Different Types of Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) - Cognitive theory suggests that psychological distress is caused by distorted thoughts that give rise to distressed emotions. CBT is a method that identifies and helps a person to correct specific errors in what he or she is thinking that produce negative or painful feelings. Cognitive-behavioural therapies have often proved especially helpful to clients suffering from depression, anxiety, panic and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Clinical Hypnosis refers to a therapeutic treatment that induces a deep state of relaxation whereby this passive resting state allows for specific suggestions from the clinician to be communicated and absorbed by the client to bring about changes. Hypnosis is most useful when used in conjunction with other treatment modalities. It is particularly effective when used as an adjunct to cognitive behavioural therapy to reinforce strategies that have been taught to change disordered thought patterns that perpetuate anxiety symptoms. Other examples of areas in which hypnosis may be used to good effect are self-esteem building, self confidence, weight management and smoking.

Short-Term Solution-Focused Therapy focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on the problems that made them seek help. The therapist works with the strengths of their clients by making the best use of their resources, and it can bring about lasting change precisely because it aims to build solutions rather than ‘solve problems’.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a form of CBT that also utilises acceptance and mindfulness-based strategies. Mindfulness is a form of self-awareness training which teaches clients to be aware of what is happening in the present moment, while not making judgements about whether we like or don’t like what we find. ACT aims to help the individual clarify their personal values and to take action on them, bringing more meaning to their life in the process.

Experiential Therapy provides clients with a combination of knowledge and experience by blending therapies like Gestalt and family therapy with models like sculpture and role-plays. The purpose is to enact or re-enact the emotional climate of the family of origin and/or other past and present significant relationships in a person's life. In re-experiencing these events and relationships, one is able to release the emotions that may have been blocked and repressed. By gaining the experience, clients acquire the means to better cope with life.

Schema Therapy includes assessment and psycho education, and the use of cognitive, behavioural and experiential strategies. The goals of Schema Therapy are: to help stop using self-defeating core themes or patterns that we keep repeating throughout our lives; to heal the pain of unmet childhood needs; to learn how to turn out of self-defeating ways of being as quickly as possible; and to get our emotional needs met in everyday life.

Narrative Therapy seeks to be a respectful, non-blaming approach to counseling, which centres people as the experts in their own lives. It views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.

Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family-based treatment that addresses the known determinants of undesirable behaviors in adolescents and their families. As such, MST treats those factors in the young person’s environment that are contributing to his or her behavior problems (e.g., poor problem solving skills, family relations, peer relations and school performance. On a highly individualized basis, treatment goals are developed in collaboration with the family, and family strengths are used as levers for therapeutic change. The primary goals of MST are to reduce undesirable behaviors in the adolescent and empower families to resolve future difficulties.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a short-term therapy initially developed to treat depression, based on the idea that depression occurs within a social and interpersonal context that must be understood for improvement to occur. Treatment targets interpersonal difficulties that precipitated and/or maintain the episode (e.g. loss, different relationship expectations, communication difficulties) to reduce symptoms and improve the social functioning of the depressed client.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a dialectical (two part) process which balances change (skills training, problem solving, contingency management, exposure etc) with acceptance and validation based treatment strategies. The approach holds the view that finding the truth or utility in alternative, even seemingly contradictory positions, is sometimes essential for change.

Play Therapy is a form of child-centred therapy where the therapist helps children work through emotional, psychosocial and behavioural difficulties, and helps address family problems. Therapists utilise a range of carefully selected toys and materials which allows the child to express feelings, thoughts, experiences and behaviours through play.

Motivational Interviewing is a non-judgmental and non-confrontational therapeutic approach which attempts to increase clients’ awareness of the potential problems caused, consequences experienced, and risks faced as a result of the behavior in question. Therapists help clients envisage a better future, and become motivated to achieve it.

Psycho-Education is based on the notion that the greater the client’s understanding of their condition, the more able they are to participate in their own treatment. Therapists seek to educate their clients about possible causes, symptoms and treatment approaches, often resulting in clients gaining a greater sense of control over their life.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is an empirically supported method of intervention for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. ABA breaks down skills into small, manageable components which are taught intensively using positive reinforcement. Improvements in behaviour, communication, sensory processing, motor skills, cognition, daily living skills and social interactions can be achieved through ABA.