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The Top 10 Most Common Types of Therapy

Sarah Fader
The Top 10 Most Common Types of Therapy
The following article is part of a series that was created in cooperation with BetterHelp, one of the company’s listed on our site, to provide information about mental health issues.

Psychotherapy is a helpful form of mental health treatment that helps many different people with various issues. Not all therapy is the same. Some people can learn from behavioral treatment, while others benefit from psychoanalysis. Learn about the top 10 most common types of therapy, and discover which one can help you.


1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a short-term type of mental health treatment that helps people learn to reframe their negative thoughts to productive ones. Sometimes we don’t realize how our thoughts impact our feelings. CBT helps people recognize the cognitive distortions and change the way they view matters to start feeling better about themselves. 


2. Psychodynamic Therapy


Psychodynamic therapy incorporates a person’s early childhood experiences with their current day lives. The person begins to understand their actions based on the trauma they experienced in childhood. Psychodynamic therapy shows how the relationships in an individual’s past continue to influence the connections in their current life. 


3. Humanistic Therapy


Humanistic (or person-centered therapy) believes that people are fundamentally good. The therapist offers their client unconditional positive regard. They support the person in finding their truth. The client guides the therapist, and the provider is non-judgmental toward their patient. In this type of treatment, the client strives towards “self-actualization.” The idea is to integrate their distinct parts into a whole. 


4. Art Therapy


Art therapy helps people of all ages express their feelings through a creative medium. An individual places their emotions into a piece of artwork, and a professional art therapist allows them to process the feelings. Art therapy can take place in small groups or one-on-one. It can treat issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, or depression. It helps people feel free to express their innermost feelings on paper.


5. Music Therapy


Music therapy is a remarkable form of treatment that can be used in people of all ages. There is research to indicate that this form of therapy helps older people improve their memories. Music therapy is versatile. It can help those with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health issues. Music, like fine arts, is a way to express oneself without talking. It’s cathartic to use instruments and to sing to communicate your feelings. 


6. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) is a type of therapy used to treat individuals who suffer from trauma. It helps individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well. A therapy specialized in this treatment uses bilateral stimulation to activate the person’s brain and help them deal with painful memories. The therapist has the patient follow their finger while recalling a traumatic memory. They help the client work through their core beliefs about the trauma while engaging in eye movement-based therapy.


7. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)


DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) was initially developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder but has since been used on many different mental health conditions. It includes four principles - mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation. Radical acceptance is a crucial part of DBT. You accept the way things are so that you can respond to situations in your life. Individuals learn these principles as well as coping skills. DBT is the most effective in group therapy, but you can also have an individual counselor who practices it. 


8. Family Systems Therapy


Bowen Family System therapy focuses on how your family impacts the person you are today. Your early childhood relationships with your family members affect you. In this type of therapy, the client explores the different parts of themselves and how they represent, particularly at different ages. Part of the goal of Family Systems Therapy is for the client to differentiate themselves from their parents. This is an excellent type of treatment for people who want to learn how their family impacts their identity and gain a stronger sense of self. 


9. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)


ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) focuses on mindfulness as a means of accepting one’s feelings. ACT helps a person learn emotional awareness and embrace the full range of human emotion. It’s not easy to feel all your feelings. For example, some people are uncomfortable with experiencing anger. ACT can help individuals sit with their emotions and feel them without judgment. The commitment aspect of this therapy involves changing your behavior, so it represents what your core values are. 


10. Exposure Therapy 


Exposure therapy is a specialized form of treatment used to treat phobias. It can help people with anxiety and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The patient is either gradually or assertively exposed to something they’re afraid of, and eventually, they overcome their fear. Exposure therapy isn’t always easy, but it can help people change and grow.


Therapy can help you


Depending on your needs, you can decide what type of therapy works for you. Whether you select an online therapist or someone in your local area, you deserve to get the help you need. If you’re interested in online counseling, check out BetterHelp. You can find the support you need and start working through your individual issues. That way, you can improve your quality of life. 

Sarah Fader
Sarah Fader the CEO and Founder of Eliezer Tristan Publishing Company is dedicated to sharing the words of authors who endure and survive trauma and mental illness. She is also the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, ADAA, Psychology Today, and more.

Natural Intelligence does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.