psychological therapies

There are many psychological therapies. But leaving aside their different perspectives, approaches and original theories, all aim at the same goal. The same therapeutic target, therefore: Facilitate the change towards well-being. So, instead of asking ourselves which of these psychological strategies is better or worse, we should first ask ourselves what we need.

19 types of psychological therapies

If we establish this hierarchy in the questions, it is therefore for a very simple reason. Thus, on many occasions, when a person becomes aware that he must consult a psychologist, he therefore continues to have erroneous ideas about psychological therapies . Often, he has in mind the classic scene of a patient lying in an armchair (couch), the therapist taking notes behind her.

The classic image of psychoanalysis continues to weigh heavily in the collective unconscious . Also, it is common that many people do not yet know that there are different psychological techniques, methods and schools. So, the recurring question “but, which is better” is classic? Therefore, before falling into the error of emphasizing one therapy rather than another, we must clarify certain ideas.

“Even when it’s not completely attainable, we get better at trying to pursue a higher purpose.”

Each pattern uses a series of distinctive techniques that will work better for some people than others. Thus, we cannot forget that many of them focus on a certain type of goal. That others generally do not work. Likewise, it is important to always keep in mind the general purpose for which all psychological therapies coincide.

The very term “therapy” comes from the Greek “therapeutikós” and means “one who takes care of another person” . In this case, the one who cares is an experienced professional trained for this purpose through a series of studies and practices. Its purpose is not exactly to “take care”, but to provide adequate strategies and tools so that people can achieve balance and well-being on their own.

We are dealing with an active and proactive process between two or more people . It’s an intense working relationship. Difficult, sometimes. A voyage of discovery. Of creativity. And interpersonal dynamics. Where it is not worth sitting. Where the therapist does not limit himself to giving advice or directives to his patient. Or customer. As Richard Lazarus explains , ” The goal of therapy is to teach people to see problems as challenges, not threats .”

Types of psychological therapies

Emotional problems, fears, traumas, personal crises, couple problems, childhood troubles… The reason that pushes us to seek a psychotherapist can be multiple; However, it  never hurts to know the different therapeutic strategies we have at our disposal .

All of them, if carried out by competent, experienced and well-trained professionals, can be effective. We already know that as patients or clients we need to take an active role; in turn, it is necessary to know what approach each psychological therapy uses to feel if at least this therapeutic framework can be adjusted to our characteristics and needs .

Let’s see here what the main psychological therapies are and what they can offer us.

1. Cognitive-behavioral therapies

Cognitive-behavioral therapies are based on understanding how people think (cognitive approach) and how we behave (behavioral approach) . The goal of this approach is to teach us that change is possible, but to achieve it, we must first learn to improve our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.

In this type of therapy, the specialist will seek to identify the patient’s problems, serving as a guide to changing dysfunctional thought patterns.

To achieve this, we perform a Functional Behavior Analysis to determine what are “maladaptive” behaviors.

Once identified, the cognitive behavioral therapist will use various techniques to train the person in problem solving, job training, cognitive restructuring, etc.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is very effective in the treatment of depression, phobias, anxiety disorders, traumatic processes…

On the other hand, other cognitive behavioral therapies include other therapeutic lines that are important to know.

2. Acceptance therapy and commitment

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is effective in addressing depression.

Its objective is to train us in psychological flexibility to improve the orientation of our thoughts and promote change.

She uses a series of practical exercises to recognize the emotional problem, see the effect they have on our thoughts and behaviors and thus assume a sincere and total commitment to ourselves.

3. Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy, as the name suggests, seeks to get us to notice our learned or conditioned behavior to see the impact they can have on our lives.

Once identified, the goal is clear: to help us “unlearn” to “recondition” ourselves towards healthier and more inclusive actions and behaviors.

4. Cognitive Analytic Therapy

Very useful in short and punctual treatments (based on 12 sessions) to improve certain behaviors, distorted thoughts, behavioral problems…

It is usually implemented in the mental health areas of many hospitals.

Cognitive analytic therapy links cognitive therapy to analytical psychology.

The goal is to help the patient understand why he thinks the way he does or why he behaves the way he does. This way, you have different coping techniques to initiate change.

5. Rational emotional-behavioral therapy

Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotional and Behavioral Therapy is useful for the treatment of anger, anxiety, frustrations, social phobia, shyness, and sexual dysfunctions.

Its goal is to solve emotional and behavioral problems through a more directive, more philosophical and empirical approach.

It is aimed at reason and rationality so that the person manages to become aware of their emotions, as well as their destructive and limiting thoughts . To those who are often at a more unconscious or automatic level and the person generally does not self-identify.

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