Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an extensively researched and established therapeutic approach which has proven to be effective in treating a broad range of psychological concerns. It is a relatively short-term and solution-focussed approach which assists clients to identify and change unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. The focus of therapy is the development of practical skills which promote sustainable change and enhance quality of life.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
MBCT is a newer therapeutic approach which extends on traditional CBT methods by incorporating mindfulness based psychological strategies. Mindfulness strategies focus on teaching clients to become aware of their thoughts and feelings, accepting them without attachment or reaction. Through this process it is hoped that clients can learn to be more reflective of their thoughts and feelings, leading to lasting emotional change. MBCT may be particularly helpful for individuals experiencing depression.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is a blended therapeutic approach which utilises acceptance, behavioural, and mindfulness strategies to enhance wellbeing and treat a number of mental health concerns. Rather than aiming to control one’s thoughts and feelings, ACT encourages clients to accept their experiences and commit to action which seeks to enhance their quality of life. ACT aims to achieve psychological flexibility through six core principles: values, committed action, contact with the present moment, the observing self, cognitive defusion and acceptance.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
IPT is an established therapeutic approach which may be time limited or a longer-term therapy. This approach focuses on the present and may be helpful in resolving a number of psychological concerns. IPT can be used in isolation or integrated with other approaches. IPT explores the development and maintenance of psychological distress through focussing on a client’s interpersonal issues. Any issues which are identified over the course of therapy are explored from the perspective of interpersonal relations, providing an opportunity to learn new ways of interacting with others.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
MI is similar to other therapeutic approaches in that it aims to improve wellbeing through positive and sustainable change. MI is a non-coercive process for helping clients clearly identify areas for change. Treatment subsequently focuses on strengthening a client’s motivation for change and supporting them through the process. Progress is achieved through promoting change which is consistent with an individual’s personal values and beliefs.
Narrative Therapy (NT)
NT is a therapeutic approach which recognises that people are experts in their own lives and as such, possess natural skills and competencies which may help facilitate change. NT views problems as external to the individual. In this sense, distance allows clients to address problems more openly and productively. NT views a client’s life as a series of stories (or narratives) which emerge over time and to which meaning is attributed. Over the course of therapy, these narratives can be explored and preferred stories of one’s life can be enriched (also known as reauthoring).
Person Centred Therapy (PCT)
PCT is a widely used therapeutic approach which is less structured than some of the other approaches outlined. PCT focuses on improving self-understanding and allowing the client to work through their concerns without direct intervention by the therapist. The therapist may also help the client gain insight, openness to change, and courage to face the unknown. This approach views the quality of the client-therapist relationship as crucial to the success of therapy.
Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy (SFCT)
SFCT is a combined therapeutic approach which involves aspects of CBT (outlined above) and is used in the treatment of a wide range of chronic and difficult problems. This approach aims to explore entrenched beliefs and ways of viewing the world (also known as schemas). Schemas are extremely stable and enduring patterns which are often linked with memories, bodily sensations and thoughts. SFCT focuses on changing those unhelpful patterns so that individuals become less emotionally vulnerable and have an improved sense of wellbeing.