Therapy Approaches

Here are explanations of some of the popular approaches to therapy that some therapists may take:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This approach mainly highlights how our thoughts may affect our actions even when we don't realize it, and works to help consciously identify and revise thinking approaches that are unhelpful or inaccurate.

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Focuses on mindfulness and interpersonal skills, popular for those with borderline personality disorder. Though DBT is often conducted in a group format with weekly meetings with a skills coach, some clinicians use aspects of DBT in their sessions.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Includes some aspects of CBT, but also emphasizes acceptance and mindfulness. The goal is to identify and accept your negative feelings, and help you observe yourself so that in the future, you can act differently in the moment.
  • Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Therapy. In psychoanalysis, the focus is on the client's internal world and allowing the client to free-associate while lying on the couch. Psychodynamic therapy has more of a focus on the therapist-client relationship.
  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy. Mindfulness exercises train you to notice thoughts that come into your brain and then let them go to focus on the present instead of the past or the future.
  • Text-Based/Phone Therapy. Therapy is often reliant on being in the same space as the therapist, because body language and emotions can be hard to convey over the phone. As a result, many therapists do not provide text-based or phone therapy, or may only agree to do so after getting to know you better in person.