Many different types of therapy are available to help individuals navigate and overcome a variety of mental health and emotional challenges. Each type of therapy approaches mental health differently, so the most effective therapy model for each individual client will depend on their specific needs and goals.
Licensed Clinical Psychologists have an in-depth understanding of the practices and benefits of each form of therapy. By combining multiple models, therapists can tailor treatment plans to their clients’ unique needs and create a more specific, effective approach to mental health care. Learn more about some of the most common types of therapy and the role they play in treating various Mental Health Disorders with this comprehensive overview of the different types of therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors to alleviate emotional distress. One of the main goals of CBT is to distinguish between having thoughts and feelings and being cognizant of those thoughts and feelings. The more mental awareness you have for your thoughts and feelings, the easier it is to understand how your thought patterns and emotional reactions affect your mood, behavior, and decisions.
During CBT sessions, a therapist helps clients identify and challenge distorted thoughts or beliefs and replace them with more positive, realistic alternatives. This, in turn, leads to more constructive behaviors and a reduction in emotional distress.
As one of the most popular forms of therapy, CBT is a common part of treatment plans for an extensive range of Mental Health Disorders, including these:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Depressive Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
- Addiction and Substance Use Disorders
CBT is a versatile treatment plan that works well with other therapy models—especially other Psychotherapy models. In addition to treating Mental Health Disorders, CBT helps improve problem-solving skills, inspire a deeper understanding of behavioral patterns, build confidence, and improve overall emotional well-being.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, also known as DBT, emphasizes the development of four core skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. It uses the same principles of CBT—improving awareness of thoughts and emotions to improve control over them—to help clients build these skills and use them in the face of mental health challenges.
Think of these skills as tools you can use to face stressful or challenging situations. With the skills you learn in DBT, you can minimize the negative effects of stress and conflict, understand and control your emotions, and improve awareness of yourself and your reactions.
DBT is particularly effective against Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. It has also proven useful in treating Eating Disorders, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorders, and PTSD.
Psychodynamic Therapy, which evolved from the principles of psychoanalysis, seeks to explore unconscious thoughts and emotions that may contribute to a person’s current difficulties. Psychodynamic Therapy involves a lot of self-exploration and discussion of thoughts, feelings, and problems. Through this exploration, patients can increase self-awareness and deepen their understanding of their own thoughts and emotional patterns. Patients also come to understand the influence of their past experiences on their present emotions, behaviors, and relationships.
Psychodynamic Therapy can help clients build healthier relationships; manage problems and challenges more productively; understand themselves, others, and their relationships better; and obtain freedom from past experiences that affect their mental and emotional well-being. This form of therapy is a useful addition to treatments for Depressive Disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, Substance Use Disorder, Personality Disorders, and PTSD.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Like CBT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT, teaches clients to embrace internal thoughts and feelings to minimize the effects of negative thought patterns and emotions. Of course, this is easier said than done—especially with unwanted, painful emotions. However, repressing those feelings causes more problems in the long run.
ACT helps clients develop psychological flexibility by accepting and embracing difficult emotions, thoughts, and memories rather than attempting to suppress or avoid them. The goal of ACT is to encourage clients to act in accordance with their values, rather than let emotional experiences and challenges control them. This helps clients make meaningful, positive decisions and actions instead of letting fear, doubt, or avoidance run their lives.
Mentalization-Based Therapy, or MBT, is a type of Psychotherapy that focuses on teaching individuals how to process their own thoughts and feelings in a more positive and effective manner. MBT revolves around mentalization, which is a cognitive skill that helps you clearly and accurately identify your own mental state as separate from the mental state of those around you. Mentalization also helps you understand the connection that ties thoughts and feelings to actions.
Many Mental Health Disorders disrupt our ability to mentalize. Without a clear understanding of your own thoughts and feelings or the feelings of people around you, it can be hard to empathize, communicate, or regulate your actions and reactions.
MBT teaches patients how to explore and process their thoughts and emotions so they can improve mentalization and develop healthier ways of relating to others.
Interpersonal Therapy is a short-term, structured form of Psychotherapy that focuses on addressing and resolving present-day interpersonal problems. It revolves around the idea that mental health improves when you have strong, healthy relationships with the people in your life.
During Interpersonal Therapy sessions, individuals work with a therapist to identify and target significant interpersonal issues, such as unresolved grief or relational conflict. Interpersonal Therapy can also help address maladaptive thoughts and coping behaviors that stem from mental health issues and hinder relationship health—such as drug use or self-isolation.
Interpersonal Therapy can help treat Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders, Addiction and Substance Abuse, and Personality Disorders. It can also help people overcome struggles that affect relationship health, including social isolation, major life transitions, grief, and interpersonal disputes.
Find Tailored Treatment at Blair Wellness Group
As this overview has shown, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. That is why Dr. Blair and the team at Blair Wellness Group use many different types of therapy to build customized treatment plans for clients. With a therapy routine designed to suit your specific needs, you can make real progress toward overcoming Mental Health Disorders and their symptoms to regain control over your well-being. Choose us as your therapist in Irvine, CA, and start your journey toward better mental and emotional health today.