There are a large number of psychological therapies which can help people overcome their psychological problems. While some therapists use only one approach, others may use a mix of different psychological treatments to meet the needs of their patients.
However, despite the diversity of therapeutic offers, not all forms of psychotherapy have been shown to be equally effective; some have much more empirical evidence to support them, drawn from years of research into the effects they have on patients.
Therefore, we will see a review of the different types of psychological therapy that are most effective, taking into account the number of problems that have been shown to be useful and the degree of proof of their benefits.
Not all psychotherapies are the same
The vast majority of the population associates the figure of the psychologist with a person who writes in a notebook everything a patient says to him while sitting on a sofa. however, psychotherapy is not just about listening to a person and giving him advice. A psychotherapist is a mental health professional with a solid background in theoretical and practical training, and specializes in cognitive (thinking), affective (emotions) and behavioral (behavior).
This means that psychotherapy is not simply “an art” based on the sensitivity and empathy of the psychologist and the therapeutic bond he creates with the other person. The effectiveness of treatment depends, in large part, on the technical knowledge and skills of this professional, as well as the type of therapy applied.
The most effective types of psychotherapy
In the world of psychology, many theories and perspectives of therapeutic application coexist. In this article you can see the most effective types of psychotherapySince the effectiveness is related to the usefulness of each of them in the treatment of specific disorders: there are no therapies that work for everything.
1. Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most widely used psychological therapies today. This therapeutic model belongs to what is called the second generation of behavioral therapies, and is characterized by considering that abnormal behaviors have their origin in the existence of a series of distorted and dysfunctional thought patterns and thought processes, Which, along with the learned behavior patterns, cause great suffering to the patient.
More precisely, from this proposition it is understood that in order to generate therapeutic changes it is necessary to intervene both in the observable habits and routines and in the thought patterns that shape the way we interpret things. and set goals.
Thus, the goal of this type of therapy is to change beliefs, dysfunctional thoughts and habits with a number of cognitive and behavioral techniques. For example, training in social skills, exposure techniques, modeling or cognitive restructuring, among others.
2. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
If I said earlier that cognitive behavioral therapy belongs to the group of so-called second generation therapies, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is considered third generation therapy. These therapies focus on dialogue and the functional context of the person, and they seek acceptance and a non-judgmental attitude as a way to improve people’s emotional health.
The MBCT was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale, as an eight-week relapse prevention program in patients with depression, emotional stress, and anxiety. It combines meditation and mindfulness exercises with learning cognitive therapy skills, such as detecting and disrupting maladaptive thought patterns that lead to depression or anxiety.
3. Dialectical behavioral therapy
This psychotherapeutic approach belongs to the category of cognitive-behavioral therapies and has been specifically designed to intervene in borderline personality disorder, In the treatment has proven to be very effective. It combines elements of Mindfulness with the tools of cognitive-behavioral psychology (on which most of this proposal is based) and anxiety management strategies.
4. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy also belongs to third generation therapies and aims to create a full and meaningful life for the patient, accepting pain as normal. It has its origin in the theory of relational frameworks (RFT) and pays a lot of attention to language and cognition.
Therefore, he understands language as something which has positive potential for human beings, but which can also create a lot of suffering. It focuses on self-discovery and clarifying values as essential elements during therapy. It also questions what is socially or culturally accepted, as it provokes in the patient an attempt to control his private events and causes him great suffering.
5. Systemic therapy
Systemic therapy is mainly used for family and couple problems (but also in individuals), as it is a more holistic and integrative approach, taking into account the relationships between the members of a group. Therefore, a systemic therapist can work with multiple family members at the same time or with a partner, although it can also occur in one person, although therapy will continue to focus on the area of personal interactions.
The therapy focuses on the relationships within the family and the couple, and observes how they interact and what are their relational styles and modes of communication taking into account the different systems that make up their context. In addition, it is based on the constructivist stream, which means that it places a lot of emphasis on how meaning is constructed from personal experiences.
- To learn more: “Systemic therapy: what is it and on what principles is it based?”
6. Brief therapy
Brief therapy started with systemic therapy in the 1970s. It was around this time. when the latter began to be applied to treat a single individual, Without the whole family being present. This form of therapy is a short, simple yet effective model that empowers people through change through a series of procedures and techniques. The idea is not to spend a lot of effort and time on something that might have a faster solution.
7. Interpersonal psychotherapy
Interpersonal psychotherapy is a therapeutic model devised by Klerman, Weissman and colleagues, and is based on the critical analysis of the social elements that influence the development of psychopathologies. He works on the links between current symptoms and interpersonal issues, such as relationship problems.
The focus of attention on this form of therapy is current social relationships and how expectations within these relationships can cause pathological symptoms in a patient. Treatment is about solving relationship problems or find new relationships or activities as compensation.
It has been shown to be particularly effective in the treatment of cases of bulimia and binge eating, as well as in cases of major depression. A variation of this, called interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, is used to treat patients with bipolar disorder.
Technically, biofeedback is not so much a form of psychotherapy as it is a tool used in psychotherapy and, moreover, has a wider use. However, it is one of the most valuable resources that psychologists can use to intervene in certain problems.
Its application is relatively simple: it consists in making the person aware, in real time, of the psychological or physiological processes that take place in his body. In other words, that is to say a perception-reaction-perception loop is created which allows the person to more easily adjust his behavior (in part, involuntarily) to the desirable, to regain balance.
Biofeedback has been shown to be particularly effective in treating cases of chronic pain.
9. Training in relaxation techniques
In many cases, the usefulness of psychotherapy largely depends on how well the person learns to manage their emotions and regulate their physiological state. In this way, training in relaxation techniques is very versatileAs it can be applied in cases of chronic pain, phobias and many types of anxiety disorders.
On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that anxiety problems are very common and that they are very easily capable of contribute to the emergence of other mental health disorders. Thus, this therapeutic tool can be used to prevent various situations that would adversely affect well-being.
To learn more about this therapeutic option, you can read the following article: “6 Easy Relaxation Techniques To Fight Stress”.
10. Reminiscence therapy
This type of psychotherapy is widely used to treat cases of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases that affect memory and are at an early stage. For example, it is very effective in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, As it helps slow down the symptoms (in the sense that it slows down their progression).
Its role is to consolidate self-concept and strengthen mental processes related to the sense of self-identity, stimulate language and improve self-esteem.
- Change, DJ (2010). Empirical evidence on the use and effectiveness of videoconferencing telepsychiatry: implications for forensic and correctional psychiatry. Soc Sci Med 71: pages 1308 to 1315.
- Huhn, M .; Tardy, M .; Spineli, LM (2014). Effectiveness of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy for psychiatric disorders in adults A systematic overview of the meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry, 71 (6): pages 706-715.
- Wampold, BE; Flückiger, C .; Del Re, AC; Yulish, NE; Frost, ND; Pace, BT et al. (2017). Searching for the Truth: A Critical Review of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Meta-analysis. Research in psychotherapy. 27 (1): pages 14 to 32.