5 Different Types of Therapy: A Brief Guide

As the stigma around mental health treatment lessens, more and more people are seeking therapy. In fact, a 2019 study found that 19.2% of U.S. adults had sought some form of mental health treatment. Read on to learn more about some of the most common types of therapy and the types of disorders they can help treat.

1. Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy aims to identify negative behaviors and reintroduce positive ones.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one of the most common forms of therapy. It’s used to treat a wide variety of disorders, including social anxiety, mild to severe depression, substance abuse disorders, and more.

If you’re looking for generalized anxiety disorder treatment that takes a practical and problem-solving approach, then CBT may be the right choice for you. CBT therapists use a variety of techniques to help clients identify harmful thought patterns and replace them with more positive (and realistic!) ones. This helps clients to feel more in control and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

A combination of talk therapy and CBT, DBT was originally formulated to treat people with borderline personality disorders. However, it has since been adapted to help treat a wide range of mental health issues.

Mindfulness is the central tenet of this approach. DBT teaches clients to identify their feelings and equip them with an arsenal of healthy responses for when triggers occur. There’s also often a heavy focus on emotional regulation as well.

2. Psychodynamic Therapy

Also known as “talk therapy,” psychodynamic therapy helps clients identify how subconscious thoughts and patterns manifest in the individual’s life. The focus is on both the internal and external worlds to help clients make sense of their inter- and intra-personal relationships.

Therapists may also refer clients to a psychiatrist if they deem medication would be useful. In fact, a psychiatrics company can at times be the most effective option, combining both therapy and medication to help clients manage mental health disorders.

3. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

EMDR is primarily used to treat patients with PTSD. Clients recall traumatic events while being instructed to perform specific eye movements. The goal is to stimulate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain in order to form new neural associations.

4. Creative Arts Therapy

Engaging the creative side of the brain can be extremely therapeutic and provide valuable insights. Often used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, creative arts therapy employs dance, art, music, poetry, and other art forms. Through creative expression, clients can express their emotions and hopefully gain new insights.

5. Group Therapy

Group therapy brings together a set of people experiencing similar issues. Led by a therapist, the discussion centers around interpersonal support from those experiencing the same struggles.

Choosing Between Different Types of Therapy

Upon diagnosis, your health care provider might recommend a specific treatment plan. However, the choice is ultimately yours.

Don’t forget that many therapists take a multifaceted approach, so you might want to consider how you might benefit from multiple types of therapy. For more information and advice on mental (and physical!) health, check out our Health section.