Therapists and counsellors use a variety of models to understand and support people who are seeking help. The following are the models that I draw on, but other therapists and counsellors may use others, too. Find a person to talk to who is familiar with the types of therapy that would best help you. Ultimately, the work that you do with your therapist will be most helpful if you feel a connection with them enough to open up and be vulnerable.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that identifies a problem, and aims to overcome that problem by developing a goal. From that goal, we can delve into your thoughts and beliefs, and look at how they may have an impact on your choices and actions. It may also include Exposure therapy, which helps clients to overcome their distress by exposing them to the source of it, without causing them harm.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
Solution Focused Brief Therapy is client-centred, strengths-based, and focuses on the present moment. It helps clients to to consider what would make their situation better, envision a life that they would like to have, and make a plan towards that goal.
Narrative Therapy is focused on clients’ strengths, and recognizes the person as separate from the problems they face. With this approach, the therapist can help clients identify their dreams, values, goals, and skills that define who they really are.
Mindfulness was developed in the hospital system, to help people cope with the stresses of being in the hospital. It teaches meditation techniques, to help clients be present in the moment. The reality is that no one can continually stay in the present moment. Instead, Mindfulness is about being able to self-regulate your attention, and approaching your thoughts and feelings from a position of curiosity and openness.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
With Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the therapist makes no attempt at helping to reduce the symptoms. Instead, the symptoms reduce as a by-product of the therapy. Instead, clients learn to reduce the impact and influence of unwanted thoughts and feelings through the effective use of Mindfulness.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
Interpersonal Psychotherapy is attachment-based, and focuses on reducing problematic symptoms through improving how clients function interpersonally.
Trauma-informed vs. Trauma-focused
If you have experienced psychological trauma, there are therapies specifically developed to help you to process it. Some therapists are trauma-focused, meaning that they help clients to process the trauma and move past it. Only therapists highly experienced in trauma-focused therapy should be helping you to process your trauma. Otherwise, the client is at further risk of being re-traumatized. If you are struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Complex PTSD, or Developmental Trauma, I recommend looking for someone who can do this, rather than a trauma-informed therapist, who recognizes how psychological trauma has an impact on the individual. A trauma-informed therapist also considers common responses to trauma.