Types of Psychotherapy
These are the main types of psychotherapy described by the American Psychiatric Association.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people identify and change thinking and behavior patterns that are harmful or ineffective, replacing them with more accurate thoughts and functional behaviors. It can help a person focus on current problems and solve them. However, it often involves practicing new skills in the “real world.”
CBT can help treat various disorders, including depression, anxiety, trauma-related disorders, and eating disorders. For example, CBT can help a person with depression recognize and change negative thought patterns or behaviors contributing to the depression.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a short-term form of treatment. It helps patients understand underlying interpersonal issues that are troublesome, like unresolved grief, changes in social or work roles, conflicts with significant others, and problems relating to others. In addition, it can help people learn healthy ways to express emotions and methods to improve communication and how they relate to others. It is most often used to treat depression.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a specific type of CBT that helps regulate emotions. It is frequently helpful in treating people with chronic suicidal thoughts and borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and PTSD. It teaches new skills to help people take personal responsibility to change unhealthy or disruptive behavior. It involves both individual and group therapy.
Psychodynamic therapy views the idea that behavior and mental well-being go back to childhood experiences and inappropriate repetitive thoughts or unconscious feelings (outside of the person’s awareness). Therefore, a person works with the therapist to improve self-awareness and change old patterns to take charge of their lives more fully.