Psychodynamic psychotherapy is similar to psychoanalysis (made popular by Sigmund Freud) in its view that emotional difficulties/issues are connected to one’s unconscious conflicts and they are contributing to current thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviors. Psychodynamic therapy is typically more short-term than psychoanalysis and with more emphasis on the relationship building between client and therapist.

Person-centered therapy developed by Carl Rogers relies on the client to be the catalyst for their own healing. Rogers believed in the power of each of us to heal ourselves. By discovering our own capabilities we are able to find solutions to problems that plague us. In person-centered therapy, the therapist acts as a model for communication, but does not provide answers for the client. The therapists’ role is to provide guidance and structure, so that the client can discover the solutions within themselves, using the techniques and strategies taught by the therapist. The therapist provides unconditional acceptance and support to the client so that they can comfortably and confidently move forward and inward on their journey of self-discovery.

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Transpersonal therapy emphasizes the transcendent or spiritual aspects of a client’s development. A transpersonal therapist may help the client cultivate a greater sense of connectedness with others, with nature, and with a higher spirit.

The humanistic method takes a positive view of human nature and emphasizes the uniqueness of the individual. Therapists in this tradition, who are interested in exploring the nature of creativity, love, and self-actualization, help clients realize their potential through change and self-directed growth. Humanistic therapy is also an umbrella term for gestalt, client-centered therapy, and existential therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy stresses the role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. It is based on the belief that thoughts, rather than people or events, cause our negative feelings. The therapist assists the client in identifying, testing the reality of, and correcting dysfunctional beliefs underlying his or her thinking. The therapist then helps the client modify those thoughts and the behaviors that flow from them. CBT is a structured collaboration between therapist and client and often calls for homework assignments. CBT has been clinically proven to help clients in a relatively short amount of time with a wide range of disorders, including depression and anxiety.

Life coaching/Personal Coaching is an increasingly popular profession that has no specific licensing or academic requirements. Therapists using this approach don’t focus on treating mental illness. Instead, they help individuals realize their goals in work and in life.

Mindfulness/ Mindful Awareness Practices refers to an open, curious attention on the present. The attitude of mindfulness is non-judgmental, purposeful and includes a willingness to be with what is. Mindful awareness practices are activities (like meditation) that strengthen the mind, and cultivate awareness of breath, sensations, emotions and thoughts. With practice a sense of equanimity evolves and a greater state of inner balance emerges that supports us meeting all of life’s situations in a more accepting way.

 

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