members of organizational management. The main goal of behavior modification can be found in the meaning of the title itself. It simply means change of behavior in some way, whether positive (increasing desired behavior) or negative (decreasing undesired behavior). The term “behavior modification” was first documented in 1911 by American psychologist, Edward Thorndike.
The foundational structure of behavior modification relies upon reinforcement, punishment, extinction, shaping, fading and chaining. The basic description of the method is that the individual’s environment is altered to increase the chances that a desired behavior will occur. Consequential rewards or punishments are administered to help reinforce behavior change. Although simple in nature, the complexity of behavior modification is vast. Factors that may alter success include behavior plan mismanagement over time, ineffective reinforcers, lack of consistency, and absence of relationship trust. Behavior modification success has been proven in ADHD treatment, correctional transition programs, addiction programs, parent management training programs, and organizational management training programs (ex. Organizational Behavior Modification Model).
Behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy using techniques developed from behaviorism to treat patients with problematic behaviors, with the ultimate goal of successful change or behavior modification. It is a broad term that encompasses many different types of treatment. Behavior therapy has been proven effective in treating couples relationships (intimacy and forgiveness), chronic pain, anorexia, chronic distress, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, obesity, phobias, and insomnia. Behavior therapy development had its beginnings in the early 1900s, but wasn’t termed “behavior therapy” until the early 1950s. South African psychiatrist, Joseph Wolpe and German psychologist, Hans Eysenck were the early innovators of behavior therapy.
Mental health care professionals who practice behavior therapy are normally behaviour analysts or cognitive-behavioural therapists. They use a wide range of behavior therapy techniques to analyze, diagnose, and treat patient psychological problems. Scientific-base derived approaches for behavior therapy treatment include: systematic desensitization, relaxation therapy, observational learning, reciprocal inhibition therapy, implosive therapy, flooding, counterconditioning, behavior modification, behavior contracting, aversion therapy, and exposure and response prevention.
Bibliotherapy is a form of creative arts therapy that uses literature for reading or storytelling (sometimes combined with writing), and can be used by a professional mental health provider to help clients in the healing process of mental health disorders or issues they may currently be facing. Most bibliotherapy is practiced by using effective psychological treatment techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and visual-based materials. “The house of healing for the soul” is the oldest known written motto that embodies the concept of bibliotherapy, and was written above the library of King Ramses II sometime in the 13th century BC. Throughout history, books have been read and/or listened to for aiding people in healing processes. The actual term “bibliotherapy” was coined by American Unitarian minister, Samuel McChord Crothers, in 1916.
Although bibliotherapy is widely used, it’s effectiveness has been under researched. Numerous randomized control trials (RCTs) in the 1980s and 1990s, however, have documented the positive effects of using bibliotherapy. A few of the clinical conditions that were documented as having positive treatment effects include deliberate self-harm, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, and insomnia. Other psychological conditions documented that were positively affected were depression, emotional disorders, alcohol addiction, and sexual dysfunction. Bibliotherapy is often effectively used by teachers in the school/classroom setting by helping students come to an understanding on how to solve an issue they are facing indirectly or directly, whether individually or in a group. The students do this by identifying themselves with characters, sharing the same feelings and thoughts as the characters, and gaining insight from how the character(s) found a solution to a problem.
The goal of biofeedback therapy is to gradually condition one’s involuntary body systems to become voluntary, initially through the use of electronic instruments that communicate helpful physiological information to the therapist and patient. Eventually, the instruments are not needed and one can self-regulate specific body systems to bring about desired changes. There are also biofeedback methods that do not require electronic instruments. The historic early beginnings of biofeedback began in 1865 when physiologist Claude Bernard proposed that the body strives to maintain a steady state in the internal environment. There were many other people with a wide range of skills throughout history who contributed to the advancement of biofeedback therapy. These people include physiologist J.R. Tarchanoff, scientist Alexander Graham Bell, psychologist J. H. Bair, mathematician Norbert Wiener, psychologist B.F. Skinner, psychologist George Mandler, psychologist Maia Lisina, and psychologist H.D. Kimmel. (Biofeedback, Wikipedia)
Biofeedback therapy is used to improve both physiological and psychological health. It has been proven to be most effective for the health problems of incontinence (urine and fecal) and headaches/migraines. Other health conditions that biofeedback therapy has been used to help treat include ADHD, age-related macular degeneration, anxiety, asthma, autism, bed wetting, chronic pain, diabetes, eating disorders, epilepsy, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), muscle spasms, and muscle pain. (Biofeedback, GoodTherapy) Some certified biofeedback medical professionals may include psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, nurses and dentists.
Brain Stimulation Therapy
Brain stimulation therapy uses electricity to activate or inhibit brain activity and is used when psychotherapy and medication do not work in treating mental disorders such as severe depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and OCD. Brain stimulation therapy is typically done in a hospital by a psychiatrist. Psychologists may refer patients with severe cases of mental health disorders to a psychiatrist who can then administer brain stimulation therapy. The five types of brain stimulation therapy are electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), magnetic seizure therapy (MST), and deep brain stimulation (DBS). (Brain Stimulation Therapies, NIH) Depending on the therapy, electricity can be given directly by electrodes implanted in the brain, electrodes placed on the scalp, or magnetic fields applied to the head. The very basic explanation is that the electricity treatments bring about both chemical and functional changes in the brain.
The early history of brain stimulation therapy dates back to the 1800s when batteries, friction, or static were used to power machines to produce transcranial electrical stimulation for feelings of euphoria or improved mental performance. These were available to the public and were used by doctors and patients. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, advancements were made in using brain stimulation to help people with mental health illnesses, but also people with diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and Tourette’s syndrome. Technology has also aided in the research and growth of brain stimulation therapy. ECT can now be administered at home (under the guidance and approval of a licensed psychiatrist) using a headset with two electrodes delivering low-energy electrical currents, along with a smartphone app. (History of brain stimulation in treating mental health problems, 2020) Most brain stimulation therapies are fairly new and are being studied for both safety and effectiveness.
Brainspotting therapy is a physiological treatment that works within the deep brain and the body (through the central nervous system) to neurobiologically locate, focus, process and release experiences and symptoms that are beyond the conscious mind to bring about psychological, emotional and physical healing. Brainspotting was developed by licensed clinical social worker and humanitarian, Dr. David Grand, in 2003. While using EMDR with a client, Dr. Grand discovered that the locking of the client’s eyes in a specific position was beneficial. This discovery led to the beginning development of brainspotting therapy. (What is Brainspotting? 2021)
A trained brainspotting therapist meets with a client to talk about and pinpoint where trauma or emotional issues are felt on the body. Using a pointer, the therapist searches through the client’s field of vision while asking for when the pain intensifies. When the pain intensifies, the client focuses the eyes on that one spot in the field of vision while the brain processes the trauma. (What is Brainspotting? 2021) Biolateral sound may also be used during the brainspotting therapy treatment session. Diagnosis and treatment are done simultaneously and in as few as 2 treatment sessions. Brainspotting Training offers certification programs for mental health professionals who are interested in offering brainspotting to their clients. Brainspotting is used to treat mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral conditions.
The definition of coaching in the context of psychology is defined by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching psychology is a field of applied psychology that applies psychological theories and concepts to the practice of coaching. Coaching therapists are similar to mentors with their approach to therapy. Most coaching is short-term and consists of straightforward, supportive, solution-based counseling. The goal of coaching used in therapy is to provide support to enhance the client’s skills, resources and creativity.
The history of coaching therapy can be dated back to the early 1920s when applications of psychological theory and practice were applied to athletic coaching. Throughout history, and in particular, the early 21st century, coaching psychology began to be applied to professionals and individuals. Humanistic psychology, positive psychology, psychological theories of learning, Gestalt psychology, social psychology, cultural psychology and psychopathology have all had modern influence on coaching psychology and coaching therapy. Licensed mental health professionals are able to use coaching methods in psychotherapy; however some life coaches or other “coaches” are not able to call themselves licensed therapists. The difference between a professional therapist and a coach is that coaching has a narrower focus (short-term, goal oriented) than counseling, and is normally done with people who are highly functioning, but not yet achieving their full potential personally or professionally. Licensed mental health therapists are able to diagnose and treat people who are in a state of dysfunction to one of being functional. (Counseling vs. life coaching, CounselingToday) “Coaching” can be used in any area of life, and unlicensed “coaches” can use the unregulated title. Licensed mental health professionals who use coaching in their therapy have received education in psychology, obtained clinical experience in counseling, and have completed state licensure requirements to practice psychology. The IFC and the American Counseling Association offers coaching education and training/certification for coaches with various educational backgrounds and licensed mental health professionals.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a collaborative type of psychotherapy (talk therapy) between a counselor, psychologist or therapist and an individual that centers on using strategies to help that individual learn to identify and change their negative emotions, behaviors and thought patterns and improve mental health. CBT is used to help reduce problematic or unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, emotions, attitudes or behaviors and can also help to better manage stressful life situations. Additionally, CBT can help treat a number of conditions including anxiety, depression, addictions, anger issues, eating disorders, phobies, sleep problems, obsessive compulsive disorder, marital problems, and more. (What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?, APA)
There are a wide variety of strategies and techniques used in CBT. Recording thoughts on paper or journaling is a way professionals help clients to organize thoughts and feelings. This has been proven to be a helpful method to evaluate the pros and cons of a particular way of thinking. Trying out different ways of thinking (behavioral experiments) has been used to gain awareness for clients about how specific thought patterns can be holding them back from progress. Role playing is a method used to help clients discover their automatic responses to thoughts and to practice new responses. Another CBT strategy includes encouraging clients to schedule pleasant activities into their lives and discussing the importance of these activities on reducing negative thinking and promoting positive emotions. Relaxation and mindfulness techniques like meditation and deep breathing are also used to help the client respond in a new and different way to distressing situations.
Cognitive Processing Therapy
Cognitive processing therapy, or CPT, was developed in the late 1980s by American posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) researcher Patricia Resick. This therapy is used by licensed psychotherapists to help treat people suffering from PTSD, people who have been sexually assaulted, combat victims and refugees. Cognitive processing therapy includes elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The treatment plan normally includes 12 sessions. The therapist using cognitive processing therapy helps the client extrapolate and re envision the traumatic event(s) that cause ongoing negative emotions, with the ultimate treatment goal of decreasing avoidance of the trauma and reducing the adverse side effects of the past trauma in the client’s present life.
CPT therapy can be used in individual or group settings. The four essential parts of the therapy include: education about PTSD and treatment, informing the patient about their thoughts and feelings, developing patients skills in challenging or questioning their own thoughts, and helping the patient recognize the change in beliefs they had after the traumatic event. In individual settings, CPT therapy is normally given in twelve, 50-minute sessions and is done once or twice a week. Patients complete out-of-session assignments. The formatting of the therapy may or may not contain a written account of the trauma, along with the practice of cognitive techniques. In group settings, CPT therapy is normally twelve, 90-120 minute sessions conducted by two therapists with 8-10 patients per group and out-of-session assignments given to all individuals to complete. The formatting of the therapy may or may not include a written account of each individual’s trauma event (the account is not shared verbally in the group, but emotions and cognitive reactions may be shared while writing the accounts within the group), along with the practice of cognitive techniques. Another group format is individual and group combined with practice assignments and the written trauma account that are processed in additional individual sessions.
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
Cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) is a type of group psychotherapy for people with mild to moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Individual cognitive stimulation therapy (iCST) uses one-on-one psychotherapeutic interventions derived from evidence-based group interventions of CST. Both mental health professionals and medical health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, counselors, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, registered nurses, or anyone experienced in helping people with dementia or Alzheimers can recieve training to offer CST. Themed activities designed by the CST model are used to stimulate people with dementia or Alzheimers for continued learning and social engagement. When used individually, learning and social engagement is also the goal, along with relationship building between the individual and the therapist/facilitator. CST can be used in adult daycare facilities, nursing homes, assisted living homes, hospitals, or by caregivers in residential homes. Sessions are normally twice a week for a minimum of 7 weeks.
Cognitive stimulation therapy was developed by British psychologist, Dr. Aimee Spector, in the late 1990s. Dr. Spector’s research program began in 1998 with the goal of finding an effective, non-pharmacological therapy for people with mild to moderate dementia. Three large clinical trials and several smaller studies have been conducted on CST and iCST for effectiveness and improved quality of life for people with dementia. The studies have shown that significant improvements were made in quality of life, social interaction, and cognition. Training for cognitive stimulation therapy and individual cognitive stimulation therapy in the United States is available through St. Louis University’s Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Training Institute (CSTTI). The CSTTI offers training in collaboration with the original developers at University College London with Dr. Spector as the program director.
Culturally Sensitive Therapy
Culturally sensitive therapy is an approach used in psychotherapy by therapists who have education and experience in cultural competence. A culturally competent therapist recognizes his/her own culture and how it influences relationships with clients while understanding how to respond to the client’s culture that is different from his/her own. Accommodation and respect for differences in opinions, values and attitudes of various cultures and types of people is a big part of culturally sensitive therapy. (Culturally Sensitive Therapy, PsychologyToday) Cross-cultural counseling and multicultural counseling are similar to culturally sensitive therapy. Culturally sensitive practice can be used with any type of psychotherapy (alone or used in combination with other therapies). Culturally sensitive therapy takes into consideration factors such as age, developmental disabilities, disabilities that develop later in life, indigenous heritage, national origin, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.
The history of culturally sensitive therapy has been influenced by many renowned mental health professionals throughout the history of psychology itself, but the APA’s guidelines were written by committees from the APA Division 17 of Counseling Psychology and Division 45 of the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race. Culturally sensitive therapy can be helpful for people who identify with a culture or subculture different from “mainstream” (general) culture, people who find cultural transitions such as migrating or relocating difficult, or people who like to use personal cultural resources to express values, feelings or personal history. There are many colleges/universities and organizations that offer classes or continuing education for the use of cultural sensitivity in psychotherapy, and most culturally sensitive therapists seek to maintain cultural competence throughout their entire career by attending these types of classes/training sessions.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a modified cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that was created in the 1980s by psychologist, Dr. Marsha M. Linehan. Linehan’s original target group for this form of psychotherapy was people with borderline personality disorder and individuals with chronic suicidal tendencies. Due to the effectiveness of the therapy, practitioners now use it for people with depression, eating disorders, substance abuse problems, chemical dependency, PTSD, mood disorders, tramatic brain injuries, and sexual abuse trauma. Dr. Linehan expressed the importance of a therapeutic alliance between the DBT practitioner and the client. There are four main contact groups involved in the therapy. These include the individual, a group for the individual to meet with weekly, a therapist consultation team, and phone coaching done with the individual briefly for incorporation of daily life skills.
The DBT treatment plan encompasses four main modules that aid the individual in attaining life skills for encouraging and maintaining positive change. These four modules include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. (Dialectical Behavior Therapy, PsychologyToday) The individual normally meets regularly with the therapist and weekly with a group to learn and practice the therapy skills needed for growth and change. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is administered by a psychiatrist or therapist who is trained specifically in DBT.
Dream Analysis, also termed as dream interpretation or psychoanalytic dream interpretation, is sometimes used in therapy to help psychologists/therapists to better understand a patient. It is the study and explanation of how unconscious thoughts and emotions are processed when sleeping. Dream interpretation has been used throughout the centuries (evidence as early as 3100 BC) in different ways because of factors such as culture and religion. Psychologist Sigmund Freud was an early contributor to more modern dream interpretation in the late 19th century, and his theory was published in his book “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Some psychotherapists still presently use his theory in therapy treatments. Other psychologists such as Carl Jung, Calvin Hall, and Ann Faraday also composed dream analysis theories.
Dream analysis is mainly used as a part of therapy in client-centered therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodrama, Gestalt therapy, and group or family therapy. (Dreamwork, GoodTherapy) Most contemporary analysts use the information from dreams to better understand the patient’s unconscious, which can reveal pieces of knowledge for insight into the patient’s overall personality structure. The use of dream interpretation/analysis isn’t as prevalent in psychotherapy as it has been in the past, mainly because there are current psychologists who argue that the interpretation theories aren’t easily scientifically tested.
The American Psychological Association defines eclectic therapy as “any psychotherapy that is based on a combination of theories or approaches or uses concepts and techniques from a number of different sources, including the integrated professional experiences of the therapist.” Psychology Today distinctively summarizes this definition through what an eclectic therapist does by stating, “…an eclectic therapist customizes the therapeutic process for each individual by using whatever form of treatment, or combination of treatments, has been shown to be most effective for treating the particular problem.” Therapists may be trained in a specific theoretical orientation or distinct method, but can choose to add other methods of psychotherapy to help patients with overall success. Most mental health professionals practicing psychotherapy are trained in different types of therapeutic strategies and may even have multiple certifications in these strategies to be able to use an eclectic therapy approach with their patients. There are also psychotherapists who are trained explicitly as eclectic therapists.
Psychologist and cognitive therapy specialist Dr. Arnold Lazarus was a prominent leader in building the foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and he also developed multimodal therapy (MMT) in the 1960s. His work helped pave the way for mental health practitioners to practice what is known today as eclectic therapy. Developments in psychotherapeutic approaches that integrated more than one therapy culminated to include four different forms of eclectic therapy. The four main forms of eclectic therapy are brief, systematic, perspective and technical. Brief is short term and normally combines cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic approaches. Systematic uses the following four factors in choosing treatment methods: client characteristics, the context of treatment, relationship variables, and specific strategies and techniques. Perspective uses multiple theoretical approaches rooted in evidence from psychological research. Technical uses multiple techniques and ignores the theoretical background of those techniques. Integrative therapy is sometimes used for eclectic therapy, but they are different. The basic difference is that an eclectic psychotherapist will use combinations of theories to best help patients, whereas an integrative psychotherapist will use one theory to complement another. Although there is a difference, therapists who have been surveyed and practice eclectic therapy prefer the term integrative to eclectic. Many practitioners who practice eclectic therapy may call themselves integrative therapists or integrationists.
Emotion focused therapy, or emotionally-focused therapy, is a form of psychotherapy with approaches that combine parts of experiential therapy (e.g. person-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, and focusing-oriented therapy), systemic therapy, neuroscience, emotion theory, and attachment theory. This type of therapy is used with individuals, couples and families. Emotion-focused therapy for individuals was originally called process-experiential therapy. It is sometimes still referred to by that name. EFT is different from emotion-focused coping, and EFT is sometimes used by therapists to help people improve their emotion-focused coping. Emotion focused therapy began in Canada in the mid-1980s by, Canadian psychologist, Les Greenberg in conjunction with Laura Rice and Robert Elliott. It was later co-developed and empirical support was established by others such as Rhonda Goldman, Jeanne Watson, and Sandra Paivio. More recently, Antonio Pascual-leone, Alberta Pos, Ladislav Timulak and others have investigated change processes associated with EFT. Further empirical support has been established for the use of EFT for trauma, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety. In individual EFT therapy, in the context of a safe, trusting, client-centered therapeutic relationship, the therapist works together with the patient to assess emotional responses (primary adaptive, primary maladaptive, secondary reactive, and instrumental). For each type of emotion response, an intervention process will be discerned by the therapist. Within the trusted therapeutic relationship, the patient is able to activate and work through emotions to help change problematic emotions that affect both the individual and interpersonal relationships. In the early 2000’s, Goldman and Greenberg expanded the emotion-focused/process-experiential approach of EFT by developing its approach to case formulation. They provide detailed manuals of specific EFT principles and therapeutic intervention methods, including a 14-step case formulation process.
Emotionally focused therapy for couples was first published in 1988 by Les Greenberg and Susan Johnson, while Johnson was Greenberg’s graduate student. The model was later empirically validated. Greenberg and Johnson created a nine-step model to restructure the bond between partners. The nine steps include: identifying relational conflict issues; identifying negative interaction cycles; assessing attachment emotions in this cycle; reframing the problem in terms of the cycle, unacknowledged emotions and attachment needs; accessing disowned or implicit needs, emotions, and models of self; promoting each partner’s acceptance of the other’s experience; facilitating each partner’s expression of needs and wants to restructure the interaction based on new understandings and creating bonding events; facilitating the formulation of new stories and new solutions to old problems; and consolidating new cycles of behavior. Over time, Greenberg continued to develop EFT for both individuals and couples, while Johnson continued to work with couples, developing a stronger attachment-focus.. In 2008, Greenberg together with clinical psychologist, Dr. Rhonda Goldman, expanded the Emotion-focused therapy for couples model to a 14 step model, defined by the five stages of validation and alliance formation, negative cycle de-escalation and reframing of cycle in terms of underlying attachment and identity feelings and needs, deepening emotions, restructuring the emotional bond, and consolidating and interation.
Emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT), was developed by Joanne Dolhanty and Adele LaFrance initially as an approach to eating disorders. It was then expanded and is largely focused upon making sure children and adolescents are having their attachment needs met by strengthening parental responsiveness/caregiving. Many published studies validate the efficacy of EFT treatment with both individuals, couples, and families.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a short-term exposure therapy that is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors are the result of unprocessed memories that can be accessed and healed with standardized procedures that include focusing simultaneously on (a) spontaneous association of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and (b) bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements (2013 World Health Organization practice guideline). EMDR therapy interventions are designed to resolve unprocessed traumatic memories in the brain in a short amount of time without talking in detail about a distressing issue or focusing on changing emotions, thoughts or behaviors as a result of the distressing issue. (About EMDR Therapy, EMDRIA) Complete processing of problematic experiences and inclusion of new, healthy experiences is the goal of EMDR therapy.
Dr. Francine Shapiro, an American psychologist, developed EMDR therapy in the late 1980s after she noticed that certain eye movements helped her with the intensity of a disturbing thought. She later hypothesised that when a traumatic or distressing experience happens, it may overwhelm normal coping mechanisms, with the memory and associated stimuli being inadequately processed and stored in the brain. In simple terms, she speculated that traumatic events upset the balance in the brain, causing a pathological change. EMDR therapy has eight stages that are applied with a trained mental health professional. The eight stages include history and treatment planning, preparation (establishing therapist-client relationship), assessment, desensitization (eye movement technique), installation, body scan, closure, and reevaluation. The number of sessions vary based on the client’s needs, and most sessions last from 60-90 minutes. EMDR therapy has been recognized as an effective treatment therapy by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of Defense, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the World Health Organization. Posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, phobias, depression, eating disorders, OCD, schizophrenia, sexual dysfunction, and bipolar disorder have all been treated with EMDR therapy.
Emotional Freedom Technique
Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is a form of energy psychology that uses alternative medicine methods such as acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine and Thought Field Therapy (TFT) to treat physical and psychological disorders. The main treatment mechanism is to hold a disturbing memory or emotion in mind while using fingers to tap on a series of 12 specific points on the body to alter the energy in the corresponding meridian bringing it back to balance (used in Chinese medicine). Emotional freedom techniques can be self-administered and users have claimed to have relief with conditions such as anxiety, depression, phobias, PTSD, and addictions.
It was created and founded by Gary Craig in the 1990s. In an interview about himself, Gary said, “Please know that I am neither a psychologist nor a licensed therapist.” Although supporters of EFT state that the technique is effective, many psychologists have categorized it as pseudoscience (“claims presented so that they appear [to be] scientific even though they lack supporting evidence and plausibility” National Science Foundation).
ERP is an acronym for exposure response prevention and is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) used to help people with mental health disorders. ERP is a variant of exposure therapy. The use of exposure for therapy began in the 1950s. South African psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe and South African psychologist James Taylor were two of the most influential figures in using exposure therapy treatment for anxiety. This included methods of situational exposure with response prevention, which is now referred to as ERP and still used by practicing mental health clinicians today.
Therapists using forms of exposure therapy first identify the cognitions, emotions and physiological arousal that accompany fear-inducing stimuli. Then they try to help the patient break the pattern of escape that maintains the fear by exposing the patient to progressively stronger fear-inducing stimuli. The three exposure procedures are “in vivo” or real life, imaginal and interoceptive. These procedures may be used separately or in combination with one another. ERP’s therapeutic effect happens when patients confront their fears but control themselves from engaging in escape responses or rituals that delay or eliminate distress. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the Mayo Clinic all recommend ERP as an effective therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). General anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety and phobias are other mental health issues that may be treated with exposure response prevention therapy.
Existential therapy is a form of psychotherapy that was developed on the basis of the existential tradition of European philosophy. Universally applicable human experiences of death, freedom, responsibility, and the meaning of life are all examined during treatment using existential therapy. This therapy looks at human experiences such as anxiety, alienation and depression as normal parts of life within human development. The ultimate goal for someone who is undergoing existential psychotherapy is to explore life experiences and use freedom and responsibility to create a personal higher level of meaning of life and well being. Existential philosophy started development in the early 1800s and began to be partnered with psychology in the early 1900s. There were many European philosophers who contributed to the existential traditions, including Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). The first existential therapist was Austrian psychoanalyst, Otto Rank (1884–1939).
Existential therapy uses the basic theories of existential thinking as a guidemap to treatment. The American existential-humanistic tradition is based on the beliefs that humans are alone in the world; they long to be connected with others; they cannot depend on others for validation/meaning; and that personality is based on choosing to be authentically real (with a philosophical understanding of what a person is). Philosophical understanding of self, personality, mind, meaning of life, and personal development are key elements in existential therapeutic treatment. Existential psychotherapy uses cross-cultural, universal dimensions of human existence to help clients become more aware of themselves. These dimensions are physical, social, psychological, and spiritual. A psychotherapist practicing existential therapy guides the client to deeper knowledge of one’s self, and also uses practical therapeutic applications to help the client move forward towards the goal of better well being.
Exposure therapy is a form of behavior therapy used to treat anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD. The therapy exposes the patient to progressively stronger fear-inducing stimuli using the principle of respondent conditioning in a safe environment in order to gradually break the pattern of escape to overcome the fear. Psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe and psychologist James G. Taylor were the first to use and document exposure therapy during the 1950s. Other forms of exposure therapy have been developed since then, including systematic desensitization, flooding, implosive therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, in vivo exposure therapy, and imaginal exposure therapy.
There is evidence that supports the effectiveness of exposure therapy, however therapists applying the method of this therapy are discretionary with imaginal exposure, especially in cases of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The three types of exposure are in “vivo” or real life, imaginal, and introspective. All three types may be used separately or together. A few obstacles to exposure therapy involve excessive avoidance, dissociation, anger, bereavement/grief, catastrophic beliefs, and low motivation.
Expressive Arts Therapy
Expressive arts therapy integrates imagery, storytelling, dance, music, drama, poetry, movement, horticulture, dreamwork, and visual arts in a distinct therapeutic discipline to nurture growth, development and healing. Expressive arts therapy is practiced by a registered expressive arts therapist who has met the educational and training requirements through credentialing with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA). Although used sometimes interchangeably in the field of arts in health, expressive arts therapy is different from creative arts therapy. Creative arts therapy is normally used with only one modality in practice. This may include one of the following modalities: art, dance/movement, drama, music, poetry and psychodrama. Expressive arts therapy interventions are designed to use more than one modality of the expressive artforms in practice.
The history of art used in psychotherapy dates back to the early 1940s. Each specific creative arts modality has its own history and development. Using multiple art form modalities together in expressive arts therapy began in the 1970s by Schaun McNiff and others at Lesley University. The intermodal approach to using arts for healing that was established by Dr. McNiff was based on an established psychological framework. The practice of expressive arts therapy is used worldwide and there are many universities and colleges that offer master’s degrees in expressive therapy. The IEATA offers different pathways to obtain credentials in expressive arts therapy.
According to Psychology Today, “Feminist therapy is an integrative approach to psychotherapy that focuses on gender and the particular challenges and stressors that women face as a result of bias, stereotyping, oppression, discrimination, and other factors that threaten their mental health.” Feminist therapy began in the 1960s and 1970s when women psychologists and psychiatrists began working together to help develop psychotheraputic interventions for women in disadvantaged positions in the world due to sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, age and other categories. Influential women who helped form the groundwork for feminist therapy include Jamie Kohanyi, Judith Worell, Pam Remer, Sandra Bem, Laura Brown, Jean Baker Miller, Carolyn Enns, Ellyn Kaschak, Bonnie Burstow, Judith V. Jordan, and Mary N. Russell. The goal of feminist therapy is to recognize disempowering social forces and empower the client to overcome them.
An equal status therapeutic relationship is one of the main foundations of feminist therapy. The therapist uses psychological knowledge together with the client’s knowledge of herself to help the client embracing strengths rather than fixing weaknesses. Accepting and validating the client’s feelings is also a part of feminist therapy. Feminist therapy has evolved throughout the years to include people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender variant, people in poverty, immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities. Trauma, sexual abuse, incest, body image problems and eating disorders are all issues feminist therapists address.
Forensic therapy involves application of psychotherapeutic interventions with offender-patients who commit violent acts against themselves or others. Forensic therapy may also be used for offender-patient families or victims of criminal acts and their families. The psychological assessment, evaluation, intervention, and treatment of the patient/client is all a part of forensic therapy. According to the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy, the application of psychoanalytically-informed conceptual and clinical models is used with both the offender-patient and to the understanding of organizations that carry out forensic work on behalf of wider society. A forensic therapist may also be involved in secondary roles with the criminal justice system such as testifying in court about a topic in which they have a specialized knowledge. Forensic psychologists who hold doctorate degrees may be more involved in specialized work such as assessments for schools, child custody evaluations, competency evaluations of criminal defendants, screening and selection of law enforcement applicants, and assessment of PTSD for juvenile and adult offenders. (What is forensic psychology?, APA)
The history of forensic psychotherapy can date back to the early 1930s when a group of mental health professionals using psychoanalytic psychotherapy with offenders formed the Association for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency and Crime Developed Forensic Therapy at the Portman Clinic in London. In the early 1990s the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy was formed and specialty guidelines for forensic psychologists were written by the American Academy for Forensic Psychology and the American Psychology-Law Society. There are careers in forensic psychology at the master’s degree level as a mental health professional, but forensic psychologists must have a doctorate degree. Forensic psychologists can pursue board certification and continuing education through the American Academy of Forensic Psychology. Forensic therapists can pursue certification and continuation through the National Association of Forensic Counselors.
Gestalt therapy is a form of psychotherapy that concentrates on therapist-client relationship and awareness practice (mindfulness). It’s a multi-systemic approach involving humanistic, cognitive, interpersonal, and experimental facets of psychotherapy. It was developed in the 1950s and founded by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman. Much of the Gestalt therapy theory and model is a result of the many influences and life experiences of the founders. Fritz and Laura were both German psychotherapists. Fritz was also a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Paul Goodman was a American author and public intellectual. Together, they formed the Gestalt therapy movement and established the Gestalt Institution in 1952.
The theory of Gestalt therapy is based on four main foundations. Phenomenological method (awareness), dialogical relationship (relationship), field-theoretical strategies (social and environmental factors), and experimental freedom (action) all constitute the make-up of the basis of the theory Contemporary psychotherapists have continued developing the theory with modern applications in organizational development, coaching, and combining meditation with the therapy for a human development program called the Gestalt Practice. Gestalt therapy hit its peak in the U.S. in the late 1970s, but it’s influence spread into other fields such as teaching and organizational development. It is still widely used in Europe with many training institutions and practitioners.
The Gottman Method is a method of therapy for couples that helps support, strengthen and improve marriages and relationships. It was created in the 1990s by American clinical psychologists Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. It is a science-based approach to couples therapy using the lifelong research efforts of Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The Gottman Method Couples Therapy integrates interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory that was also created by the founding couple. The overall goals of this method of therapy are increasing respect, affection and closeness; managing conflict; generating greater understanding; and creating shared meaning within the relationship.
Therapists can become certified in The Gottman Method Couples Therapy through classes available by The Gottman Institute, and parts of the training can be done while completing undergraduate/graduate studies. Couples who receive Gottman Method Couples Therapy are first assessed in a conjoint session, followed by individual interviews and feedback on their relationship. A therapeutic framework for frequency and duration of sessions is decided on with their therapist. Therapeutic interventions are then practiced to help the couple strengthen their relationship in the areas of friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning. During therapy, the couple is also instructed in relapse prevention.
Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy administered by one or more therapists in a group setting using interpersonal relationships to treat disorders. Group therapy can also be called group psychotherapy and was created with continual development in the first half of the 20th century by multiple psychiatrists including Joseph H. Pratt, Trigant Burrow, Paul Schilder, Jacob L. Moreno, Samuel Slavson, Hyman Spotnitz, Irvin Yalom, and Lou Ormont.
Irvin Yalom’s approach is widely used worldwide and his proposed therapeutic factors of group psychotherapy are universality, altruism, instillation of hope, imparting information, corrective recapitulation of the primary family experience, development of socializing techniques, imitative behaviour, cohesiveness, existential factors, catharsis, interpersonal learning, and self-understanding. Types of group therapy can be categorized by therapeutic approach, type of problem being treated, and characteristics of group members. A more broad definition of group therapy includes any group that offers helping processes that may or may not be administered by a licensed therapist. These groups may include psychoeducation groups, support groups and skills training groups (e.g. social skills training, relaxation technique training, mindfulness, and anger management).
Holotropic Breathwork is a trademarked breathing practice that was created by Czech-born psychiatrist, Dr. Stanislav Grof. During the 1960s, Dr. Grof worked as the Chief of Psychiatric Research for the Spring Grove Experiment at Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville, MD. He worked with other psychiatrists and psychologists to conduct LSD studies on people with psychotic illnesses. Legal LSD use was stopped by the 1970s, and Dr. Grof began researching other ways to reach these states of mind that he observed while doing the experimental treatments using LSD. Dr. Grof was also one of the developers of transpersonal (spiritual) psychology, which uses non-ordinary states of consciousness for purposes of exploring, healing and obtaining insights into the human psyche.
The Holotropic Breathwork breathing practice was created based on Grof’s theory that many states of mind can be explored without drugs by using certain breathing techniques. Holotropic (from the Greek ὅλος holos “whole” and τρέπειν trepein “to turn or direct towards a thing”) breathing is done in a specific environment with someone who is trained and certified by Grof Transpersonal Training (GTT). The process is normally done in a group setting with the clients laying down on a mat with their eyes closed. The combination of accelerated breathing with evocative music is claimed by Dr. Grof and GTT to allow the client to enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness to activate the natural inner healing process of the individual’s psyche.
Human Givens Therapy
Human givens therapy is a type of short-term, holistic psychotherapy that encompasses understandings from neurobiology and psychology in an approach focused on nine emotional needs. The general content of the human givens approach is that there are nine main emotional needs of security, giving/receiving attention, belonging, emotional intimacy, privacy, sense of social status, competence/achievement, and meaning/purpose. The emotional needs are met through a personal instinctive knowledge that drives them to meet their needs. Therapists who offer human givens therapy don’t spend a lot of time having the client examine the past, or to look for means of self discovery. The main goal of human givens therapy is to help clients learn how to reduce anxiety, break the cycle of depression, resolve trauma, manage anger, stop addictive behavior, relieve medical conditions, and improve relationships.
Human givens therapy was developed in the late 1990s by British psychologist, Joe Griffin, and British psychotherapist, Ivan Tyrrell. Their problem-focused approach developed as they both discovered in their psychotherapeutic practices that there wasn’t clarity, understanding and consistency in the field of mental health. Early in the development of human givens therapy, Griffin and Tyrell published a brief overall view of their approach in their “Human Givens” journal: “The posture we have been advocating is that therapy always works best when it comes not from an emotional or theoretical standpoint but from a real understanding of what it is to be a human being. … To be effective as therapists, we contend, we have to be aware not only of basic human needs but of the ‘tools’ [such as memory, imagination, problem-solving abilities, self-awareness, dreaming and a range of complementary thinking styles for different situations] that human beings have evolved to use for understanding and impacting on their environment.” Anxiety, depression, stress, OCD, self-harm, relationship issues, trauma, PTSD, phobias, addiction, pain, anger, workplace stress, eating disorders, bereavement, and psychosis can all be treated with human givens therapy.
Humanistic therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on teaching the client self-actualization, which is a strong and healthy sense of self. The early beginnings of humanistic therapy began in the 1920’s with Carl Rogers’ “actualizing tendency” theory, which eventually was used by Abraham Maslow in his teaching of basic human needs (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). Significant developments in this positive, humanistic psychology happened in the 1960’s. One of these developments was the foundation of the Association for Humanistic Psychology.
The main psychotherapeutic approaches in humanistic therapy include client-centered therapy, existential psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy, Compassionate Communication (formerly known as Nonviolent Communication), and positive psychotherapy. Other concepts from depth therapy, holistic health, encounter groups, sensitivity training, marital/family therapies and body work are also considered a part of the range of humanistic therapy. Practice of humanistic therapy uses aspects of psychotherapy to help clients grow in self-actualization. Empathy, self-help, ideal self understanding, and non-pathological focus are all methods by which therapists help clients. A humanistic therapist listens, shows empathy, and attempts to provide the client with insights to inner conflicts.
Therapy given to a patient in a state of hypnosis by a qualified hypnotherapist is the basic definition for hypnotherapy. This type of therapy is mainly used by professionals administering psychotherapy, but is often also used in physiotherapy. The English word “hypnosis” comes from the Greek word “hypnos,” which means “sleep”. In the mid-1800s, Scottish physician and surgeon James Braid began using the term “hypnotism” as an abbreviation for “neuro-hypnotism” (sleep of the nerves). (History of hypnosis, Wikipedia) Braid’s work on hypnosis led him to be considered the first true “hypnotherapist”. His procedures for inducing a state of hypnosis include using a series of instructions and suggestions to concentrate the mind on one single object/train of thought, which then allows the mind and body to progressively relax into a state of heightened suggestibility.
A common misconception about hypnotherapy is that hypnosis resembles sleep. Modern research proposes that hypnosis is actually when a patient is in a wakeful state and has focused attention, allowing for suggestibility. Hypnotherapy is used for behavior, emotion and attitude modification. It is also used to help treat other mental and physical illnesses such as anxiety, pain management, subclinical depression, insomnia, and eating disorders. Hypnotherapy can also be used in childbirth, surgeries, and physical therapy. There have been numerous research analysis reviews done throughout history to try and prove the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. The Professional Affairs Board of the British Psychological Study (BPS) conducted a research review in 2001 on hypnosis by expert psychologists to publish a report called “The Nature of Hypnosis”. They stated in this report that “Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy.”
Internal family systems therapy (IFS) is a form of psychotherapy that uses family systems theory to understand collections of relatively discrete subpersonalities within the mind. This approach to individual psychotherapy was created and developed in the 1980s by Richard Schwartz, a systemic family therapist. The basic goal of IFS therapy is to access what is called the core Self and understand different parts to help heal wounded parts and restore mental balance. In IFS, the three different parts from the core Self are metaphorically named as Exiles, Managers and Firefighters. The Exiles are psychological trauma that contain pain and fear. Managers are preemptive protectors that want to keep the self from harm. Firefighters are attention diverters that try to distract the self from pain by inappropriate behaviors such as overeating, drug abuse, violence, or subtle negative activities like overworking or overmedicating.
The well-defined therapeutic method for individual IFS therapy involves the following principles: access to core Self, knowledge of protecting parts, permission from protecting parts to access Exiles, uncovering Exiles to release burdons, and assumption of a healthy role by the protectors. The IFS therapist helps the client first access the core Self. The protecting parts of Managers and Firefighters are then learned with all of their positive intents. After the protecting parts give permission, the client can access the Exile(s) to retrieve the burdensome childhood incident or relationship. The Exile can then release its burdens. The protecting roles of Manager and Firefighter are then free to be healthy. According to PsychologyToday, IFS therapy has been shown to be effective in treating “depression, anxiety, phobias, panic, and physical health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as improving general functioning and well-being.” IFS therapists can treat individuals, couples or families. Only IFS therapists who are trained and certified through the IFS Institute can use the titles Certified IFS Therapist or Certified IFS Practitioner.
Imago Relationship Therapy
Imago relationship therapy (IRT) is a type of couples therapy that focuses on transforming conflict into an opportunity to learn and grow. IRT was developed in 1980 by Dr. Hariville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt to help couples grow empathy for one another by better understanding each other’s feelings and childhood experiences. Dr. Hendrix suggests that there is a connection between the frustrations experienced in adult relationships and the experiences people have during early childhood. The goal of imago relationship therapy is to help heal relationship problems, both individually and jointly, allowing the couple to embrace a more conscious relationship.
The four principles used in IRT are becoming present to your partner, learning a new way to talk, replacing judgment with curiosity, and infusing the relationship with positive feelings. Becoming present to your partner involves the client discovering the “otherness” of the partner, known as differentiation. Learning a new way to talk uses dialogue to create equality, safety and connection instead of just exchange of parallel monologues. Replacing judgment with curiosity helps deepen connection by eliminating negativity and asking more questions. Infusing the relationship with positive feelings integrates appreciation, admiration, acceptance, and positive emotions into the partnership for deeper intimacy. The three stages of IRT evolvement consist of mirroring, validation, and empathy. Mirroring is sending back the message the other person is sending. Validation is being able to summarize and articulate back what the other partner is trying to convey. Empathy is when one partner is able to feel what the other partner is feeling by imagining the emotions of the other. Imago Relationships Worldwide is a nonprofit organization established by Dr. Hendrix and Dr. Hunt. Imago Relationships has trained over 2,500 therapists and educators in over 50 countries in Imago Therapy.
According to the Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy, integrative therapy “embraces an attitude towards the practice of psychotherapy that affirms the inherent value of each individual. It is a unifying psychotherapy that responds appropriately and effectively to the person at the affective, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning, and addresses as well the spiritual dimension of life.” The word integrative has multiple meanings within integrative therapy. Integrative means integration of personality when the client is able to take disowned, unaware or unresolved aspects of the self and make them part of a cohesive personality. This reduces defense mechanisms that limit spontaneity, problem solving, healthcare, and relationships. Integrative also means integration of psychology theories which bring together affective, cognitive, behavioral and psychological dimensions of human functioning, within a relational system. Integration also means integration of the professional therapist. Integration therapists may integrate their own experiences as a child, adult or professional therapist. A therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client is fundamental for the success of integrative therapy.
The International Integrative Psychotherapy Association states that integrative therapy is different from eclectic therapy. “Unlike an eclectic approach, the theories of Integrative Psychotherapy are coherent; each of the theories of motivation, personality, or methods emerges from a basic and clearly defined set of concepts about the nature of human relationships. The concepts of Integrative Psychotherapy incorporate only those aspects of other theories and approaches that fit within a consistent and comprehensive theoretical framework and that have proven to be clinically useful.” Integrative therapists are licensed clinical mental health professionals who have received certification through the International Integrative Psychotherapy Association. They have also committed to professional and personal growth as a part of the certification process. The Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy is one academy that offers further education for certified integrative therapists. Integrative therapy can also be referred to as an approach used by any licensed psychotherapist, but the difference between a psychotherapist integrating therapies and a certified international integrative psychotherapist (CIIP) is specialized education, training and certification.
The International Society of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (ISIPT) defines interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) as “a time-limited, diagnosis-targeted, well studied, manualized treatment for major depression and other psychiatric disorders.” It is an empirically supported treatment (EST) with overall treatment time being 12-16 weeks. It was originally called “high contact” therapy by the founding designers, Gerald L. Klerman, M.D. and Myrna M. Weissman, Ph.D. It originally began as a research study at Yale University in 1969 to test the efficacy of an antidepressant with and without psychotherapy as maintenance treatment of depression. This led to the development of interpersonal psychotherapy, which was influenced by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic approaches.
IPT focuses on affects, or feelings, and doesn’t try to uncover distorted thoughts. It also focuses on humanistic applications of interpersonal sensitivity. There is no homework or assignments. The interpersonal psychotherapy goal is to change the relationship pattern and not the depressive symptoms. The ISIPT states that IPT “basic principles assume that helping patients to improve problematic interpersonal relationships or circumstances that are directly associated with the current mood episode will result in symptom reduction.” Licensed mental health professionals can be trained and certified to practice interpersonal psychology by reading the manual authored by Dr. Myrna M. Weissman, attending an orientation workshop, and completing 2-3 cases supervised by review of audio- or videotapes of each session. Interpersonal psychotherapy has been used to treat bipolar disorder, bulimia nervosa, postpartum depression, major depressive disorder, cyclothymia, and as an adjunct to medication for bipolar disorder.
Jungian therapy, or analytical therapy, is a type of psychotherapy and depth analysis developed by Swiss psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung, in the early 1900s. The International Association of Analytical Psychology (IAAP) defines analytical psychology, also known as Jungian psychology or Jungian analysis, as having a focus on “the role of symbolic and spiritual experiences in human life, and rests on Jung’s theory of archetypes and the existence of a deep psychic space or collective unconscious.” Further research in his tradition has continued throughout the 20th century and continues today. Therapeutic innovation has grown in the field of analytical psychology because of the incorporation of other disciplines and schools of depth psychology into his work. The three types of schools that are classified as “post-Jungian” in therapy include classical, developmental, and archetypal. There is also a process oriented school.
Jungian therapy is based on the theory created by Dr. Jung that everyone has an innate need for self-realization, and the natural process of becoming an individual is what he called “individuation.” The IAAP’s definition of individuation is the “achievement of a greater awareness of the factors influencing how a person relates to the totality of his or her psychological, interpersonal and cultural experiences.” This is accomplished through analysis done by a licensed mental health professional who has had advanced education and training in Jungian psychoanalytic practice. The client will explore deep-rooted, blocked emotions and relationship problems to better understand what personal and collective factors are causing disruption between conscious awareness and the unconscious mind. The Jungian therapist assists the client in the process of individuation, or wholeness, with various forms of psychotherapeutic techniques like talking, dream journaling and interpretation, creative arts experiences, and word association tests. Jungian therapy is used to help people with problems such as depression, anxiety, grief, phobias, relationship issues, trauma, emotional issues, and low-self esteem.
Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, Viktor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997), created logotherapy after surviving many years in concentration camps during the holocaust. Prior to his experiences in the concentration camps, he had treated thousands of suicidal people at austrian psychiatric hospitals. Logotherapy is based on the theory that the primary force of a person is to find meaning in life. It is based on existential analysis and focuses on philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard’s “will to meaning”.
The basic tenets of logotherapy are that life has meaning in all circumstances, even miserable ones; that the main motivation for living is to find meaning in life; and that there is freedom to find meaning in what we do and experience, or at least what we choose to do when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering. Logotherapy helps clients to find and pursue meaning in life without offering specific meanings for them. Using the techniques of paradoxical intention and dereflection, along with socratic dialog, the therapist helps the client in this search for meaning. Anxiety, neurosis, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia are among the disorders and mental health illnesses that logotherapy has been proven to effectively treat. Logotherapy is also used to help treat terminally ill patients.
Marriage and Family Therapy
Marriage and family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps couples and families in intimate relationships with a wide range of individual or household mental health problems. The goal of positive change and development is viewed in terms of interaction between couples or family members. The therapy is generally brief, specific, and designed for both short-term and long-term success. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), marriage and family therapy “is as effective, and in some cases more effective than standard and/or individual treatments for many mental health problems.” Topics that marriage and family therapy cover include adolescent behavioral challenges, childhood behavioral challenges, couples challenges, emotional issues, medical issues, family issues, gender issues, and substance abuse/addiction problems.
Historical beginnings of marriage and family therapy started in the early 20th century with the child guidance movement and the development of marriage counseling. In the 1940s and 1950s, work in the areas of psychoanalysis and social psychiatry, and later from learning theory and behavior therapy, helped independent clinicians and groups to found the American Association of Marriage Counselors (AAMC) in 1942. This title was changed later in history to what is now known as the AAMFT. In the late 1970’s the Commision on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) was recognized by the federal government to set standards for marriage and family therapy training. The current day standards for the profession are set by COAMFTE. Training (graduate/post-graduate education, supervised internships, and completing licensing requirements) for marriage and family therapy therapists is averaged out to be about 13 years of clinical practice in the field.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MCBT therapy, is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that uses meditative mindfulness techniques as a part of treatment therapy. It is used by licensed mental health professionals who have specialized training or certification to apply MCBT interventions in psychotherapy. MCBT therapy was originally developed to help people who have major depressive disorder with the goal of preventing relapses. General anxiety disorders, addictions, and physical symptom management of diabetes and cancer have also been treated using MCBT therapy.
MBCT therapy takes place in a group setting that lasts 8 weeks, with meetings once a week for two hours. Homework is also given for clients to practice the learned skills between meetings. MBCT therapy was developed by psychologists John D. Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Mark Williams in the early 1990s. Their work was partially based on work done by Jon Kabat-Zinn in his mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Certification in MBCT therapy is available through the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness for mental health professionals or medical health professionals who desire to pursue certification in MBCT therapy.
Milieu therapy is a type of psychiatric group therapy used in residential and inpatient settings that focuses on both treating disorders and building social skills. Milieu is a french word that can be described as any environmental surrounding, particularly social surroundings. The beginnings of milieu therapy can be traced back to the 1800s, but was predominantly developed around the 1920s. The majority of the early milieu therapy was used with children, and is still used today for children with psychiatric disorders and other behavioral problems. Most effective milieu therapy is done in a treatment center for a long-term residential stay. (What Is Milieu Therapy? WebMD)
This form of therapy manipulates the communal environment to benefit residents both individually and jointly with the ultimate goal of behavior change for the welfare of all. The entire environment is safe and therapeutic in nature to promote learning and growth. The milieu therapist observes clients and facilitates treatment programs. One of the main benefits of milieu therapy is wide scale, experiential learning. A few of the learned skills include taking responsibility for behavior of self and others; opening up about oneself; accepting feedback from others in the community; and practicing new coping methods to help outside of the treatment center. Although the majority of milieu therapy is practiced with adolescents, other groups known to use milieu therapy include substance abuse/homeless rehabilitation centers and the U.S. Veteran’s Administration.
Motivational interviewing (MI) is a method of counseling developed by clinical psychologists in the early 1980s that is used by mental health professionals in assisting clients to intentionally choose to bring about positive change. It was originally created for clients struggling with substance abuse. The very basic definition is that the interviewer uses four processes of engaging, focusing, evoking and planning to establish a trusted relationship between the interviewer and interviewee. The therapeutic relationship aids the client in making positive life changes.
A major part of MI effectiveness is the foundational trusted relationship. The interviewer expresses empathy, uses reflective listening, develops discrepancy, avoids arguments, and supports the client’s self-efficacy. These foster a therapeutic relationship where the client feels safe and unjudged. Basically, the interviewer creates an environment through MI where the client is able to see and choose for themselves positive change without feeling like they are being lectured on what needs to change or that they should change in a certain way.
Due to the overall effectiveness of the technique, it is now applied in many different fields. Several fields include, but are not limited to, brief intervention, coaching, dual diagnosis, problem gambling, and parenting. A few examples of adaptations that can be applied to MI include motivational enhancement therapy, behavior change counselling, and technology assisted motivational interviewing. Some limitations that may impede the effectiveness of the therapy are underlying mental health illnesses, time limitations, therapist/client trust, and training deficiencies.
Multicultural therapy is a type of talk therapy, or counseling, used by mental health professionals to help clients whose race, gender, socioeconomic background, religion, income, disability, or any other part of their identity differs from the majority. Multicultural counseling began in the 1950s when it was primarily developed and used in the U.S. to help assimilate minorities into the majority. From the 1960s up until present day, there were research studies done on the importance of multicultural counseling which led to a universal framework by the APA for therapists working with minority groups. Multicultural therapists recognize and are sensitive to how culture and backgrounds affect all areas of life, along with varying psychosocial development and underrepresentation of minority groups in mental health professions.
Mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, counselors and social workers can all use multicultural therapy in psychotherapeutic practice. There are universities/colleges that offer psychology degree programs with focuses on multicultural psychology. Continuing education in the area of multicultural therapy is also an option for mental health professionals who would like to pursue training in multicultural therapy through schools such as the Institute for Multicultural Counseling & Education Services.
Music therapy is a clinical treatment therapy that uses methods of receptive (listening) and active (creating) music for meeting physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs of clients of all ages. (What is Music Therapy?, AMTA) Music therapy is administered by a qualified music therapist and progresses within a trusted, therapeutic relationship between the therapist and individual. The music therapist creates a treatment plan tailored to the needs of the client. The therapy can take place in an individual or group setting, and may involve different forms of music interventions. (Music Therapy, PsychologyToday) A couple of examples of forms of music used in music therapy include ternary or sonata form. Types of music used in therapy are chosen based on individual client treatment plans and can include a mixture of compositions from various eras of time. The ultimate goal of music therapy is to improve the client’s overall quality of life.
Historically, music has been used as a healing therapy for centuries. The early beginnings of merging the art of music and the science of psychology is documented in the years 1804 and 1806 in dissertations published by two students of Dr. Benjamin Rush, a physician and psychiatrist. In 1950, the National Association for Music Therapy started and they soon established the registered music therapist title in 1956. Throughout the years, individuals and organizations have worked together to create the standards and certifications for the music therapist profession. A practicing music therapist must have at least a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, and must also complete the board certification exam to earn the title of Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC).
Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy used both in person-centered and collaborative therapy treatments. Its purpose is to help clients discover their personal values and skills to solve current and future problems. A therapist and client investigate the history of the client’s life and use this story to co-author a new narrative about themselves. Using social justice approaches, narrative therapy challenges negative dominant discourses that tend to have a destructive influence in the lives of clients. Narrative therapy is mainly used in family therapy, but it’s conceptual uses have also been reported in community work, schools and higher education.
The therapy was created by Australian social worker Michael White and New Zealand therapist David Epston in the 1970s and 1980s. Their development of narrative therapy was influenced by French philosopher Michel Foucault. Within the therapeutic therapist-client relationship, conversation maps are used to investigate and co-author the client’s new narrative. Re-authoring identity, externalizing conversations, “Statement of Position Map”, re-membering practice, absent but implicit, and outsider witnesses map are all used to help the client effectively determine how to engage in problems and find the best alternative solution. Narrative therapy has been shown to be effective with eating disorders, men engaging in domestic violence, and community work.
Psychology Today defines neurofeedback therapy as “a therapeutic intervention that provides immediate feedback from a computer-based program that assesses a client’s brainwave activity. The program then uses sound or visual signals to reorganize or retrain these brain signals. By responding to this process, clients learn to regulate and improve their brain function and to alleviate symptoms of various neurological and mental health disorders.” Neurofeedback therapy is also known as electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback. The early historical beginnings of neurofeedback therapy happened in 1924 when the German psychiatrist Hans Berger began experimentation with a ballistic galvanometer to detect electric currents in the human brain by attaching electrodes to the patient’s scalp. Berger analyzed EEGs qualitatively, and much of his research and publications contributed to the basics of what we know today about neurofeedback. G. Dietsch was the first researcher of quantitative EEG (QEEG) in 1932. Through the research and work of Dr. Joe Kamiya at the University of Chicago, the first ever neurofeedback “training” began in the 1960s. Other modern psychologists such as Dr. Barbara Brown, Dr. Barry Sterman, and Dr. Joel Lubar contributed to advancements and studies in neurofeedback therapy.
Typical therapy treatment sessions are once a week for around 20 weeks (the number of sessions varies per person). The patient sits in a chair while the neurofeedback therapist attaches sensors to his/her scalp. A computer processes and assesses brain wave activity and then sends feedback signals to the patient’s brain from the EEG program, directing the brain waves toward more controlled patterns. This is all done while the patient watches the monitor or listens to music. These sessions “train” the patient’s brain to regulate brain wave frequencies. Neurofeedback therapy is done only by licensed mental health professionals who are trained in EEG biofeedback. This type of therapy can be used alongside other psychotherapies. Brain-related conditions such as anxiety, autism, depression, epilepsy, insomnia, ADHD, trauma, aggression, addiction, pain, PTSD, and age-related cognitive loss have all been treated with neurofeedback therapy.
Civil rights activist, peacemaker, and psychologist Marshall Rosenberg created nonviolent communication (NVC/compassionate communication/collaborative communication) in the 1960s as an approach to nonviolent living. Rosenberg dedicated his life to developing and sharing this NVC process to support change and promote peace on three interconnected levels. These levels are self, others, and social groups and systems. It focuses on compassionate interpersonal communication to improve relationships with others by meeting universal human needs. Rosenberg suggested that the reason people react with violence is because there is a basic need not being met. He proposed through NVC that people can identify shared needs revealed by thoughts and emotions surrounding those needs; develop ways to meet those shared needs; and make requests of each other to meet needs. The ultimate goal is interpersonal harmony and learning for future cooperation.
Nonviolent communication has been effectively used in many different settings such as business/organization, parenting, education, meditation, psychotherapy, healthcare, treating eating issues, and in children’s education. The four components of NVC are observation, feelings, needs, and requests. The three modes of application of nonviolent communication are self-empathy, receiving empathically, and expressing honesty. The communication blockers to nonviolent communication are moralistic judgments, demands, denial of responsibility, making comparisons, and the premise of deserving.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a psychotherapy evidence-based treatment that combines behavioral therapy, play therapy, and parent training to help young children, normally ages 2 to 7, with behavioral and emotional disorders. Improving the parent-child relationship is the main focus in PCIT therapy. Parents are able to learn specific skills to improve interactions with their children, including effective discipline techniques. PCIT therapy was developed by American psychologist, Sheila Eyberg, in the late 1980s. Several theories, including attachment theory, social learning theory, and parenting styles theory all influenced the development of PCIT. (Parent–child interaction therapy, Wikipedia)
PCIT treatment sessions are typically done once a week for one hour and can be completed within 12-20 sessions with consistent attendance and homework completion. The parent and child are observed by a therapist through a one way mirror window while the parent listens through an earphone for instructions and guidance given by the therapist. There are two treatment phases for parent-child interaction therapy. In the first phase, called child-directed interaction (CDI), the parent and child play together with guidance from the therapist to establish warmth and security in their relationship. The second phase of treatment, called parent-directed interaction (PDI), focuses on equipping the parent to manage challenging behaviors from the child while remaining confident, calm and consistent in proven discipline strategies and approaches. (What is PCIT, PCIT International)
Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy or counseling used mainly in children ages 3 to 11 to help diagnose and treat psychosocial dysfunctions. Play therapy is used by psychologists or therapists to help patients in areas of self-efficacy, growth and development, empathy, social integration, coping skills, and trauma resolution. The history of play therapy extends back to Plato (429–347 B.C.), Rousseau (1712–1778), and Friedrich Fröbel (1903). Psychologists such as Hermine Hug-Hellmuth (1871-1924) and Melanie Klein (1882-1960), along with psychoanalysis Anna Freud (1895-1982) all contributed to the early development of play therapy used in psychotherapy. Many other mental health care professionals throughout more modern history have also built upon and expanded the methods of applying play therapy.
The basic models of play therapy are categorized into two groups called non-directive play therapy and directive play therapy. Non-directive play therapy can be called psychodynamic (focusing on the unconscious) in nature and allows the children to work through their problems on their own through play while being observed by the therapist. Directive is more guided and offers more structure by the therapist while the children play. Both have been proven effective when analyzed in studies. Electronic games are a new addition to play therapy and have been used to help treat children with anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), depression and autism. There are specific games that have been created to use as part of therapeutic interventions.
Positive psychology is the science of the study of the positive qualities of living human life. Positive psychology focuses on eudaimonia, a greek word translated as “happiness” and was thought of as the highest good by the greek philosopher, Aristotle (384-322BC). Positive psychology focuses on this “good life” reflection. Although this reflection is found throughout history in many different cultures, religions, and studies of philosophy, the actual term “positive psychology” was created just recently in 1998 by American psychologist Martin Seligman. The main purpose of positive psychology is to help individuals and groups to accept the past, encourage excitement for the future, and foster contentment in the present.
Martin Seligman proposed a model of well-being using positive psychology. The five elements to Seligman’s theory of cultivating well-being are positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments (mnemonic-PERMA). (Positive psychology, PsychologyWiki) Treatment therapy involves the practice of Positive Psychology Interventions (PPI). A few PPI examples include the following: learning optimistic thinking, practicing gratitude, recalling positive memories of life experiences, and spending time with others in a social setting. Despite some criticism, acceptance and development of positive psychology is growing. There are numerous colleges/universities that offer positive psychology degree programs and/or certificates in positive psychology.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
The American Psychological Association defines prolonged exposure therapy as “a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches individuals to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings, and situations. Individuals work with their therapist in a safe, graduated fashion to face stimuli and situations that evoke fear and remind them of the trauma to increase their comfort and reduce their fear.” Prolonged exposure (PE) was developed by Dr. Edna Foa, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Foa’s research on anxiety disorders throughout the 20th century has contributed to the success of prolonged exposure therapy. PE has been proven to help survivors of varied traumatic experiences. Prolonged exposure therapy reduces symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, builds confidence, improves daily functioning, encourages growth of coping skills, and instills discernment for safe and unsafe situations.
There are two main procedures during PE treatment. The first exposure procedure is “imaginal”. The patient will tell and retell trauma memories to the therapist. The second exposure is “in vivo”. The patient will gradually confront situations, places and things that remind him/her of the traumatic event. This normally causes feelings of danger even when in an objectively safe environment. The use of these procedures helps the patient to process the trauma memory, reduce triggered distress, and hault habitual avoidance caused by the reminders of the traumatic event. The American Psychological Association (APA) Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of PTSD strongly recommends prolonged exposure therapy. Other traumas that practitioners are using prolonged exposure therapy for include rape, assault, child abuse, combat, motor vehicle accidents, and disasters.
Psychoanalysis (therapy) is defined by Oxford University Press as “The method of therapy for psychological disorders pioneered by Freud. The method relies on an interpretation of what a patient says while ‘freely associating’ or reporting what comes to mind in connection with topics suggested by the therapist. The interpretation proceeds according to the scheme favoured by the analyst, and reveals ideas dominating the unconscious, but previously inadmissible to the conscious mind of the subject. When these are confronted, improvement can be expected.” The psychoanalysis theory was pioneered by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800s. The theory has been refined throughout the years and is still practiced by licensed and experienced psychologists, therapists, social workers, and other mental health professionals with advanced training in psychoanalysis. The main goal in psychoanalytic therapy within a trusted therapeutic relationship is to help the client with improvement in symptoms, interpersonal problems, quality of life, and well-being.
According to the American Psychoanalytic Association, the fundamental aspects of psychoanalysis are “an understanding of transference, an interest in the unconscious, and the centrality of the psychoanalyst-patient relationship in the healing process.” The use of free association, dream analysis, transference analysis, and resistance analysis can be expected during psychoanalytic therapy treatment. These techniques during talk therapy can help the client to release repressed thoughts, emotions and experiences. The client can then acknowledge problems, understand motives, and practice change in behavior.
Psychodynamic therapy or psychodynamic psychotherapy is a form of therapy that focuses on revealing and addressing the unconscious part of the patient to relieve psychic tension (emotional strain generating inner conflict or anxiety) symptoms. Psychodynamics was created in 1874 by German scientist Ernst von Brucke. Sigmund Freud was a student of Ernst von Brucke, and used some of his theories in his own understanding of the human psyche. Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, and Melanie Klein also contributed to the development of psychodynamic therapy.
A therapeutic relationship is a foundational requirement for successful psychodynamic psychotherapy. A therapist typically meets with the patient once or twice a week. Together, the patient and therapist will work through (repeat, elaborate and amplify interpretations) problems that involve maladaptive functions that usually were formed early in life. Patients must have sufficient resilience/ego-strength to implement honest introspective reflection, and to then accept new perspectives for change in thinking and behavior. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is often used for treatment of adjustment orders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and especially for personality disorders.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.” The majority of people who experience trauma in their lives may have short term symptoms but do not develop chronic PTSD that can be diagnosed as such. For a disorder to be considered PTSD, symptoms must last more than one month and be severe enough to interfere with daily tasks, work, and relationships. People who have been diagnosed with PTSD and seek therapy have been shown to recover in as little as 6 months, while others may struggle with symptoms for years. The history of trauma-related mental health disorders can be traced back to documentation as early as the 12th century BC, but the actual term “post-traumatic stress disorder” came into use in the 1970s. This was mainly due to diagnoses of U.S. military veterans of the Vietnam War. Official recognition of the disorder by the American Psychiatric Association happened in 1980.
Licensed mental health practitioners who treat PTSD patients may use psychotherapy alone or in combination with medication. Strong evidence through meta-analysis suggests that behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies derive substantial benefits for people suffering with PTSD symptoms. Prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), brief eclectic psychotherapy (BEP), narrative exposure therapy (NET), and written narrative exposure therapies all have shown to have positive results for PTSD therapy treatment. Medicines that may be used in conjunction with psychotherapy to help treat symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, and neurodegeneration) include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, prazosin, glucocorticoids, or cannabinoids. The main goals of PTSD therapy involve educating clients about symptoms, teaching clients how to identify triggers of symptoms, and equipping clients with the skills to manage symptoms.
Reality therapy was founded and developed by American psychiatrists Dr. William Glasser and Dr. G. L. Harrington in the 1960s at the Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital. Reality therapy is a form of psychotherapy paired with counseling that is considered cognitive-behavioural in approach, and focuses on the client’s present problems and future solutions to these problems. Glasser’s teaching on the three basic “Rs” of psychiatry (realism, responsibility, and right-and-wrong) are used as a part of the treatment plan instead of concentrating on past trauma or mental disorders. The main principle of reality therapy is that everyone has four basic psychological needs that, whether consciously or unconsciously, are trying to be met. The four basic needs, according to Glasser, are the need to love and be loved; the need for power (learning, successes, worthwhile feeling); the need for freedom (independence in choice); and the need for fun (relaxation or pleasure).
Reality therapy teaches the client one of the treatment’s foundational points: people are in control of how they are presently choosing to live to meet, or not meet, the four basic psychological needs. First, a therapeutic relationship is established between the client and the therapist. The therapist helps the client to use feelings and emotions to self-evaluate the current problems in the client’s life. After self-evaluation within the trusted relationship, the therapist helps the client to create a plan and commit to this plan for achieving successful goals. The core ideas of reality therapy include action, behavior, control and focus on the present. Reality therapy is used in school settings including school counseling and education. It is also used in coaching, treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and prevention or control of childhood obesity.
According to the Albert Ellis Institute, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is “the pioneering form of cognitive behavior therapy developed by Dr. Albert Ellis in 1955. REBT is an action-oriented approach to managing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disturbances. According to REBT, it is largely our thinking about events that leads to emotional and behavioral upset. With an emphasis on the present, individuals are taught how to examine and challenge their unhelpful thinking which creates unhealthy emotions and self-defeating/self-sabotaging behaviors.” REBT was originally called rational therapy. It is the first form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A core premise of REBT is that humans aren’t emotionally disturbed by unfavorable or adverse circumstances, but by how they formulate their views of the circumstances. These views are normally shaped by language, evaluative beliefs, and personal philosophies about themselves, others and the world.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is offered by a mental health professional within a therapeutic relationship. Attitudes, unhealthy emotions, and maladaptive behaviors are all examined and addressed in REBT. Using a variety of psychotherapeutic methods, the therapist helps the client to redevelop appropriate and healthy ways to approach circumstances in daily living. The client will normally learn the A-B-C-D-E-F model of psychological disturbance and change. The adversity (A) is recognized; the developed belief (B) in the person of the adversity is examined; the consequences (C) of that person’s beliefs are discussed; disputes (D) are made of A, B, and C; the effective (E) new philosophy or belief that develops in that person through the occurrence of D in their minds of A and B is implemented; and developed feelings (F) of one’s self occur either at point C or at point E. A few examples of conditions/problems that REBT therapists treat include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, relationship issues, addictions, phobias, OCD, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). REBT can be done in both individual therapy or group therapy.
Relational therapy, or relational-cultural therapy (RCT), is a type of psychotherapy that uses therapeutic approaches for mutually satisfying relationships while acknowledging and examining contributing social factors such as race, class, culture and gender. Psychiatrist Jean Baker Miller and psychologists Judith V. Jordan, Janet Surrey and Irene Stiver were the developers of RCT in the 1970s. Rational-cultural therapy was originally developed to help women with relationship issues, but is used in therapy today for all types of relationships. RCT helps clients look inwardly at the behaviors that may be causing problems in their relationships, and outwardly to gain knowledge of the other people in their relationships for better overall relational understanding, growth and healing.
Social, professional, family, friend, or couple relationships that have issues can all be addressed by relational or relational-cultural therapy. The overall goal of relational therapy is for the client and therapist to form a therapeutic relationship to help inform development of new ideas about relationships and assist in creating healthy relationships with others. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, poor body image, eating disorders, and other disorders causing relationship issues are also addressed in relational therapy. Counselors, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists can all use relational-cultural therapy in their practice. Mental health practitioners may have specialized credentials in relational-cultural therapy through organizations such as Jean Baker Miller Training Institute or The Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy.
Sandplay therapy is a type of play therapy used by psychotherapists that allows clients to freely play with sand, miniature figures and sometimes water to facilitate healing as the unconscious expresses itself. The therapist talks very little or none at all while the client makes “scenes” in the sandtray. After the client has completed the sandtray creation, he/she may or may not choose to talk about what was created. The therapist may then offer non-interpretive supportive responses to the client. Sandplay therapy is often used with children who have been victims of trauma, abuse or neglect; however, it is also used for teens and adults who struggle with expressing trauma through verbal communication. Sandplay therapy session numbers vary with as few as just one session up to several years, depending on the client and their needs.
The history of sandplay therapy dates back to the early 1900s when English pediatrician Margaret Lowenfeld started psychiatric treatments for children. She wanted children to be able to have a “free and protected space” to communicate needs and fantasies. Swiss Jungian psychologist and analyst Dora Kalff used Lowenfeld’s “World Technique” in the development of what is now known today as sandplay therapy. Sandplay therapists are typically mental health professionals who have received additional training and certification in sandplay therapy through the Sandplay Therapists of America under the International Society for Sandplay Therapists. Healthcare professionals such as doctors or nurses may also receive training and certification for sandplay therapy. The three types of certification for sandplay therapists are Registered Sandplay Practitioner (RSP), Certified Sandplay Therapist (CST) and Certified Sandplay Therapist Teacher (CST-T).
Solution-focused brief therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is short-term and goal-focused to help clients create solutions to problems by using positive psychology approaches. SFBT therapists use a variety of questions to help the client discover life goals and realize personal strengths that can be used in achieving goals. Solution-focused brief therapy can be used to treat all ages of people with issues such as child behavioral problems, family dysfunction, domestic abuse, child abuse, addictions and relationship problems. The ultimate goal of SFBT is to help clients solve problematic behaviors and improve overall well being by focusing on the present with goal setting, and on the future by visualizing preferred outcomes.
SFBT was developed by American social workers Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg in the late 1970s. There have been multiple evidence-based studies that have been published and support that the solution-focused brief therapy is an effective approach to the treatment of psychological problems. SFBT can be used in combination with other psychotherapeutic treatments, or on it’s own. Most therapists who use SFBT have received specialized training through institutes such as the Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy, the Denver Center for Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, or the Northwest Brief Therapy Training Center.
Somatic therapy, or sometimes referred to as somatic counseling or body psychotherapy, is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on somatic experience. Somatic experience uses therapeutic and holistic (the body viewed as a unified whole, instead of parts) approaches with the goal of bridging the perceived mind-body division sometimes unexplored in other forms of psychotherapy. Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies and are used in areas of dance, psychotherapy and spiritual practices. Somatic practices used within psychotherapy began in the late 1800s, and originated with the work of French psychologist, physician, philosopher, and psychotherapist, Pierre Marie Felix Janet. Other contributing psychologists include Hungarian psychoanalyst, Sándor Ferenczi; German physician and writer, Georg Groddeck; Austrian psychoanalyst, Otto Fenichel; and Austrian physician and psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich.
Somatic psychology has been defined in the late 1990s by Dr. Christine Caldwell (founder of and professor emeritus in the Somatic Counseling Program at Naropa University in Boulder, CO) as “the study of the mind/body interface, the relationship between our physical matter and our energy, the interaction of our body structures with our thoughts and actions.” Somatic, or body psychotherapy is done by a professional psychologist or mental health care worker that has advanced training in somatic/body psychotherapy. There are a wide variety of techniques that are used by the therapist in somatic therapy. A few examples of touch modalities that are practiced in somatic or body psychotherapy include acupressure, Alexander Technique, bioenergetics, core energetics, dance/movement, drama therapy, hypnosis, massage, neuroaffective touch, occupational/physical therapy, radical aliveness, reflexology, Reiki, Rolfing, somatic experiencing, transformative touch and yoga.
Structural Family Therapy
Structural family therapy was created by Argentina-born psychiatrist, Dr. Salvador Minuchin, in the 1960s. Dr. Minuchin worked for many years as a child psychiatrist both in Israel and in the United States. In the United States, he worked with his co-workers at the Wiltwyck School for delinquent boys (Esopus, NY) to develop the formulations that would eventually lead to the creation of structural family therapy. Structural family therapy (SFT) is a form of family psychotherapy that helps families to recognize and address family functioning problems. The ultimate goal is to prevent specific harmful sequences from happening by promoting the healthy restructuring of the family system.
A therapist using structural family therapy methods attempts to “join” the family system during therapy to better understand that family’s particular invisible rules and hierarchical structure of family functioning. With this knowledge, the therapist will be able to map out the family member relationships between each other or subsets of the family. The aim is to disrupt dysfunctional relationships through therapeutic intervention methods, causing family relationships to stabilize with healthier interactions. A therapeutic relationship between the family and the therapist is established, observation and mapping is done, and interventions are used by the therapist to help the family identify dysfunctional structural frames of reference and relationship interactions. Structural family therapy can be done by mental health professionals, and classes are typically built into marriage and family therapy degree programs. Many colleges and universities offer SFT classes that can be taken or added into most mental health degree programs. There are also training workshops available through the Minuchin Center For The Family, a non-profit training and consultation organization founded by Dr. Minuchin.
Systematic desensitization is a type of behavior therapy that uses coping strategies to help people overcome phobias and fears. It was created by Joseph Wolpe, a South African physiatrist in the mid-1900s. He had been enlisted in the South African army as a medical officer to help treat soldiers with what was called “war neurosis” (modern day PTSD). He noticed the treatments that were being offered were not effective. Through his work in research and experimentation, he eventually established systematic desensitization both in word and in theory. Mary Cover Jones was an American developmental psychologist who had done extensive work with using desensitization in helping children with fears. Wolpe was influenced by her work and elaborated on it with the formulation of systematic desensitization.
The three steps to systematic desensitization are establishing anxiety in a hierarchy, learning coping mechanisms, and using the coping mechanism in progressive exposure to anxiety-causing stimuli to desensitize the phobia. This form of psychotherapy can be used by trained mental health professionals for a variety of conditions such as anxiety, specific phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although the use of systematic desensitization has declined with the introduction of newer therapies such as flooding and implosive therapy, it is still widely known and accepted as a treatment therapy for helping people to overcome specific phobias.
Therapeutic intervention is action or practice used in applied psychology by a licensed mental health practitioner to help bring about positive emotional or behavioral change in a client. The willingness and ability of client participation may vary, which may require assistance from the client’s family members and/or friends. The goal of psychological therapeutic intervention is to help alleviate symptoms and target the cause of mental disorders.
Each type of therapy may have different types of interventions that can be used by therapists. A few therapeutic interventions used by therapists may include sandplay, primal therapy, virtual reality, transference interpretation, EMDR, equine therapy, hypnosis, mindfulness, and art therapy. (The Ten Coolest Therapy Interventions, PsychologyToday) Therapeutic interventions can be used with individuals or in a group setting. Mental health professionals who cannot prescribe medicine may collaborate with psychiatrists or medical doctors for psychoactive medication interventions. Individual client needs are addressed by therapists who may use a variety of therapeutic interventions.
Transpersonal psychotherapy is a form of psychotherapeutic treatment that is based on theories of transpersonal psychology, or spiritual psychology, which is a subfield of psychology that blends spiritual aspects of human experience with modern psychological theory. Client symptom relief, behavior change, and transpersonal awareness/work are all goals of transpersonal therapy. Anxiety, depression, addictions, and phobias are a few problems that can be treated by transpersonal therapy. Most people who seek transpersonal therapy as a treatment option are aware of the spiritual aspect of human existence. Most transpersonal therapists use a holistic (mind, body and spirit) approach to therapy.
Psychiatrists and psychologists such as William James, Carl Jung, Roberto Assagioli and Abraham Maslow were all early groundworkers for transpersonal studies. The earliest writing use for the term “transpersonal” was in 1905-1906 from lecture notes by William James at Harvard University. Many psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers and authors have contributed to the modern development of transpersonal therapy approaches. Hypnosis, energy and body focused techniques, archetypal imagery, meditation, guided visualization, hypnotherapy, dream work, art, music, journaling, mindfulness practices, and yoga are all a few examples of approaches that may be used in transpersonal therapy.
Yoga is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation” or “a system of physical postures, breathing techniques, and sometimes meditation derived from Yoga but often practiced independently especially in Western cultures to promote physical and emotional well-being.” Historically, Yoga was a practice of Hinduism in ancient India with the chief aim of “uniting” the human spirit with the Divine spirit. It is still presently practiced this way in many parts of the world. Throughout history, the term “Yoga” has been defined in various ways in the many different Indian philosophical and religious traditions. It has also been defined in different ways in the modern, Western part of the world.
“Yoga as therapy” is defined on Wikipedia as “the use of yoga as exercise, consisting mainly of postures called asanas, as a gentle form of exercise and relaxation applied specifically with the intention of improving health. This form of yoga is widely practised in classes, and may involve meditation, imagery, breath work (pranayama) and music.” Yoga teachers who may or may not have education in psychology can be certified as yoga therapists by taking classes through colleges accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. There are emerging master’s degree programs in yoga therapy offered by universities. A few conditions that are treated with yoga therapy include anxiety, pain, trauma, PTSD, and depression.