--Original published at Sherika's Psych Blog
Therapy is different for everyone. Typically speaking therapy is tailored for each and every individual person’s need. A psychologist, especially if they’re specialized in a specific field of interest, needs to be able to approach their client in a beneficial manner. So, loosely speaking, a psychologist will have different ways to approach a vet seeking out therapy to cope with their PTSD, help abuse victims, people with phobias, etc. psychiatrists have a plethora of approaches that are tailored for their clients.
But first, I’ll be examine 4 different approaches, defining them, and covering which and why these different forms of therapy deserve the rank that they receive.
Cognitive therapy is a relatively short form version of therapy that tackles a wide range of psychological problems (alcohol abuse, eating disorders, anger problems, etc.). This form of therapy requires and helps a person learn efficient self-help skills that help change how a person thinks, feels and behaves in relation to the problem they’re having. More often than not, cognitive therapy comes with requirements (self prescribed homework) for the patient to do outside of their therapy hours. Placed at number one, I felt that cognitive therapy out of the other three therapies that will be covered was round about. Not only does it tackle a wide rang of issues, but it allows and forces the patient in this case to form healthy self-help skills to adapt and overcome their issues. Whether that’s learning to control ones anger, retrain their way of thinking about their relationship with food or alcohol or any number of things.
Humanistic therapy is defined by it’s positive approach. A form of therapy in which there’s a focus on a person’s individual nature rather than categorizing groups of people by a commonality. This form of therapy looks at a person not from only the therapist’s point of view, but from the view point of individuals who are observing their own behavior. An emphasis is placed on a person’s positive traits and behavior and their ability to grow and find fulfillment. This form of therapy can be used to treat depression, panic attacks, or social disorders. An approach that uses a person’s feelings in the here and now in order to try and identify past events that caused the event to trigger the patient.
This humanistic form of therapy allows a therapist to sit down and gently approach what events or triggers could have led up to someone feeling the way they do. This form of therapy deserves to be second on the list because it takes a different approach compared to traditional methods, most of the emphasis is taken off of the therapist. Instead, it forces the patient to reexamine the event and process their own complex feelings all while coming to an understanding about why and how they feel.
In third place, psychodynamic therapy is an in-depth form of talk-therapy; less focused on the relationship between therapist and and the patient due to the focus on the patient’s relationship with the external world.
Psychodynamic therapy is the form of therapy that’s most commonly seen in the media and the one that people frequently think of. Due to the nature of the therapy in which the patient is encouraged to freely speak about whatever is on their mind, I believe that this tried and true method deserves the third spot on their list. While this form of therapy mostly relies on the patient talking about their experiences with little feedback or input from the therapist until when it is needed. This form of therapy requires multiple and consistent sessions that sort of prolongs the healing process for the patient in my opinion. While it isn’t perfect, it’s the most tried form of therapy on this list.
Coming in last, behavioral therapy reinforces desirable behaviors in the patient while eliminating maladaptive ones. Using classical conditioning and operant conditioning in order to reinforce positive behaviors while eliminating bad ones, I felt that this form of behavioral therapy seems to be least effective compared to the counterparts mentioned above. Behavioral therapy seems most appropriate and effective with children, not to mention that this form of therapy can operate well only when it’s treating specific issues that a patient has and doesn’t tackle multiple like the other variations of therapy listed above.
While each individual form of therapy can be effective in its own way. The list given above ranks different variations of therapy based upon my own criteria and evaluation.