What Types of counselling are there?
There are lots of different types of therapy available, but it can be hard to know the differences between them and what might be the right one for you. Below are some of the more common ones we hear about but for a full list and further information, the BACP can offer this here
Solution-focused brief therapy
The idea of this style of therapy is that it focuses specifically on your goals and what you want to achieve from therapy. It looks forward to the future rather than the past and is based on far fewer sessions than long-term counselling.
This type of therapy stresses the importance of past experiences and looks to explore patterns that people develop over time. Therapists may encourage you to explore your early life experiences, the relationships you have with others and to speak freely about your emotions and feelings. This approach is based on the idea that parts of our mind are pushed out of our conscious awareness and works to allow such feelings back into our conscious thought.
This approach focuses on the individual as a whole. It supports people to think about their feelings, thoughts and actions in order to develop as a person and increase their self-awareness. Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Transpersonal therapy and Person-centred therapy (PCT) all fall under this term of humanistic counselling.
Person Centred Therapy
Based on the idea that everyone has the capacity to change, grow and reach their full potential. Counsellors offer empathy and unconditional positive regard within their interactions with people. Person-centred counsellors will allow you to guide sessions looking at the things you may be struggling with and facilitate an environment that helps you to change the things making you unhappy.
Transactional Analysis (TA)
TA may look at many different areas such as messages we picked up from our carers growing up, cycles of behaviour and how we view and interpret the world around us. It looks at our personality and believes each of us take on states of Parent, Adult and Child when we interact with others. TA therapists may share a number of theories with you to help you better understand yourself and the way you respond to things. They may also ask you to complete tasks between sessions.
This style of counselling explores the whole person and may use techniques from lots of different modalities to tailor their approach to you.
Therapists that practice this kind of therapy place great emphasis on human potential, heightened consciousness and spirituality.
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
Particularly helpful for those who have experienced trauma or PTSD, EMDR helps to resolve symptoms from distressing life experiences.
During this type of session, a client is asked to hold different thoughts of the event within their mind whilst being encouraged to move their eyes in different directions, following the hand of the therapist. The idea behind this is it allows our brain to process the experience in different ways.
This type of therapy looks at the individual as a whole, within their surroundings. Counsellors practicing Gestalt, may be direct in your sessions, asking you to complete different tasks or encouraging you to focus on how you think and feel in the immediate moment. It can help issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction and stress.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
This is a type of talking therapy that looks at the things you think as well as the things you do. It is built upon the idea that the way we think, affects the ways we feel and subsequently the way we behave. Therapists may explore negative thoughts or behaviours with you and in turn this can help to change the way you feel and the way you act in future.
CBT can be helpful for issues such as depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, stress, PTSD and phobias.