September 10, 2020
Every Brain is Different: How to Seek the Right Form of Counseling
Graphic illustration of a brain using a laptopSource: Envato Elements
Counseling allows patients to better understand their mental health and successfully manage their symptoms.
With the pandemic shifting more individuals towards telemedicine than ever before, digital treatment options have already demonstrated high-rates of efficacy over the years.
69 percent of patients who received cognitive behavioral teletherapy were very satisfied with their sessions and 42 percent were considered “recovered” by the end of a 2010 Behavior Therapy Journal study.
Needless to say, counseling has positive outcomes, even in a digital space. But therapists often implement various counseling styles, each with their own benefits depending on your needs.
By familiarizing yourself with the various treatment options available, you can seek a professional who specializes in a counseling style that best suits you.
Sponsorship Disclosure: This post was brought to you in part by BetterHelp, an online counseling platform that strives to expand access to professional, affordable, and convenient mental health care.
You can begin your journey towards better health by connecting with a licensed BetterHelp counselor that suits your needs.
Thank you for supporting our community and for supporting so many around the globe through your services.
The 5 Approaches to Psychotherapy
According to the American Psychological Association, psychotherapy is divided into five main categories:
- Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies
- Behavior therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Humanistic therapy
- Integrative or holistic therapy
Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Therapies
Originally founded upon the theories of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis focuses on developing a deeper understanding of oneself, emotions, and conflicts, says the American Psychoanalytic Association.
This counseling style approaches an increase in self-awareness by assessing your unconscious thoughts and feelings each session.
During these sessions, the therapist may ask you about your dreams and childhood experiences to help you release any repressed emotions that could be causing conflict in your daily life.
Psychoanalysis is typically utilized to treat depression and anxiety, although it may be implemented for the treatment of other conditions, as well.
Unlike psychoanalysis, behavior therapy is more focused on the here and now. A behavioral therapist helps you identify harmful behaviors and develop strategies to replace them with healthier ones.
For example, you might see a behavioral therapist to treat a particular phobia. The therapist will use techniques like desensitization, which gradually exposes you to said phobia until you no longer respond to it with fear.
On the other hand, cognitive therapy focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and learning how to change them.
These thought patterns could arise from an underlying anxiety disorder, substance abuse disorder, personality disorder, or a number of other conditions.
The therapist will help you understand how your thoughts are impacting your mood, relationships, and other aspects of your life. Then, you’ll work together to reduce your negative thought patterns with more neutral or positive ones.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a comprehensive approach that combines techniques from cognitive and behavioral therapy. It’s also one of the most common and well-studied practices in psychotherapy today, according to a 2016 Informed Health article.
Rather than just focusing on your thoughts and behaviors separately, the therapist will evaluate both. Together, you’ll integrate strategies that help you live a more balanced and restorative life.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is very dynamic and may be applied to an array of mental health conditions. It may also be used in the treatment of chronic pain and other physiological disorders, as they’re often comorbid with depression.
Instead of “correcting” the way you think and behave, humanistic therapy is centered around helping you reach self-acceptance.
It’s a more optimistic approach that’s designed to help you see your own potential. Humanistic therapy is founded on the idea that everyone is good deep down inside — regardless of how deep that goodness may be buried in an individual — and that everyone is capable of making positive choices.
During each session, a humanistic therapist may engage you in role-play, and re-enactment. Furthermore, the humanistic therapist will practice unconditional acceptance with you, even if they don’t always agree with your behavior.
Humanistic therapy is often successful in treating depression, relationship difficulties, trauma, psychosis, and the psychological impact of chronic health conditions, but it’s not as successful in treating anxiety or panic disorders.
Integrative or Holistic Therapies
Integrative therapists don’t affiliate themselves with any one of the aforementioned therapies. Instead, they combine techniques from all of them and tailor the treatment to fit your circumstances.
A holistic therapist provides “treatment for the mind, body, spirit, and emotions,” says a Therapy Directory article. “Holistic therapy simply refers to treating the whole person rather than an individual symptom.”
Both integrative and holistic therapists take a comprehensive and personalized approach to guiding you toward leading a more fulfilled life.
Understanding Different Counseling Styles
Within each broad category of psychotherapy, there are many different counseling styles, from interpersonal therapy and schema-focused therapy to group and family therapy.
These styles pull from the founding theories of the five main psychotherapy categories to provide more niche counseling.
You can learn more about the specifics of each counseling style and how you could benefit from them on BetterHelp. Their platform will also allow you to use this information to connect with a counselor who suits your individual goals.
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