Thinking about therapy, do you know what kind

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Making the decision to go to therapy is a great step forward in looking after yourself, but if you’re not familiar with the field, you may not be aware of the different kinds of therapy available. Below we have outlined the various types of therapy available, and the key differences between them, to help you decide what kind of therapy is right for you

Child & Adolescent

While there will be many areas where child & adolescent therapy overlap with adult therapy, there are also many distinctions, particularly because young people do not always understand the importance of the issues they face or the therapy available. For children under 12, the parents or guardians will meet with the therapist beforehand to explain the issues at hand. The therapist will then determine whether to involve them in future sessions with the child, to proceed with one-on-one therapy, or both.

For teenagers, it is not unusual for parents/guardians to attend jointly at the beginning, but it is rare that they will join the sessions thereafter. Privacy is generally too important to teenagers to have anyone but the therapist present, so in order for it to be the most effective, most sessions will be one-on-one. Bullying, anxiety, stress, and trauma are some of the most common issues dealt with in child & adolescent therapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic model that examines the relationship between our thoughts and actions. CBT can be used to treat a range of issues such as substance abuse, anger issues, depression, and anxiety.

Most CBT sessions involve in-depth discussions of how the patient feels about different aspects and situations of the life, with a view to identifying the root cause of the behaviour they wish to change. Once this has been pinpointed, the therapist will develop a plan specific to that patient’s situation to teach them new ways to think and react to whatever it is that triggers the behavior they wish to change.


Counselling involves a patient meeting with a counsellor to discuss problems that may not be related to a specific mental health issue. Counselling is often used for people who are feeling lost or unfulfilled in their life, as opposed to people who have experienced a specific incident or trauma. The counsellor will then suggest changes the person may make to give them more personal satisfaction, sometimes offering professional advice, and sometimes, just an outsider’s perspective.

Emotion Focussed Therapy

Emotion Focussed Therapy (EFT) approaches issues with the view that our emotions are the primary factor in how we live and view our lives. According to this school of thought, most of the issues people face can be traced back in some way to our emotional state. An emotionally focussed therapist will examine how a patient feels and expresses their emotions, and teach them new ways to address problematic emotions, and promote new ones.


Mindfulness is based on the meditative practices common in East-Asian religions, but with a more medical and scientific basis. At its core, mindfulness promotes living in the present rather than dwelling on past events or worrying about the future. It can be used to address a wide range of issues, such as anxiety, addiction, and stress.


Psychology is the study of the human mind in logical terms. It examines the reasons behind our thought processes, feelings, and behaviours. Positive psychology aims to promote reasonable thinking and reactions to situations, as well as appropriate emotional responses.

Psychologists often work with a patient to identify how their mind works so they can identify disproportionate or unhelpful thought processes. When these have been identified, the psychologist can then work with the patient to explain why these are problematic, and what might be a more beneficial way to think and respond.


Psychotherapy is often confused with psychology, but rather than focussing primarily on how a patient’s mind works, it examines how the mind works in the context of sensitive issues in the person’s life. It is generally more focussed on specific events or situations in a person’s life than psychology, which mainly deals with how a person’s mind will react to most situations.

Relationship Counselling

As the name implies, relationship counselling is for couples that are going through a difficult time. This can be applied to any problem that is putting a relationship under pressure, whether it is commitment issues, frequent fighting, mistrust, fertility problems, or circumstantial changes, such as one partner moving far away. The main purpose of relationship counselling is to ensure that both parties are truly happy in the relationship, restore faith in each other, and to provide an impartial mediator to discuss issues that the people involved may not be willing to discuss with friends.

As you can see, there are many different types of therapy that are specialised to deal with various situations. In order to get the most out of therapy, it is important that you visit the most appropriate therapist. Hopefully this has clarified any confusion you had regarding the many different types of therapy available, but if you have any questions or would like to know more, please contact us.

David Clarke