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If you’re thinking about getting therapy, you’re not alone. But where to start? There seems to be an overwhelming amount of different types of therapy out there, with therapists confidently proclaiming their therapy type is best.

There are numerous therapeutic approaches available to individuals seeking support and guidance for their mental and emotional well-being. Each type of therapy offers its unique perspective and techniques, providing a range of options to address specific concerns and promote personal growth. In this overview, we will explore 20 different types of therapy, highlighting their core principles, techniques, and potential benefits, with the aim of helping individuals make informed choices about their therapeutic journey.

Jump to a Type of Therapy:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Adlerian Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Existential Therapy

Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP)

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

Gestalt Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Motivational Interviewing Therapy (MI)

Narrative Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Reality Therapy

Schema Therapy

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

Somatic Therapy

Note: We will be continuing to add more types of therapy to this list.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, is an approach to psychotherapy that stems from behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. With acceptance and commitment therapy, clients learn to accept their inner emotions caused by hardships, and commit to making the required changes in their behavior to move forward in their lives.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the goal “of ACT is not elimination or suppression of these experiences. Rather, ACT emphasizes pursuit of valued life areas and directions, such as intimate relationships, meaningful work, and personal growth, in the face of these painful experiences.” ACT is a clinically effective treatment that can help clients suffering from: Depression, anxiety, OCD, addictions, substance abuse, stress, psychosis, and more.

Clinicians can use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) worksheets to effectively treat their clients. These worksheets provide clinicians with the appropriate tools to effectively establish a treatment plan throughout the therapy process. 

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an empirically supported mindful psychotherapy approach. Clinicians use this approach to guide patients to focus on the present moment and accept their thoughts and feelings. By doing so, patients can develop the appropriate coping skills to combat negative emotions and free them from repetitive obsessive negative thoughts. There are six core processes that work together to apply psychological flexibility. They are divided into two groupings; Mindfulness and acceptance, and commitment and behavior change. Mindfulness and acceptance encompasses acceptance, defusion, contact with the present moment, and self as context. Commitment and behavior change encompasses awareness in the present moment, self as context, values, and committed action. Below we will outline the six core processes when using ACT:

Acceptance

Contrary to natural instinct, the acceptance core process requires the patient to approach past negative experiences and feelings head on. Doing so provides the patient opportunities to practice allowing these experiences to exist rather than continuing avoidance of the situation. 

Cognitive Defusion

The cognitive defusion core process attempts to alter thoughts and feelings associated with these experiences and feelings. ACT doesn’t attempt to limit the exposure to these negative experiences; the goal of this core process is to alleviate negative fixation. 

Awareness

The awareness core process equips patients with the tools to be aware of the present moment without feeling the need to try to predict or lead the experience to their desired outcome. Doing so will allow the patient to experience things more directly, allowing for more flexible behavior and affording the patient to perform actions more consistent with the values they hold.

Self as Context

Self as Context teaches the patient the idea that one’s “self” exists outside of the current experiences happening. This idea is particularly important because it allows the patient to be aware of an experience with personal attachment or investment in it, exemplifying acceptance and diffusion.

Values

The values core process sets standards and reasonable goals for the patient to work toward while working through these situations. It evaluates what is most important to the patient in terms of how they want their life experience to be. Establishing values are crucial as they will help drive the patient’s ability to stay committed to their actions, in turn increasing their overall well-being and health. Values can cover the following:

Health

Community/social connections

Parenting

Romantic interests

Career

Education

Spirituality

Religion

Family

Leisure

Action

In the action core process, clinicians and patients work together to further expound upon practices that fulfill previously realized values. Commitment to these actions will assist in achieving long term goals consistent with their values. By acknowledging how behaviors affect the patient, lasting and recognizable positive changes are able to occur.

How Does ACT Work?

The length of time ACT takes ranges from 8 to 16 sessions depending on the individual’s treatment plan and progress. The clinician and patient collaborate throughout the process by setting the treatment plan, session agendas, goals, and commitment to mastering the application of skills ACT develops. This style of therapy requires the patient to play an active role through homework, active learning, and applying the skills learned in their everyday life. Upon the completion of each session the patient will leave with a clear plan and understanding of what to do between sessions. The conditions that ACT can be used for are the same as another popular form of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). However, their aim in their approach to retraining an individual’s thought process are on opposite spectrums. 

Which Conditions can ACT Treat?

Acceptance and commitment therapy can help treat a number of psychological disorders. Disorders such as

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Depression

Anxiety

Trauma

Addiction/substance abuse

ACT is successful in treating disorders such as these due to its ability to develop psychological flexibility through behavioral therapy. By developing a commitment to enact positive behaviors patients are able to face their problems head on rather than avoiding them. These skills allow long term success for the individual suffering. 

How Effective is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

ACT is an empirically backed form of therapy. The main component of this therapy that makes it so successful is the emphasis of mindful acceptance. Upon completion of treatment individuals are able to accept their problems and cope with stress and anxiety better. In turn, this improves their overall health and well-being. Studies regarding ACT show that acceptance/commitment training yields positive long-term results when combating psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, OCD, trauma, and addiction/substance abuse. Patients are able to improve their mental health, day-to-day functioning, and overall quality of life.

Final Thoughts on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy is an empirically validated form of therapy that has extensive research behind it. Due to its heavy emphasis on accepting life, its problems, and emotions as is, its ability to treat psychological disorders that have the potential of wreaking havoc long-term for individuals is highly successful in the long run. If you find an individual that exemplifies the characteristics of the conditions listed above and a more traditional route of therapy, such as, CBT is not working, think of using ACT to treat them.

Resources:

ACT Therapy Worksheets

ACT Therapy Activities

Find ACT Therapists

Get ACT Therapy Online

Adlerian Therapy

Clinicians can use Adlerian Therapy (AT) worksheets to effectively treat their clients. These worksheets provide clinicians the tools to effectively establish a treatment plan throughout the therapy process.

What is Adlerian Therapy?

Developed by Alfred Adler, Adlerian therapy is a short, goal oriented, and humanistic psychotherapy style that focuses on a person’s ability to manage feelings of inferiority relative to those around them. Adlerian therapy aims to help develop their individual personality and become more accepting of perpetual interconnectedness of all humans with society. Born in Vienna, Austria in 1870, Alfred Adler began studying medicine and became an ophthalmologist 1895. After entering the realm of psychiatry, Adler would go on to become compelled by Sigmund Freud’s work in human behavior and concepts of psychoanalysis. Entering Freud’s early “Inner circle” in 1907, Adler was invited to join Freud’s discussion group, allowing him to be around what is considered to be the foundation of the psychoanalytic movement. Eventually separating from Freud and his closer followers due to differences in theoretical beliefs, Adler continued deeper into his study of the entire individual in relation to psychoanalysis which would establish the School of Individual Psychology.

How Does Adlerian Therapy Work?

Emphasizing a patient’s ability to manage feelings of inferiority in relation to others, Alder believed that patients would be more responsive to treatment when feeling encouraged, respected, and maintaining positive feelings of adequacy. Contraroly, those feeling discouraged or inadequate may form maladaptive behaviors that produce negative things like competition, defeat and withdrawal. Adler theorized that inferiority and inadequacy may stem from one’s birth order and social value within their family dynamic or presence of a physical limitation or poor social empathy. Adlerian therapy focuses sharply on belief and behavior patterns developed throughout adolescents. Adlerian theory states that self awareness and behaviors directly correlate with how one perceives themselves and their position within social structures ranging from their own family to larger society. Focusing on these patterns, clinicians aid patients in developing the tools needed to build a stronger self-esteem and meaning, building self worth and establishing self-rewarding changes. Clinicians provide patients the ability to better understand things that influence their lifestyle and choices by instilling new skills and behaviors. Usually spanning over less than 20 sessions, Adlerian therapy consists of 4 main stages:  

Engagement

The first stage of adlerian therapy is known as engagement in which clinicians establish a strong, trusting relationship. Throughout this stage clinicians work to create an encouraging partnership with patients. By working together, clinicians cultivate a symbiotic, collaborative effort to address challenging problems areas and processes within treatment.

Assessment

In the assessment stage of treatment, clinicians begin to learn more about the patient’s background and childhood experience. As Adlerian theory strongly focuses on birth order and early childhood, clinicians inquire about the patient’s family and personal history, beliefs, feelings and childhood memories. Clinicians are able to better understand and explain some less understood aspects of the patient’s lifestyle and thought processes.  

Insight

The third stage of Adlerian therapy clinician assists patients in further understanding why they do the things they do and think the way they think. Clinicians use various methods like questioning and adlerian therapy worksheets to achieve better understanding of events and feelings patients may have felt in the past that negatively affect them currently. 

Reorientation

The reorientation stage of this therapy style consists of clinician helping patients to cement new, more positive thoughts associated with the events, feelings, and beliefs that were explored during the insight phase. By establishing new ways of thinking of these situations, patients can derive more fruitful, positive feelings from them. With the use of active strategies that can be implemented throughout daily routines and recurring thoughts, clinicians are able to help encourage and reinforce the use of the patient’s newly developed tools.

While seen to be effective in its use alone, adlerian therapy or approaches are used in conjunction with many other types of therapy such as art therapy, children’s to adult therapy, individual, couples and family therapy.  

Conditions Adlerian Therapy Helps With

Adlerian therapy aims to treat those with poor self-image. With most patients reporting low self-evaluations, clinicians find that their patients are severely in need of encouraging, future-oriented counseling. Adlerian therapy has been noted in being an effective treatment for those suffering from:

Anxiety

Depression

Eating disorders

Personality disorders

Conduct disorders

Career issues

Low self-worth and self-esteem

schizophrenia 

How Effective is Adlerian Therapy?

With its origins dating back to the early 1900’s, Adlerian therapy and theory has been recognized widely as an effective treatment for a multitude of mental health issues and personality disorders. As Adlerian therapy and concepts in a multitude of different applications, many studies report improvement in patients’ aptitude for social adjustment. A recent study conducted in South Korea illuminates the effectiveness of Adlerian therapy in treating women suffering from a culture-bound syndrome which stems from the suppression and somatization of anger in South Korean culture known as Hwa-byung. Hwa-byung manifests itself with physical, psychological, and behavior symptoms like:

Breathlessness

Headache

digestive problems

Hate

Anxiety

Resentment

Depression

Behavioral impulses

Overeating

Drinking

The study showed that patients that received Adlerian therapy showed greater decreases in Hwa-byung symptoms than those that received others. The results of the study demonstrate significant change in severity of diagnosis for a large portion of the intervention group.

While Adlerian therapy is a well tested and used therapy style, it may not be suitable for some patients. For some patients, intensive exploration of troubling and traumatic childhood events can be more detrimental than beneficial. Some researchers also note that Adlerian therapy may require a level of insight that can be hard to achieve for patients suffering from more severe symptoms.

Final Thoughts on Adlerian Therapy

Created by Alfred Adler in the early 1900’s, Adlerian Therapy is a proven, effective evidence based therapy technique that aims to help patients identify things in their past that affect their lifestyle currently. Through guided reflection of their childhood experiences, beliefs, and feelings, clinicians are able to guide patients and improve self-worth and self-esteem in a supportive, encouraging, holistic environment.

Resources:

Adlerian Therapy Worksheets

Get Adlerian Therapy Online

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used by mental health professionals worldwide for many disorders. CBT is a form of psychotherapy in which patients meet with their therapist to talk about their issues. Their therapists help guide them in becoming more aware of their negative thought processes and help them develop healthy coping mechanisms to better combat their negative thoughts and tackle their issues in a more coherent and effective way. It is the most..

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