So you need a little extra support right now. That’s okay. Just recognising this fact is a huge step, so props to you. By deciding to sift through your emotions with a professional, you’ve committed to do the work to get your mental health back on track — and that’s no small feat. In fact, it’s pretty admirable.
Right now, you might be scouring the web for a psychology clinic or researching costs. But it might also be worth thinking about what type of therapy you want to try. From Schema Therapy to Couples Therapy, there’s a smorgasbord of different therapies out there. Ultimately, it all depends on what’s troubling you, your symptoms and your long-term goals.
Remember therapy is a deeply personal journey, and not every type of therapy will be for you. You don’t need to know all the ins and outs. But by doing a little research, it’ll make it easier to pick out the right one for you. If you need a helping hand, our online assessment pinpoints which therapies you’d most benefit from, and matches you with the right psychologist, depending on what you want to work on.
Or, if you want a taster of some different types of therapies, you might find it useful to check out Self-care, our new audio and video therapy library. Here, you can search and listen to different skills you may encounter in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Schema Therapy, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). You might just find that one particularly clicks with you…
What type of therapy is best for me?
Not sure which therapy to try? Getting clear on your problems and goals might help steer you in the right direction. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What problems are you dealing with?
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- What do you want to get out of therapy? What are your goals?
- Are your past experiences impacting your daily life? Do you want to explore that more?
- Do you feel lost and directionless in life and want to get clearer on your values?
- Are repetitive negative thoughts or behaviours holding you back?
- Do you want to work towards self-improvement?
- Do you know anyone who has experienced similar problems to you and gone to therapy? What therapies would they recommend?
Different types of therapy explained
When it comes to therapy, it can seem like the options are endless — and it’s enough to put anyone’s head in a spin. Some people find it helpful to do a little research. Knowing what’s in-store might make it less nerve-wracking, and it can help you pin down the right therapy for you. That doesn’t mean you have to trawl the internet for hours though. Just the general gist is more than enough. Too much information isn’t necessary, and it might even confuse you further, so leave the in-depth study to the therapists!
Want to learn more? Here are just a few different types of therapy you might encounter:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
This is one of the most common forms of talking therapy and it’s often used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, panic, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, psychosis and phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia).
CBT is a goal-orientated, evidence-based approach to therapy that’s based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are all connected. So if we change one, we can alter the others.
Unlike other treatments, CBT primarily focuses on your current state of mind, rather than digging into your past. In a typical session, you’ll learn to identify and change any negative thinking patterns or behaviours you may have. That’s because CBT proposes that it’s often the way we interpret situations, rather than the situations themselves that cause us trouble.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Life is full of ups and downs. When we’re in distress, our first instinct might be to fight the pain or try to make it go away but this usually only prolongs our suffering. What if, instead, we accepted life as it is — both the good and the bad? This is exactly what Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is all about.
ACT asks us to work towards living a fulfilled and meaningful life, whilst also accepting what’s beyond our control. In your session, you’ll learn to live in the moment, better respond to difficult thoughts and emotions, and create a life that’s in line with your values.
This type of therapy also stems from CBT and is often used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, substance misuse, trauma, psychosis, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), chronic pain and anorexia.
- Schema Therapy
A schema is essentially a blueprint through which we see ourselves, others and the world around us. Our schemas can often be traced all the way back to our childhood experiences, and they can be positive or negative depending on whether our emotional needs were met, or not met. Some common schemas revolve around issues of abandonment, emotional deprivation, mistrust and social isolation, for instance.
In Schema Therapy, your psychologist will help you identify and then challenge these negative schemas. If you’ve been to therapy before, but didn’t feel that it worked, Schema Therapy may be for you. It’s often used when people fail to respond, or relapse, after trying different therapies.
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
This type of talking therapy is based on CBT, but it’s adapted to help treat people who experience emotions very intensely. Because of this, it’s often used to treat borderline personality disorder, self-harm and addiction, for instance.
Just like CBT, DBT is an evidence-based therapy that aims to change any unhelpful thinking or behaviour patterns you may have. The big difference is that DBT puts a lot of emphasis on accepting who you are at the same time. And DBT typically involves more group therapy work than CBT too.
DBT draws upon several skills — including mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness — to help you make positive changes in your life.
Along with Schema Therapy, it’s often seen as the gold-standard for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, so if you are experiencing prolonged instability in your mood, self-image, thinking, behaviour, or relationships, DBT may be the right therapy for you.
- Couples Therapy
Are you stuck in a romantic rut? If you and your partner are going through a rough patch, Couples Therapy may provide the safe space you need to unpick any relationship problems you may be having. Sometimes talking to an outsider is just what you need to gain perspective on a situation. Maybe you and your loved one want to overcome a major breach of trust, frequent arguments, poor communication, or a lack of emotional and physical intimacy, for example. If so, Couples Therapy could be a good place to start.
During your sessions you may find ways to work through your problems or you might ultimately decide to part ways. Either way, Couples Therapy will give you the space to tap into your feelings, identify your values and accept the love you truly deserve.
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) can be a really helpful tool for people who have recurring episodes of depression and unhappiness, as well as people who are managing addiction, anxiety or stress. MBCT essentially combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques like meditation and breathing exercises to help you break free from negative thinking patterns.
During a typical MBCT session, you’ll learn to focus your mind on the present moment, rather than dwelling on past regrets or future worries. And, in doing so, you’ll hopefully begin to work towards living a happier, more fulfilling life.
Think you’ve found the right therapy for you? If not, try not to panic. Remember this is only the tip of the iceberg. Depending on your problems and goals, there are a number of different therapies you could try. And most psychologists will tailor their approach, blending different modalities according to your own needs and circumstances
Either way, no matter if you opt for CBT, Schema Therapy or Couples Therapy, you’ve committed to do the work and better your emotional and mental wellbeing. It doesn’t matter how you get there or which therapy route you take, you’re on the right path. So just keep going.