Before you can find an answer, you need to know the question. Are you struggling with depression, anxiety, relationships, all of the above? Therapists usually use a combination of modalities in working with people. Therapy is an art, it is fluid. As you present various difficulties and goals, a therapist will use the strategies that they believe will work best for you at the time. These strategies can change depending on what is happening with you in session. All psychotherapies provide an emotionally safe setting where you can feel accepted, supported, and not criticized. A few of the modalities are as follows:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy. This therapy gives you tools to find the link between your thoughts and your actions. Often we will find ourselves reacting to a situation or another person without thinking. This is what some might call being “triggered”. When you are triggered you feel something within yourself reacting to what you are sensing without being able to control those reactions. Cognitive behavioral therapy puts you in charge of yourself by recognizing the connection between your thoughts and your behavior. It requires you to notice your thoughts and question them before they turn into a behavior that is uncomfortable.
Psychodynamic therapy is the original talk therapy. It began with Freud but it has come a long way. The focus of this therapy is on early childhood relations with others. The behaviors we adopted as children to navigate our environment might not serve us well as adults. When we accept where our behaviors and thoughts have come from, we can have compassion for ourselves instead of criticizing ourselves. Therapists who use this modality are encouraging and empathetic.
This therapy is client-centered. It involves understanding what you believe and developing true self – acceptance. The focus is on the current day to day life, not the past. The therapist believes that you are the expert in your own life. They listen carefully and relay what they are hearing back to you to give you a better understanding of what you are thinking and feeling. Humanistic therapists typically do not make diagnosis a priority and usually do not work with goals in mind. They allow you to determine what you want to talk about each session, believing that you have the answers within.
The emphasis of this type of therapy is on the importance of communication between family members. The family will attend sessions together or with varying combinations of members depending on what is going on in the family system. Family members will explore and identify positive patterns and also negative patterns of interaction between each other in order to understand how the family impacts each individual. Family therapy strategies can also be implemented with an individual using the stories that were formed while in the family system. These stories could have formed before you even had a language to explain them. The body can hold onto the feelings that developed when you were a child, as part of a family.
The body is often neglected when it comes to talk therapy. Language takes center stage. Unfortunately, we do not always have the words to explain our feelings, we just know something is not right. This is where therapy is developing. A combination of the above modalities with sensory therapies is most helpful. Art therapy, equine therapy, dance therapy will all connect your body with your mind.
So, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the answer for you? First, you need to know what you are asking. Do you want to change your behavior alone or do you want to know why you are behaving/thinking the way you do? You have the power to determine which therapy feels like the right fit for you. The first step is caring for yourself enough to begin the journey.