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Types of talking therapies

Some of the most common talking therapies are;

Arts or Creative Therapies

Using creativity such as painting or music, etc. to help explore and communicate difficult feelings.


Psychodynamic Therapy

A treatment developed from psychoanalysis during which you speak about anything on your mind to explore patterns in your thoughts or behaviour; often this will include thinking back on your childhood and past. In this type of therapy you work to become aware of your unconscious mind and the connection this has with your thoughts, feelings and actions. This is a longer term approach as compared to some others.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This is a shorter term and more targeted approach of therapy; CBT is based on the idea that certain feelings of beliefs you have about yourself or situations in your life can lead to distress. In sessions, you will work on identifying patterns in your behaviour and thoughts and learning about how they may be affecting you. You will then explore different ways to replace any negative thoughts or behaviours with those that are more accurate and helpful. CBT will not spend as much time addressing past events but more a focus on what is going on in the ‘here and now’; it will often include practise outside of sessions.


There are also a number of other therapies under CBT such as Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) which is based on CBT skills but with a focus on acceptance and emotional regulation. As well as Rational Emotive Therapy which looks at replacing irrational thoughts with more rational ones to improve wellbeing.


Humanistic Therapy

This approach looks at how your view of the world will impact the choices you make and especially those that cause distress; at its basis is the view that you are the best person to understand your needs and experiences so your therapist will help you to better understand what is going on for you and offer support around this but not interpret your feelings for you. A therapist will guide you toward the goal of living a fulfilling life by encouraging you to be your true self, exploring ways to grow and be accepting of yourself as well as discussing any current issues.

Therapies within the humanistic approach are Person-Centred Therapy, this holds the ‘core conditions’ of bringing empathy, non-judgement and congruence into each session to allow a safe space for a person to be their true self in a place where there is no risk of disapproval or criticism.


Gestalt Therapy

This looks at unresolved issues and considers how they impact your emotional wellbeing; it has a focus on the present and will sometimes include role-playing scenarios in session to play them out in a safe space. Another approach is Existential Therapy which looks at concepts such as freedom and responsibility around the choices you make as well as looking at what different parts of life mean to you and finding greater meaning in them.


This is just a quick run through of some of the key concepts but good places to find out more information about different types of therapy is The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) A-Z list of therapeutic approaches as well as the video series from The Counselling Directory on types of therapy 

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