Types of Therapy
You might be thinking about counselling, perhaps because you are struggling to cope with a change in your life or because something is upsetting and preventing you from moving on. If so, this page gives you a short introduction to some types of therapy available through counselling.
Counselling is practised by a qualified and trained therapist and is usually seen as a standalone and distinctive form of therapy. These days, counselling is also the name given to several talking therapies. Although there are many approaches in counselling, from a client’s point of view they all talking therapies share one thing in common – you talk about your issues with the therapist. This is often carried out in a one-to-one setting, in the safe space of a therapy room. It can also be done by phone or via Skype or other online meeting forum. Some people may find the technology a barrier to open communication, but it has the benefit of being carried out at a time suitable to both parties without the need to travel to a therapy room. In addition, some counsellors provide support using home visits, using a suitable space at the client’s home. It depends on the type of therapy offered in addition to the needs, individual circumstances and expectations of the client.
Although the setting is important for clients to feel comfortable and more able to talk about their feelings and emotions, the type of therapy offered is also key, so what types of therapy are available?
Types of Therapy: Talking Therapies
There are several talking therapies and one approach may be more suitable than another when working with certain conditions. In addition, individuals might respond more successfully to a different type of therapy for an individual issue or problem. As a client, although you can refer yourself to a private counsellor for talking therapy without discussing it first with your GP, this is always advisable. Also, your GP might identify underlying medical conditions for some issues such as depression and panic attacks, which would be difficult to overcome through counselling alone. Although it’s not compulsory, if you are looking to access therapy outside a private practise via the NHS, you will usually need to go through your GP.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT has a record of working successfully in tackling several issues including anxiety and phobias. Although other medical conditions may also be a factor, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can also help people suffering with depression and panic attacks. Once again, a discussion with your GP may be the best starting point if you are concerned about these. CBT concentrates on identifying solutions to problems rather than dwelling on their causes and can be helpful for people trying to cope with obsessive behaviour and compulsive behaviour. Finally, its approach is to change behaviour by making you think differently about current problems and issues.
Types of Therapy: Person-centred or client-centred
This type of therapy uses the standpoint that people can reduce negative responses and emotions and move forward with issues in their own way, if the conditions are right. It works well if you are motivated to build greater self-confidence or relationships with others. To support this, the counsellor provides empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard in order to create the right conditions for change, rather than identifying a path and providing solutions. Encouraged by the therapist, you will start to find your own solutions to the problems you face.
Person-centred or client-centred therapy has proved effective for people trying to cope with grief and loss, anxiety, stress and depression. If you are looking for a counsellor who offers person-centred therapy, it is important that you feel comfortable with them. They are more likely to provide the right conditions and show greater empathy, which in turn will encourage you to talk more openly. After all, the success of this type of therapy relies on you as the client doing more of the talking as part of the discovery process.
The term integrative therapy is used more to describe a movement or approach within psychotherapy rather than to define a type of therapy itself. It was developed from the standpoint that a single way of tackling an issue may not be the best fit for a client, and that this may not always produce the best result. Typically, an integrative approach in counselling will be formed from other proven models such as person-centred, psychodynamic counselling and CBT.
From the therapist’s point of view integrative therapy provides flexibility when working with you, and there is no pre-defined formula for how to blend different techniques. Counsellors can use disciplines from a range of models to find a treatment that is effective. Integrative therapists also don’t have to self-identify as having one type of approach. Used with adults and children, integrative therapy has proved to be effective for conditions including anxiety and depression.
The humanistic approach to counselling has been successful in treating low self-esteem and general low mood as well as anxiety, panic disorder and depression. Like integrative therapy it is often a combination of approaches, using techniques such as transactional analysis, person-centred, existential therapy and gestalt counselling to enable clients to see how their character and psychological makeup can be used to tackle issues. As such, humanistic therapy is more about self-development in the current moment and not so much an exploration of thoughts, events and feelings from the past.
It is a non-directive approach and relies on the skill of the therapist to encourage you to gain an self-awareness, concentrating on your personal potential and positive choices. Like other talking therapies, the humanistic approach requires the counsellor to create a non-judgemental and safe space in which you can self-identify and build mental and emotional strength. Associated with the work of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, humanistic therapy is considered one of the newer approaches and has been practised for around fifty years.
Are you thinking about counselling?
If you are looking for counselling in Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sutton Coldfield or the surrounding areas of the West Midlands then please get in touch via the Contact Me page. We can discuss how to work together and resolve the issues you are facing. Any contact will be treated in line with the BACP’s ethical framework and in the strictest confidence.