Therapeutic Techniques And How They Can Help You

By Julia Thomas

Updated May 09, 2019

Reviewer Avia James

As the field of psychology continues to grow and become more dynamic, more types of therapeutic techniques become available to those who are seeking therapy. When it comes to different types of therapeutic techniques, it is important to find the best fit for you. It sometimes can be difficult to know what will best suit your needs when deciding to seek out a mental health professional. Provided below is an overview of the popular types of therapeutic techniques mental health professionals have to offer prospective clients:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that works on the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Each is interconnected and affect one another, and cognitive behavioral therapy works on the pattern of how our thoughts affect our emotions, and how our emotions trigger our behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy works by identifying and correcting negative thoughts that influence negative emotions, so that they do not trigger negative or harmful behavior toward the self or others.


Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, but the focus in sessions is geared more toward how emotions are connected with thoughts and behavior, rather than how thoughts influence emotions, which trigger behavior. Dialectical behavior therapy incorporates the concepts of acceptance and mindfulness to help patients let go of things they cannot control, accept things that are unpleasant or upsetting, and learn how to live peacefully with themselves and the environment around them.

Client Centered Therapy

Client-centered therapy is a form of humanistic therapy that works to dismantle the notion that the therapist is in control of the session. This allows the patient to take the reins, using the therapist as a guide to understanding the patient's inner struggles and feelings. With client-centered therapy the therapist takes a non-directive approach, allowing the patient to explore himself or herself freely without interruption. Client-centered therapy adopts the values of acceptance and empathy, which allows the patient to freely express his or her thoughts, emotions, and desires without challenge or redirection from the therapist.


Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is another form of humanistic therapy in which the therapist expresses unconditional acceptance and empathy while keeping the focus on the here-and-now. The goal of gestalt therapy is self-awareness and acceptance of the patient's own reality. With this form of therapy, the patient grows in his or her own way on his or her own time, without interruption or influence of the therapist. Like client-centered therapy, the therapist acts like a guide, not a leader.

Existential Therapy

Existential therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on philosophical and existential themes, rather than technique and evidence-based practices, like cognitive, behavioral, and gestalt therapies. With existential therapy, the patient and therapist focus on the internal and spiritual struggles that the patient faces to achieve existential, emotional, and psychological understanding. The goal of existential therapy is insight, not resolution. With insight, a patient is expected to gain an understanding of themselves and how they fit into the world.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new form of therapy that is specifically designed to help people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and related issues. EMDR is designed to help the patient cope with whatever trauma and abuse he or she is struggling with by lessening the intensity of the memories and the distress symptoms caused by the memories. EMDR therapists use exercises like having the patient follow the trail of a pointer with his or her eyes to distract the brain from becoming too overwhelmed.


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