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The Differences Between Common Forms of Therapy

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If you have ever considered or looked into therapy in the past for health related issues, then you are aware that there are a number of different forms of therapy. Many of these different types of therapy often serve as umbrella categories for a number of different types as well. Therefore, it can be challenging to determine the differences between the different types and whether or not one is right for you.

Below are some of the most common forms of therapy along with what they entail. Read on to discover the different types in an effort to see if one may be beneficial for your specific situation:

Psychodynamic Therapy

The first form of common therapy used in psychodynamic therapy. This style focuses mainly on a long-term approach to mental health treatment. During the course of this form of treatment, a patient can expect to talk about anything and everything in an effort to uncover thought patterns behind behaviors. A therapist may have you take something such as an OCD test in order to determine any conditions you may have.

This process is quite simple and entails working with a therapist to explore any connections between your unconscious mind and conscious actions. In general, psychodynamic therapy is a longer form of therapy than the others on this list and may last months or even years.

Behavioral Therapy

On the other hand, behavioral therapy is focused more on an action-oriented approach to mental health treatment. Behavioral therapists focus far less on the unconscious reasons for your actions and instead focus on ways to address the behavior itself.

This means using techniques such as desensitization to a stimulus or aversion therapy where you replace a certain behavior with another. In short, the biggest difference is that the focus is placed on turning your automatic behavior into something else, rather than focusing on the unconscious cause.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

In short, cognitive behavioral therapy combines a lot of the treatment of psychodynamic therapy and behavioral therapy. Rather than solely focusing on the problematic behaviors, it also helps you to address unhelpful thought patterns.

The main point of this style of therapy is to identify certain triggers in your life that may be related to yourself or situations that cause any problematic behavior. Most CBT sessions are focused on learning to identify thought patterns and spending time addressing symptoms in an effort to make changes. Still, CBT focuses less on addressing past events, unlike psychodynamic therapy.

Humanistic Therapy

Finally, humanistic therapy is a form of therapy that spends time focusing more on the worldview of a person and how it affects behavior. Humanistic therapists essentially work towards helping you understand your feelings to a greater degree and learning how to build a plan to accomplish a meaningful goal.

Sub-forms of therapy that qualify as humanistic therapy include gestalt therapy, existential therapy, and more. The main difference with humanistic therapy is that the patient is the one leading the session and the therapist simply asks clarifying questions to understand better.

Of these types, humanistic therapy is one of the more recently developed strategies, though all of the above therapeutic styles are still being developed and evolving with the times.

When it comes to determining which form of therapy is best given your situation, consider consulting a physician or therapist. Alternatively, there are a number of online tests that can help you determine whether or not a certain therapeutic style will work best for you.

At the end of the day, perform as much research as possible on the different types and seek the consultation of a mental health professional who may be able to guide you to the strategy that is best for your situation.


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