- Psychodynamic focuses on underlying causes for distress, such as family, childhood and school experiences. You may finish in 12 weeks; you may still want to see your therapist years later. Fans of psychodynamic believe it helps them understand themselves better; therapists tend not to share their own experiences, but they are not silent (that’s psychoanalysis, which is far less common).
- Humanistic focuses on personal development. Therapists are empathetic and will share their own experiences. Brands include Existential, Gestalt, Person-centred and Core Process.
- Integrative therapists use a mix of humanistic therapies and other training, such as psychodynamic. Transactional Analysis is one of the styles often included in the term ‘integrative’.
- Transpersonal covers styles such as Jungian and psychosynthesis, which set out to involve the whole of the person – emotional, physical, mental and spiritual – in the therapy. The aim is to encourage personal growth and tap into creativity. There is much more of a spiritual focus than in most other forms of counselling or therapy.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on overcoming negative thought-patterns that lead to unhappiness. It is usually short-term and can involve homework. It has won the recommendation of the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence for conditions including depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and panic attacks.
- New styles are evolving all the time, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and eye movement desensitisation (EMDR). Part of therapists’ training involves keeping up to date with new methods of treatment.
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