02
Mar
2016

Choosing Which Therapy is Best for You

Millions of people suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction or other psychological issues see therapists every year. They learn strategies and tools that help them manage and/or resolve unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

Before thinking about what kind of therapy might benefit you, try to reflect on how you feel and what you wish to change.

If you have already had a psychiatric disorder diagnosed, for example, then perhaps you needn't seek a therapist with superior diagnostic expertise. Do you want someone to help you with a step-by-step plan for changing your behavior or do you wish to explore past and present thoughts and feelings in more depth?

Which Therapy to Choose

There are two primary models of psychotherapy: psychodynamic and cognitive/behavioral.

Psychodynamic therapies (including psychoanalysis), focus on the unconscious process of patients by having them talk freely about their thoughts or feelings. The idea is that delving into memories might shed light on the roots of current problems.

Cognitive/behavioral therapies (including Cognitive Behavior Therapy itself) are rooted in understanding thought processes or behaviors and seeing how dysfunctional patterns could contribute to current problems. Patients work with therapists to identify and modify unhealthy thoughts and problematic behaviors. Such sessions are more structured than psychodynamic therapies and tend to be shorter.

Other Cognitive / Behavioral Therapies include dialectical behavioral therapy, which emphasizes validation and self-acceptance while teaching coping skills, and Interpersonal Therapy, which focuses on examining a person's relationships to find patterns and then identifying maladaptive behaviors.

Session Sizes

While therapy sessions can be one-on-one, group therapy allows people to be surrounded by empathetic individuals who are experiencing similar difficulties. Couples and family therapy can facilitate communication where there are relationship issues, emotional barriers or other disruptions.

It's good to have some idea of what help is available, but a professional will also be able to guide you. Ask whether or not your chosen professional can use a variety of psychological approaches and if he or she has succeed in tailoring their expertise for people with your specific needs and circumstances.


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