Types of therapy, approaches to psychotherapy and counselling. Psychodynamic, Humanist and Behavioural (CBT, REBT)

Looking for Counselling and Psychotherapy? What to know the difference between the types of therapy and the approaches to psychotherapy and counselling. There are 3 main approaches to counselling and psychotherapy: Psychodynamic, Humanist and Behavioural (CBT, REBT). Here I will examine the differences between the approaches and the benefits of Integrative theraphy. Caryn Nuttall UKCP accredited counsellor and psychotherapist friendly counselling practice in Central London. Counselling London

Approaches to psychotherapy and counselling.

The difference between the various types of therapy.

The multitude of different approaches to therapy can be confusing to therapists, who like me have spent over twenty years continuously training in this field, so don't worry if you are feeling bewildered by the theraputic choices on offer. Below I have written a short synopsis which I hope will be helpful.

There are 3 main approaches to psychotherapy and counselling, and many variations on each approach:

  • Psychodynamic
  • Humanistic
  • Behavioural
  • The Psychodynamic approach, including psychoanalytic, is the oldest with an emphasis on bringing the unconscious into consciousness so gaining greater self-knowledge. It is usually long-term work , often over a number of years, and in the case of psychoanalysis with several sessions each week. It delves into the past to discover the origins of our behavioural patterns and belief systems. The therapists are relatively silent, and refer to their clients as patients.

    Key names are Freud, Jung and Klein.

    The Humanistic approach includes Person-Centred, Gestalt, TA (Transactional Analysis), Existential and Integrative. The Humanistic approach sits between the Psychodynamic and Behavioural approaches and can embrace elements of both. This model tends to be shorter term than Psychodynamic, but tends to be longer than the brevity of CBT. Therapists usually have a more interactive and equal relationship with their clients than psychodynamic therapists, and less of the purely teaching relationship of a CBT practitioner. Although Humanistic therapists consider it important to look at past experiences in order to understand the origins of behaviour patterns and belief systems, the main thrust is to help a client feel sufficiently empowered that they can take better control of their situation/life.

    The model works in 3 stages:

    1. To understand the origin of the problem
    2. To explore ways of addressing that problem
    3. To put the planned solutions to the problem into effect
    Key names are Rogers, Berne and Perls.

    The Behavioural approach covers CBT (Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy) and REBT (Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy). These approaches are the youngest of the three and are different from the first two in that they focus on the here and now and do not investigate the causes.

    It is brief therapy with the aim of helping clients unlearn their negative/unhelpful reactions to situations and learn new ways of reacting. Understanding how a client came by their belief system is not considered and consequently the longer-term effectiveness of CBT has yet to be examined. Research does show that CBT can produce very effective benefits in the short term.

    Key names are Skinner, Beck, Ellis and Eysenk.

    I was trained in all three approaches which makes me an Integrative therapist. This means I am able to use aspects of each model depending on the needs of the client or couple, but my basic approach is Humanistic.

    Obviously every individual is unique and this blended approach allows me to deliver a customised therapy specific to your needs.

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