Imagine Health

Types of Therapy: CBT

Therapy involves meeting with a therapist to resolve a range of issues that might include problematic behaviours, beliefs, feelings or relationship issues. This involves collaborative treatment in a supportive environment between a person or group and a neutral, non-judgmental and qualified mental health professional. This professional might be a psychologist, counsellor or psychiatrist.

There are many different approaches to psychotherapy, including:

    • Psychoanalytic – This was the first method to be declared psychotherapy. Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud and encourages the verbalization of all thoughts, including free associations, fantasies and dreams. The aim of this type of therapy is to release repressed emotions and experiences.
    • Psychodynamic – The primary focus of this therapy is to reveal the unconscious content of a client’s mind in an effort to ease psychological stress. The psychodynamic approach is similar to psychoanalysis but is more concise and less intense.
    • Behavioural – Based on classical conditioning, behavioural therapy aims to break the association between a stimulus and an undesired response. It focuses on current problems and behaviour and attempts to remove difficult behaviour to enhance cognitions, interactions and emotional responses.
    • Existential – This is a philosophical method of psychotherapy. It suggests that people’s awareness of their own existence can create conflict and feelings of isolation.
    • Humanistic – This type of therapy adopts a holistic approach. It encourages an individual to view themselves as a ‘whole person’ and to focus on creativity, free will and human potential.
    • Family/Systemic – This therapy includes family, marriage and group counselling. It aims to promote change  in terms of the systems of interaction between each person in therapy.
    • Transpersonal – This type of therapy focuses on the health of an individual’s spirit rather than their mind or body.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Another type of psychotherapy is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT has become an effective mainstream psychosocial treatment option for people struggling with a number of problems. It was formed in the 1960s by a psychiatrist, Aaron Beck,  by integrating cognitive therapy techniques with behavioural approaches.

CBT is a short term psychotherapy taking five to ten months for most emotional problems. Clients attend one session per week, each session lasting approximately 50 minutes. CBT is aimed at changing patterns of thinking or behaviour that are the causes of people’s problems, and so change the way they feel. CBT works by focusing on and changing the thoughts, images, beliefs and opinions that an individual holds onto i.e. a person’s cognitive processes. These processes are then examined to reveal how they relate to the way a person behaves. CBT shows clients a set of principles which they can use anytime they need them and which last them a lifetime.

CBT involves many effective practices and perspectives that can positively change how individual views themselves and the world. CBT can help an individual become more positive with regards to behaving and thinking about the past, present and future. CBT has all sorts of tools for helping clients and has been proven to benefit several different mental health and physical problems, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, stress-related disorders, depression and many more.

If you are thinking of receiving therapy, have a look for yourself at which one you feel might suit you best. Consult your GP for further advice.

Written by Alannagh Kelly, Assistant Psychologist