When you seek mental health help, it’s good to know that your therapist has various tools in their toolkit to assist you in becoming the healthiest version of yourself. Since no two people are alike, a type of therapy that is most effective for you might differ from one that helps another person.
Additionally, it’s common to blend therapy methods to help you achieve the most benefit from counseling. This article will review three evidence-based therapy approaches to help you understand different counseling methods therapists use. We’ll begin by discussing cognitive behavioral therapy.
Understanding Different Counseling Methods
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that focuses on problems you’re currently experiencing. It’s an effective treatment built on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, and actions are intertwined, specifically, that your thoughts are a precursor to your feelings and behavior.
In other words, your symptoms diminish, and your quality of life improves as you learn to recognize and change negative or distorted thinking that may lead to anxiety, depression, or harmful behaviors.
CBT includes helping you:
- Become aware of thought patterns or inaccurate perceptions
- Recognize how they may contribute to problematic symptoms
- Learn strategies to help you overcome negative thought patterns that are holding you back
- Achieve your goals
CBT may include:
- Goal setting
- Helpful homework assignments
- Relaxation techniques
2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of CBT. They are similar as they both incorporate cognitive therapy with behavior therapy to help you examine your thoughts and behaviors through talk therapy.
A primary difference between the two therapies is that DBT emphasizes helping you with skills to manage challenging emotions and improve interpersonal relationships.
DBT helps you in four main areas:
- Mindfulness — increasing your ability to stay present in the moment
- Distress tolerance — increasing your tolerance of negative emotions
- Emotional regulation — improving your ability to manage intense emotions
- Interpersonal effectiveness — enhancing your ability to interact with others by learning to ask for what you need and setting appropriate boundaries
DBT may include:
- Group therapy for mutual support while incorporating homework and practicing new relationship skills
- Individual therapy to help you apply behavioral skills to your specific life challenges
- Phone coaching if needed for support between sessions
3. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a form of behavioral therapy that helps you accept what is out of your control and commit to actions that enrich your life. Its underlying premise is that everyone experiences suffering in life.
ACT increases your psychological flexibility by teaching you skills to:
- Get in touch with the present
- Accept your feelings without judging them
- Handle problems rather than avoid them
- Practicing self-acceptance
- Mindfulness skills
Mindfulness is the “ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Are You Ready for a Positive Change?
Peace activist and author Thich Nhat Hanh has penned the words, “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” If you sense that your life isn’t all it can be, our therapists at Eunoia Counseling are available for you. We are compassionate, warm, and skilled at partnering with you to design treatment or coaching unique to your needs. Contact us for your confidential appointment today.