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Most types of therapy fall under four different categories: humanistic therapies, cognitive and behavioural therapies, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies and art therapies. Some therapists also combine a number of different approaches which they can tailor to your needs.
Each and every approach has something unique and valuable to offer. Broadening your understanding puts you in a strong position of choosing the approach (or combination of approaches) that feels best for you.
There are also a number of other approaches which fall outside of the main categories. Some of these approaches stand alone using their own specific therapeutic techniques, other focus on groups, or work in a more integrative way combining different styles according to what’s best for you.
With its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness teaches open-minded attention to help you find greater enjoyment in the present moment. Mindfulness therapy approaches will help you gain clarity around thoughts and emotions, without getting caught up in what they mean.
Art therapies use art, music and drama as a creative outlet for expression, providing a less direct way to express and work with complex emotions.
Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies focus on exploring the deeper layers of personality. This means they’re usually more long-term than other types of therapy. These therapies delve deeper into your past, exploring buried memories and emotions to understand how they've shaped your present.
Cognitive and behavioural therapies make you aware of negative thought patterns and behaviours, and teach you ways to change them. Instead of looking at your past, cognitive and behavioural therapies will focus on helping you resolve present symptoms and issues.
Humanistic therapies centre around individuality and free will. Encouraging self-exploration, humanistic therapies will support you to play an active role in therapy, and focus on exploring the world through your eyes rather than taking an objective outlook.