Beginning the process of finding therapy can be a bit of a minefield. As well as considering cost, time and if you click with your therapist, there is also the fact that there are many different types of counselling which needs to be added into the mix. While the term therapist or counsellor can be used for a whole myriad of therapeutic disciplines, some types of therapy work better for different problems. Today we are going to have a very brief roundup of a couple of the more common therapy types which may be helpful when considering what type of counselling would suit you best.
First up is CBT. This is the therapy type which is most commonly offered by the NHS and is usually available in short courses of around 6-12 weeks. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a technique used to rejig how we think and respond to situations and will often involve homework to practice between therapy sessions.
Rather than talking about where the problems you are having have come from, CBT is more concerned with changing how you respond to stressful situations and help you to essentially condition yourself to cope with problems in a more manageable way. CBT is a great way to overcome day to day anxiety and unhelpful habits, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and help lesson symptoms from unwanted thought patterns. It is also something that can be used on a day-to-day basis, either integrated into another therapy type or as a standalone process.
The Psychodynamic approach is the type of therapy people often think of when they imagine traditional therapy and it is rooted in the idea of there being a subconscious layer to our brain. It is mainly concerned with looking for patterns in behaviour and looking back at when these patterns formed and what purpose they serve both then and now. Working closely with the idea of the subconscious- most commonly associated with dreams and ‘Freudian slips’, it explores the idea that we may have feelings or emotions driving our behaviour which may not be rational or indeed conscious to us. Exploring where these unconscious responses originated from can help us figure out why we respond to things in different ways and if these responses or coping mechanisms are still useful to us in our adult lives.
While CBT is great for coping with the symptoms of mental health problems, Psychodynamic counselling is interested in finding out where these symptoms have come from and what coping strategies we are using to try to cope with day-to-day issues. In a psychodynamic setting it is likely that a therapist will ask you lots of questions about your childhood memories, what your family dynamic is like and what your understanding of your past and present situations are. This type of therapy also works to create an environment where you can be curious about looking at these situations in different ways and challenge unhelpful thought patterns.
Humanistic therapy is also another common type of counselling, though differs from the previous two somewhat. This type of therapy does not focus on the client’s past particularly and instead looks at what is going on for them in the present. For the most part, Humanistic therapy uses empathy and unconditional positive regard to foster a safe space for the client which allows for complete openness and honesty to flourish. It places the client at the centre of the interaction and listens carefully to the experiences of the client without any criticism, only interest. While Psychodynamic theory suggests that we are all a product of our environment and experiences, the Humanistic approach takes into account the personal differences we have and helps the client to find their own authentic self. This type of counselling can often feel empowering and help to remind us that we are in charge of our own destiny.
Often the reason you come to therapy has an influence on what type of therapy would serve you best and it is worth remembering that one type of counselling does not fit all problems or indeed people. Therapy is a big commitment, both in a time and monetary sense and so it is important to choose the right therapist and the right therapy type for you.
If you feel that you would like to start your journey into counselling but are not sure where to start, why not get in touch with The Henry Centre in Southend and take a look at the different therapy options available that might work best for you.