Psychotherapy is a psychological treatment based fundamentally on dialogue that provides a comprehensive and supportive environment to identify the causes of the psychological problem and change the patterns of thought and behavior that sustain it. It uses scientifically validated techniques and methods supported by the main psychological schools, which serve as a roadmap for psychologists throughout therapy.
What types of psychological therapies are there?
There are now dozens of types of psychotherapy, from hypnotherapy and narrative therapy to experiential therapy and play therapy. However, the American Psychological Association recognizes five major approaches that encompass the different types of psychotherapies.
- Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies
This type of psychological therapy, which emerged with Sigmund Freud, has been enriched by the works of psychoanalysts such as Alfred Adler, Carl Jung or Erik Erickson. Psychoanalytically and psychodynamically oriented therapies are characterized by close collaboration between therapist and patient in the search for unconscious meanings and motivations .
The psychoanalyst facilitates the introspection process so that the person gains self-awareness . He encourages you to explore the unconscious and subconscious mind so that you find and understand the root of your psychological conflicts. He also helps him detect repressed feelings, emotions and impulses so that he can accept them, express them assertively and improve his quality of life.
- behavioral therapy
This type of psychological therapy focuses on the role of learning in the development of normal or pathological behaviors . The classical conditioning of Ivan Pavlov and later the operant conditioning of Burrhus Frederic Skinner laid the theoretical foundations for this type of psychotherapy.
Behavioral therapy often provides quick results because it focuses primarily on changing maladaptive behaviors . Therefore, it is often very effective in helping people break harmful habits and get rid of addictions by developing more positive and healthy behavior patterns instead.
- Cognitive therapy
Cognitive therapy, unlike behavioral therapy, emphasizes what people think, not what they do . Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck promoted the idea that dysfunctional thoughts, irrational beliefs, and cognitive frameworks are what lead to the development of maladaptive emotions or behaviors. You might be interested in more articles on our site.
Therefore, this type of psychotherapy works to change the thoughts that are at the root of the problem . The psychologist guides people so that they can identify their dysfunctional ideas and develop more realistic, positive and healthy alternative thoughts, as well as adaptive coping mechanisms for the future.
- humanistic therapy
This type of psychological therapy focuses on the ability of people to make rational decisions and develop their full potential . Abraham Maslow highlighted the importance of self-actualization and emphasized human potential. He fully trusted our ability to grow, heal, and self-realize through self-exploration.
On the other hand, Carl Rogers promoted a non-directive client-centered therapy in which therapists abandon their role of authority to simply focus on helping people accept themselves, discover what they want in life, and find the means to achieve it. Everything from active, empathic and judgment-free listening.
- Terapia shape
Gestalt therapy developed by the psychotherapist Fritz Perls is based on the principle that people are complete entities made up of body, mind and soul, and are best understood when they see themselves through their own eyes, not looking into the past as he proposes. psychoanalysis but by focusing on the “here and now”.
This type of psychotherapy promotes full awareness, self-responsibility and the search for meaning . The psychologist helps people explore their feelings and experiences through creative and experiential techniques such as guided recreation, role-play, bodywork, or art.
It should be clarified that, although there are different types of psychological therapies, many psychotherapists today are not tied to a specific approach , but rather combine elements, techniques and methods from different schools according to the needs of the person and their evolutionary stage. In such cases, an integrative or holistic therapy is referred to .
If you want to practice as a therapist, you will have to take a Degree in Psychology in person or online and then specialize. At the European University, for example, we offer you our Master’s Degree in Child and Youth Psychology so that you can specialize in these wonderful stages of development and the Master’s Degree in Psychological Intervention in Situations of Crisis, Catastrophes and Emergencies so that you can intervene safely and effectiveness at times when people need it most.