Therapy types briefly explained

Therapy types

Therapy types

Every person is unique and every person responds differently to feedback, comments and compliments. For one person receiving feedback is very helpful, whereas for someone else receiving feedback is the same as receiving criticism. For some people receiving a compliment is very welcome, whereas for others a compliment may raise suspicion. The fact that every one is unique, makes the choice between therapy types and the right therapist very important.

Therapy types have there own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, a strength of cognitive behavioural therapy is that it is problem focused, action oriented and structured. A weakness may be that there is less room for more in depth analysis of certain issues. In schema therapy a strength is that there is room for in depth analysis of certain issues. A weakness may be the therapy length. In EMDR therapy a weakness may be that the therapist is required to be less empathetic, than in other therapies. A strength is that the therapist does not have to know the ins and outs of a PTSD, phobia or trauma to successfully treat you for it. The strength of acceptance and commitment therapy is the focus on the acceptance of life as it is, with all it’s positive and negative life events. A weakness may be that it is not as structured and action oriented as for instance cognitive behavioural therapy. In short: all therapy types have there own strengths and weaknesses.

Together with the therapist it is important to decide which therapy suits you best. Please note that, for some psychological issues there are limitations in regards to the therapy types (some therapy types take more sessions than other therapy types to solve a psychological issue). And before deciding which of the therapy types you choose, make sure that there is a match between you and the therapist. At Barends Psychology Practice online counseling is being offered. The first session is free of charge and is used to get to know each other a little better. Read more about online therapy fees and availability.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a combination of two therapy types: cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. CBT is problem focused and action oriented. By using CBT techniques the therapist helps the individual to challenge their beliefs and patterns (behaviour and thoughts) and replace the erroneous ways of thinking such as black and white thinking, overgeneralizing and catastrophizing. The theory behind CBT suggests that irrational cognitions (thoughts) produce dysfunctional behaviour (think of aggression or avoidance). By challenging these irrational cognitions the therapist and client not only affect the way the client thinks and interprets but also their behaviours.

Schema Therapy (ST)

Schema therapy is used in treatment of personality disorders and chronic disorders when clients do not respond to other types of treatment. ST is an integrative psychotherapy which combines theories and techniques of the therapy types CBT, Gestalt therapy, interpersonal therapy, psycho-dynamic therapy and attachment theory. In this treatment the therapist and client work with schemas, coping styles and modes. Schemas refer to early maladaptive schemas and are defined as “self-defeating life patterns of perception, emotion, and physical sensation” (Young, 2003, p. 6). Modes are mind states into which we can shift quickly or more stably group schemas and coping styles into a temporary “way of being” (Young, 2003, p. 37). The aim of ST is to acknowledge and break old dysfunctional schemas.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) believes that everyone has destructive thoughts and behaviours and that psychological suffering is caused by experiential avoidance, cognitive entanglement and the resulting rigidity. This is why, according to ACT, people are not living according to their values in life. ACT combines mindfulness and acceptance strategies with behaviour changing and devotion strategies. Patients are taught to focus on processes they can directly change (own behaviour), instead of trying to get control over experiences or sensations they cannot change directly.
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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

EMDR therapy is used in the treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and of traumatic events that do not meet the specific criteria of PTSD (e.g. when you have been systematically humiliated in the past and when this is currently affecting your behaviour of today). EMDR also is effective in treating phobias. EMDR is different from other treatments because it is considered to be an emotionally less invasive treatment. It can reduce the symptoms of trauma more quickly than other treatments (for example CBT). The theory behind EMDR suggests that traumatic events are not sufficiently processed causing the traumatic experience to repeat itself (sometimes randomly, sometimes by seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling something). EMDR facilitates more effective, complete processing of the event. In EMDR it is very common for the therapist to express little empathy during the sessions, compared to other therapy types.
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Competitive Memory Training (COMET).

COMET is not considered one of the therapy types, but rather a training. COMET is a training for clients who suffer from low self esteem. The theory behind COMET suggests that knowledge, i.e. a certain response learned in the past will never be “unlearned”. It is however, according to this theory, possible to learn the opposite (response). Depending on how often you apply the new learned response, the stronger the new associations with this response become and the greater the chance that the new learned response becomes an automatic one. Old responses will be used less and less and eventually “forgotten”. COMET uses techniques involving the body posture, imagery and music.