Overview & Types of therapy

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.

It is important to emphasize that advances in CBT have been made on the basis of both research and clinical practice. Indeed, CBT is an approach for which there is ample scientific evidence that the methods that have been developed actually produce change. In this manner, CBT differs from many other forms of psychological treatment.

CBT is based on several core principles, including:

– Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
– Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
– People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.

CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns like:

– Learning to recognize one’s distortions in thinking that are creating problems, and then to reevaluate them in light of reality.
– Gaining a better understanding of the behavior and motivation of others.
– Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
– Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence is one’s own abilities.

CBT places an emphasis on helping individuals learn to be their own therapists. Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, patients/clients are helped to develop coping skills, whereby they can learn to change their own thinking, problematic emotions and behavior.

CBT therapists emphasize what is going on in the person’s current life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about one’s history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life.

Science-Based Outcomes

Identifying negative thoughts and emotions, Preventing addiction relapse, Managing anger, Coping with grief and loss, Managing chronic pain, Overcoming trauma and dealing with PTSD, Overcoming sleep disorders, Resolving relationship difficulties.


What is counselling?

Counseling is a specialty within professional psychology that maintains a focus on facilitating personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span.  The specialty  pays particular attention to emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns.

The practice of Counseling Psychology encompasses a broad range of culturally-sensitive practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and increase their ability to function better in their lives. With its  attention to both to normal developmental issues and problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders, the specialization holds a unique perspective in the broader practice-based areas of psychology.

Counseling Psychologists serve persons of all ages and cultural backgrounds in both individual and group settings. They also consult regularly with organizations seeking to enhance their effectiveness or the well-being of their members.

Interventions used by Counseling Psychologists may be either brief or long-term; they are often problem-specific and goal-directed. These activities are guided by a philosophy that values individual differences and diversity and a focus on prevention, development, and adjustment across the life-span.

Science-Based Outcomes

Improved communication and interpersonal skills, Greater self-acceptance and self-esteem, Ability to change self-defeating behaviors/habits, Better expression and management of emotions, including anger, Relief from depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, Increased confidence and decision-making skills, Ability to manage stress effectively, Improved problem-solving and conflict resolution abilities.


What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing.

‘Psychotherapy’ and ‘counselling’ are very similar, but not exactly the same. Both describe a process of helping someone to come to terms with and work out solutions to their problems. However, they vary in the approach used, and underpinning model and thinking.

Counselling is a helping approach that highlights the emotional and intellectual experience of a client: how a client is feeling and what they think about the problem they have sought help for.

Psychotherapy, however, is based in the psychodynamic approach—it encourages the client to go back to their earlier experiences and explore how these experiences affect their current ‘problem’.

A psychotherapist, therefore, helps the client to become conscious of experiences which they were previously unaware of. Counsellors, however, are less likely to be concerned with the past experiences of the client and are generally trained in a humanistic approach, using techniques from client-centred therapy.

Science-Based Outcomes

Have a safe and private place to talk about sensitive personal issues, Better understand symptoms and diagnosis, Decrease or eliminate depression and anxiety, Reduce and manage negative or destructive thoughts, feelings and behaviors, Understand and process effects of traumatic events, Reduce impulses and actions of self-harm or aggression, Improve sleep, nutrition and physical activity patterns, Become more confident and at ease in social situations.


What is Role Playing therapy?

In psychology and education, role-playing is an educational tool that is used to visualize and practice different ways of handling a situation. In this method, each participant takes a role or persona and acts and reacts to situations and other participants in the exercise. This can be used as a means of illustrating or rehearsing behaviors so that the participants can learn new behaviors or alternative behaviors.

Whatever your native social skills capabilities may be, you can improve them with practice. Your degree of social skill may never be completely fluent or polished, but it is not necessary that this occur for you to realize gains in the quantity and quality of your relationships. Even small improvements are sometimes enough.

A variation on the theme of role-playing is called Fixed Role Therapy. In fixed role therapy, you act as though you have certain characteristics that you aspire to have, but don’t currently have. For a period of time set by yourself, you pretend to have these desired characteristics as you go about your life and interact with people. For example, if you are a shy person, you act as though you are more outgoing. The purpose of fixed role therapy is not to help you develop a fake personality, but rather to allow you the experience (and practice) of living your life from another perspective which you would normally never consider.

Science-Based Outcomes

Creative problem-solving, Develop listening skills, Build confidence.


What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to reduce distress and conflict by improving the systems of interactions between family members. While family therapists often seek to have all family members (affected by the problem) in the room, that is not always possible or necessary. What distinguishes family therapy from individual counseling is its perspective or framework, not how many people are present at the therapy session. This type of counseling views problems as patterns or systems that need adjusting, as opposed to viewing problems as residing in the person, which is why family therapy is often referred to as a “strengths-based treatment.”

“Family” is defined by the modern family therapist as anyone who plays a long-term supportive role in one’s life, which may not mean blood relations or family members in the same household. Family relationships are viewed as important for good mental health, regardless of whether all family members are participating in the therapy.   It is an ideal counseling method for helping family members adjust to an immediate family member struggling with an addiction, medical issue or mental health diagnosis. It is also recommended for improving communication and reducing conflict.

Other common reasons for seeking family therapy include:

– When a child is having a problem such as with school, substance abuse, or disordered eating
– A major trauma or change that impacts the entire family (i.e. relocation to a new house, natural disaster, incarceration of a family member)
– Unexpected or traumatic loss of a family member
– Adjustment to a new family member in the home (i.e. birth of a sibling, adoption, foster children, a grandparent entering the home)
– Domestic violence
– Divorce
– Parent Conflict

Science-Based Outcomes

Develops and maintains healthy boundaries, Fosters cohesion and communication among family members, Promotes problem-solving through an understanding of family patterns and dynamics, Builds empathy and understanding, Reduces family conflict.


What Is Meditation?

Meditation is a mental exercise that trains attention and awareness. Its purpose is often to curb reactivity to one’s thoughts and feelings, which, though they may be disturbing and upsetting and hijack attention from moment to moment, are invariably fleeting.

There are many ways of meditating and no one right way. One common way is to turn attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase, known as a mantra. Known as mindfulness meditation, it lessens distractibility and promotes focusing on, and enjoyment of, the present moment. It can take a bit of effort to keep focused and to develop a regular meditation routine. Nevertheless, research demonstrates that it has many benefits for mind and body.

Science-Based Outcomes

Reduces Stress, Controls Anxiety, Promotes Emotional Health, Enhances Self-Awareness, Lengthens Attention Span, May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss.


General Overview of a Therapy