Types of Therapy
Finding a good fit

The efficacy of therapy is often dependent on the connection the client feels with the therapist. It may be important to consider race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, sexual orientation, and other identities that your child will feel more connected to. Therapy can be a deeply personal process, and a therapist who shares a similar background/lived experience may understand their needs better and your child may feel more comfortable opening up.

Types of Therapy

Below is not a comprehensive list but designed to give you a high level introduction to the various types of common therapies. These may often be done individually or in a family or group setting.

and Commitment Therapy

— A C T —

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)    is a type of mindful therapy that teaches the individual to stay focused on the present moment and to accept thoughts and feelings without judgment, combining mindfulness skills with the practice of self-acceptance.

The six core processes that are taught include: Acceptance, Cognitive Diffusion, Being Present, Self as Context, Values, Committed Action. Therapists will work with the individuals utilizing worksheets with a variety of prompts such as identifying triggers, values, and ways the mind can get stuck.


— C B T —

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is typically a short-term treatment that emphasizes the evaluation of current functioning and problems; CBT operates under the premise that problems are based on unhelpful ways of thinking and learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.

By identifying cognitive distortions, faulty ways of thinking, and developing new skills, the individual can change the resulting negative emotions and behaviors they engage in as a result of these automatic negative thoughts. Therapists will often assign homework including activities that are meant to set goals, problem solve, and self-monitor progress. This is one of the most researched forms of therapy and is effective in treatment for disorders like anxiety and depression.


— D B T —

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy  (DBT) approaches thoughts and behaviors using additional modalities of emotional regulation, mindfulness, and groups. There is a focus on stress management, regulation, and positive relationships.

Originally developed for Borderline Personality Disorder, its usage has expanded to other mental health disorders in which individuals have difficulty with emotional regulation and self-destructive tendencies such as eating disorders, substance use disorders, and even PTSD.

Eye Movement
Desensitization and Reprocessing

— E M D R —

EMDR is therapy that was initially developed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but has been expanded to treat other conditions. This treatment technique involves moving your eyes in a specific way with guided instructions while you process traumatic or distressing memories and experiences.

Based on Dr. Shapiro’s Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP), that the brain stores traumatic events differently, while storing typical events smoothly, this treatment works to reprocess and repair the way the brain coded and stored the memory.

Focused Therapy

— E F T —

Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) is traditionally known to work with couples but can be used for individuals and family work (EFIT, EFFT). EFT is based on the premise that emotions are key to identity; it focuses on building awareness of emotions, regulating, and resolving them, and encouraging people to work through their emotions rather than repress them.

EFT works to develop two main skills: identifying one’s emotions through increased awareness and acceptance, and learning to transform emotions and utilize the information they provide to make better choices and improve actions.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic Therapy examines the individual’s emotions, relationships, thought patterns, and even dreams. By identifying the individual’s psychological processes, people see how they avoid distress or develop unhealthy coping mechanisms like denial, repression, and rationalization, keeping painful memories and experiences stored in the unconscious.

Psychodynamic therapy emerged as a shorter and simpler version of psychoanalysis, yet still lengthier than other forms of therapy like CBT. The therapist will often explore early childhood experiences and relationships with parents; in this way, the relationship with the therapist is impactful and will help the therapist see how the individual interacts with friends and loved ones. As painful material is brought to the conscious, the defense mechanisms may reduce or ideally replace with healthier coping skills.

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