Types of psychological therapies

Most people who have not studied psychology degree, when they hear the word psychotherapy the first thing they imagine is a patient lying on the couch and an old man (the therapist) with a notebook with what he says to him.

There is a lot of ignorance in the population about psychology and psychotherapy. Many do not know the difference between a psychologist, a psychoanalyst and a psychiatrist, or the difference between a psychologist and a coach, nor different types of therapy that exist.

Regarding this last point, the problem arises when they decide to go to psychotherapy and meet the different professional categories: psychoanalytic therapist, cognitive-behavioral therapist, systemic therapist … then they ask themselves: “What is this? this is?”.

In the world of psychotherapy there are different theoretical and practical perspectives which treat the problems differently.

For those who would like to know what types of psychotherapy there are, in this article we collect and explain the different psychotherapeutic approaches through a summary of the types of psychological therapy currently used.

The Benefits of Undergoing Psychological Therapy

Patients undergo psychological therapy for different reasons. But it is not easy to make the decision to attend a therapist consultation.

Unfortunately, there are still prejudices about this practiceMainly because of the misconceptions about what psychotherapy is and who it is for. In addition, many people believe that going to the psychologist is synonymous with being a weak person, although undergoing psychological therapy helps to be a stronger person emotionally and provides tools for better adaptation to complicated situations that may arise. day by day.

In short, psychological therapy brings these benefits:

  • It improves well-being and helps you feel better
  • Provides tools for better conflict management
  • It helps to change limiting beliefs
  • It allows you to live in harmony
  • Sessions are confidential, so secrets can be revealed
  • The psychologist will support you and is someone you can trust
  • Advise a qualified professional
  • He gives power to life
  • It helps to get to know each other better
  • If you are curious to learn more about the psychological benefits of psychotherapy, you can read the following article: “The 8 benefits of psychotherapy”

Reasons to undergo psychological therapy

Psychotherapy is effective in overcoming many psychological problems and in improving well-being. Despite the many studies that support its effectiveness, there are some people who, even in need of help, do not realize they have the problem or avoid facing reality.

The following list shows some signs that may indicate it’s time to go to the psychologist:

  • Nothing you have done so far seems to be working
  • Your friends or family are already tired of listening
  • You start to abuse substances to relieve negative symptoms
  • Your acquaintances are worried about you
  • Don’t stop thinking about the negative
  • You feel an aggression that you cannot control and you think everyone is against it
  • It’s hard to sleep

  • You don’t enjoy things as much and nothing motivates you
  • You can keep reading about them reasons to go to psychotherapy in this article: “The 8 Reasons Why You Should Go To The Psychologist”

Types of psychological therapy

If you have never been to psychotherapy, the experience can be a bit mysterious at first and even intimidating, as there are different types of psychotherapy with different ways of solving problems, and at first it can be difficult to know how. find your way there. these. Then we have explained to you the psychotherapeutic approaches or models that exist.

1. Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy

the psychoanalytic therapy finds its origin in the theoretical model proposed by Sigmund freud, Father of psychoanalysis. His theory explains the behavior of human beings and is based on the analysis of unconscious conflicts that arise in childhood. To understand dysfunctional thoughts, psychoanalysis emphasizes instinctive drives which are repressed by consciousness and remain in the subconscious affecting the subject.

the psychoanalyst is responsible for bringing unconscious conflicts to the surface through the interpretation of dreams, failed acts and free association. “Free association” has to do with emotional catharsis, and is a technique which aims to have the patient express, during psychotherapeutic sessions, all of his ideas, emotions, thoughts and images as presented to him, without them. repress. Once the patient has expressed himself, the psychoanalyst must determine which factors within these manifestations reflect an unconscious conflict.

This model of psychotherapy also focuses on defense mechanisms, Which are incorrect ways of resolving psychological conflicts and can lead to disturbances of the mind and behavior, and in the most extreme cases, to the somatization of the psychological conflict and the physical dysfunctions that express it.

if you want learn more about psychoanalysisWe recommend the following readings:

  • “Sigmund Freud: life and work of the famous psychoanalyst”

  • “Defense mechanisms: 10 ways not to face reality”

  • “Sigmund Freud’s Theory of the Unconscious”

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

the psychodynamic therapy follow the line that picks up the psychoanalytic thought of postmodernity. Therefore, it is derived from psychoanalysis, although rather possible, by focusing the intervention on certain conflicts that are striking in the patient’s current state.

Departing from the classical vision, he collects contributions such as the analytical approach of the self or that of the object relations of the Kleinian current. Besides the contribution of Melanie Klein, other psychologists like Adler or Ackerman have been involved in the development of psychodynamic therapy.

For the practice of this form of therapy, changes have been proposed in the embodiments of the therapy, however, the goal remains the same: help the client to “better understand” his hidden motivations and conflicts. Today, psychodynamic therapies still coexist with psychoanalytic therapies, the latter continue to focus on Freud’s point of view and are called “psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapies”.

the clearer differences between the two orientations they can be:

  • In psychodynamic therapy the typical weekly frequency of sessions is 1 or 2, In psychoanalytic therapy, it is 3 or 4.
  • the therapist assumes an active and direct position in psychodynamic therapy. In the psychoanalytic orientation, it is a neutral and non-intrusive approach.
  • The psychodynamic therapist advises and reinforces the non-conflicting aspects of the subject. The psychoanalytic therapist avoids giving advice and limits his interventions to interpretations.
  • In the psychodynamic approach, we use wide range of interventions including interpretation, education and support techniques. The psychoanalytic approach emphasizes the free association, interpretation and analysis of dreams.

2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy

of cognitive-behavioral perspective it is understood that thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect feelings, emotions and behavior. Therefore, this form of therapy combines different methods derived from cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. In other words, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) consists of a series of techniques that aim to teach the patient a series of skills to better manage different problems.

CBT is based on the idea that what we think about different situations affects how we feel and behave. For example, if we interpret a situation negatively, we will experience negative emotions as a result, which will cause us to behave inappropriately. It is the treatment par excellence for anxiety disorders such as phobias, as understood. in this case, a traumatic situation results in similar situations being interpreted as threatening. This causes the patient to avoid exposing himself to these situations due to the intense and irrational fear he feels.

To CBT the patient works with the therapist to identify and modify dysfunctional thought patterns. To identify the problem, the therapist performs what is called a functional behavior analysis. Functional behavior analysis attempts to discover the factors responsible for the production or maintenance of behaviors classified as unsuitable and the contingency relationship that is established between them.

Once the problem is detected and analyzed, different cognitive-behavioral techniques are used, such as social skills training, explanatory techniques, problem-solving techniques, cognitive restructuring, etc. The aim of these forms of intervention is to change patterns of behavior both in the way we think and feel and in the way we interact with others and the environment.

3. Humanistic therapy

the humanistic psychology it is considered the third wave of psychology, considering the cognitive-behavioral and psychoanalytic perspectives as the two predominant forces before the humanist. This appeared in the middle of the twentieth century, through the proposals and work of Abraham maslow I Carl rogers, mostly.

He is strongly influenced by phenomenology and existentialism. From the outset, it is emphasized that we can never directly experience “reality itself”, while the opposite occurs with the subjective aspects of which we are aware. The legitimate sources of knowledge are intellectual and emotional experience. From existentialism, this form of therapy collects a reflection on human existence itself.

Therefore, in this humanist perspective the individual is a conscious, intentional, constantly evolving beingMental representations and subjective states are a valid source of self-knowledge. The patient is considered to be the main actor in his existential research. This research forces him to go through a series of stages or subjective states in which he asks himself the “why” of what is happening to him, the meaning of what he is experiencing and what he can do to improve. his situation.

The humanist therapist has a secondary role of facilitator of the process, allowing the subject to find on his own the answers he seeks. One of the key concepts of this type of therapy is the self-realization of the human being.

Maslow’s pyramid and human self-realization

Maslow was the author of Maslow’s pyramid, Which is a psychological theory that explains human motivation. According to Abraham Maslow, our actions are motivated to meet certain needs. In other words, there is a hierarchy of human needs, and he argues that when the most basic needs are met, human beings develop higher needs and wants. At the top of the pyramid are the needs for self-actualization.

  • To learn more about Abraham Maslow’s theory, you can read this article: “Maslow’s Pyramid: The Hierarchy of Human Needs”

Carl Rogers and Person-Centered Therapy

Another famous humanist psychologist, Carl rogers, Develop what is called person-centered therapyThe goal is to allow the patient (whom Rogers prefers to call the client) to be in control of their own therapy.

Person-centered therapy it allows the client to enter into a process of becoming aware of the real experience and of restructuring himself, By establishing a strong therapeutic alliance with the therapist and by listening to the deep meanings of one’s own experience.

To achieve this, the therapist is:

  • Authentic / congruent. The therapist is honest with himself and the client.
  • empathetic. The therapist places himself at the same level as the client, understanding not so much as a psychologist but as a person whom he can trust. The therapist is able to put himself in the other’s shoes, and by active listening shows that he understands the client.
  • Shows unconditional positive consideration. The therapist respects the client as a human being and does not judge him.

4. Form of therapy

the Therapy figure was developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman in the 1940s, and it’s a type of humanist therapyAs he conceives of human beings, their goals and their range of needs and potentials. Therefore, from this position it is understood that the mind is a self-regulating and holistic unit, and is based on the basic principle of Gestalt psychology that “the whole is more than the sum of parts”.

Gestalt therapists use experiential and creative techniques to enhance patient self-awareness, freedom and self-direction. It is a therapeutic model that not only has its roots in Gestalt psychology, but is also influenced by psychoanalysis, Reich character analysis, existential philosophy, Eastern religion, phenomenology and Moreno’s psychodrama.

For many, Gestalt therapy is more than a therapeutic model, it is a true philosophy of life, which contributes positively to the way in which the individual perceives relations with the world. The present moment and the self-awareness of emotional and bodily experience are very important, and the individual is seen from a holistic and unifying perspective, integrating both its sensory, affective, intellectual, social and spiritual dimensions. In other words, he understands this in his overall experience.

Therapy sessions revolve around “insight” into the patient’s experiences, and encourage him to creatively explore how to find his own satisfaction in different areas of his life., And in this way, the patient can live and experience new solutions. It is more of an educational approach than a medical one. The therapist is not managerial, i.e. he does not tell the patient what to do, but uses the educational capacity of dialogue and is more concerned with the bond of trust with him, with the aim of increasing the authenticity of the relationship to allow the patient to explore the experience in its entirety.

5. Systemic therapy

Systemic therapy was taken into account the representation of reality seen from a holistic and integrative perspective, Where the important thing is the relationships and the components that flow from them. In therapy sessions, relationship and communication are very important in any group that interacts and affects the patient (or patients), understood as a system.

It is applied in the treatment of conceptualized disorders such as the expression of alterations in interactions, relational styles and modes of communication of a group, such as couples or families, but also individuals, taking into account of different systems that make up its context. .

He has a more practical than analytical approach to problem solving. It is not that important to know who has the problem (for example, who is having an assault), but focuses on identifying dysfunctional patterns in the behavior of the group of people, So redirect those models directly. In other words, it is about finding a balance between the systems.

Brief therapy (brief systemic therapy)

the brief therapy it develops from systemic therapy. because in the early 1970s it was suggested that the systemic model could be applied to one person even if the whole family was not attending. this signified the birth of a brief Palo Alto MRI therapy, Which is a set of procedures and intervention techniques aimed at helping individuals, couples, families or groups to mobilize your resources to achieve your goals as quickly as possible.

Brief therapy has brought about a radical change in psychotherapy, developing a brief, simple, effective, and effective model for helping people effect change.

Other types of psychotherapy

The psychotherapy models proposed to date are the best known and the most applied for psychological treatment. But they are not the only ones, as there are other forms of psychological therapy that have emerged recently and others that have evolved from the previous ones.

For example, narrative therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive-social therapy, hypnotic therapy, etc.

Bonus: mindfulness therapy

One model of psychotherapy which is rigorously current and which has generated great interest in scientific circles is mindfulness therapy. This brings together the concepts of Buddhist philosophy and the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and is in what is called the third generation or third wave of psychological therapies.

The purpose of mindfulness is for participants acquire a state of consciousness and calm which helps them to self-regulate their behavior and to know themselves better. In addition to accepting himself as he is and being in the present. But more than a set of techniques for being in the present moment, it is an attitude towards life. It is a coping style that stimulates personal strengths.

Mindfulness it provides patients with a method to learn to manage emotions, reactions, attitudes and thoughts so that they can deal with situations that arise in their life, through practice and enhancing mindfulness. With progress through the practice of mindfulness in the present moment and with an attitude of compassion towards oneself, certain positive attitudes develop in relation to mental state and emotions, coming to the control of freedom, freedom. self-knowledge and acceptance.

Bibliographical references:

  • Ackerman, N. (1970). Theory and practice of family therapy. Buenos Aires: Proteus.
  • Haley, J. (1974). Family treatment. Barcelona: Toray.
  • McNamee, S. and Gergen, KJ (1996). Therapy as a social construction. Barcelona: Paidós.
  • O’Hanlon, WH (1989). Deep roots. Basics of Therapy and Hypnosis Milton Erickson. Buenos Aires: Paidós.
  • Silverman, DK (2005). What Works in Psychotherapy and How Do We Know It ?: What Evidence-Based Practice Has To Offer. Psychoanalytic psychology. 22 (2): pages 306 to 312.
  • Strupp, H .; Binder, J. (1984). Psychotherapy in a new key. New York: Basic Books.
  • 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.

Leave a Comment