Psych Basics - Treatment Approaches

General Models of Therapy — Approaches and Philosophies



The following list is meant to provide viewers with an overview of the various treatment approaches and philosophies used within the counseling arena. Click on the approaches below to view a broad definition.


Adlerian therapy is a brief, psycho educational approach that is both humanistic and goal oriented. It emphasizes the individual's strivings for success, connectedness with others, and contributions to society as being hallmarks of mental health.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy involving the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modeling, used as a remedial activity or an aid to diagnosis.

Bioenergetic Analysis

A specific form of body-psychotherapy, based upon the continuity between body and mind, rooted in the work of Wilhelm Reich and founded by Alexander Lowen. Bioenergetic Analysis is a unique and effective relational somatic psychotherapy with a long and established history on the cutting edge of modern psychology as rapid advance in neurobiology highlights the intricate and intimate relationship between body and mind. 

Client Centered

Client centered therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, is focused on the therapist establishing a warm, safe environment for the client, and providing genuine empathy. The therapist normally does not give advice.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel and/or act better even if the situation does not change. The term "cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)" is a very general term for a classification of therapies with similarities. There are several approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy, including Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Dialectic Behavior Therapy.

Creative Therapies

Creative therapy involves using art, dance, and drama, to promote self-awareness, express trauma, aid communication, and facilitate change. These techniques are often used in survivors who have difficulty verbalizing their emotions.

Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention therapy aims to intervene as quickly as possible after the traumatic event occurred. The goals are to help the client clarify the event, minimize the use of destructive coping skills, and create productive coping techniques.

DBT-Dialectic Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an approach that has been developed for a type of personality that has extreme shifts in emotional state and behavioral instability called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In addition, those with BPD may have tendencies toward self-injurious or suicidal behaviors, and have difficulty stopping themselves from acting upon these impulses. Simultaneous emphasis on acceptance and the need for change are at the core of this approach, and specific behavioral skills are learned and practiced to improve impulse control, emotional regulation, interpersonal interactions and overall functioning. The goal is to replace old, harmful ways of thinking, feeling and behaving with new, healthier ones.

Eclectic Therapy

As its name indicates, eclectic therapy is a therapeutic approach that incorporates a variety of therapeutic principles and philosophies in order to create the ideal treatment program to meet the specific needs of the patient or client.

EMDR Therapy

EMDR is a specialized treatment technique. EMDR, the acronym or abbreviation for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is used to relieve the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems, originally using only movements of the eyes similar to those which occur naturally in REM sleep. In the American Psychiatric Association "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Acute Stress Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder", EMDR is given an equal status with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as an effective treatment for relieving symptoms of PTSD.

Family Systems Theory

The family systems theory is a theory introduced by Dr. Murray Bowen that suggests that individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another, but rather as a part of their family, as the family is an emotional unit.

Feminist Theory

Feminist theory aims to empower women by focusing on power disparities in relationships.

Gottman Method

The Gottman Method is a highly structured and goal-oriented form of couples therapy that is designed to help couples maintain healthy, lasting relationships.


Imago therapy is a wonderfully effective and safe approach to helping relationship partners grow into understanding each other more fully and relating more honestly as they evolve into greater wholeness as individuals within the relational context they share.

Hypnotherapy / Hypnosis

Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy utilized to create unconscious change in the patient in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and/or feelings. It is undertaken with a subject in hypnosis. During hypnosis, the hypnotist uses techniques that foster a very relaxed state in which defenses’ or resistance is lowered. Then, suggestions are given that are related to the purpose of the procedure or the subjects mind or imagination is explored in order to gain insight or access to memories (though accuracy in not enhanced.)

Jungian Analyst/ Jungian Psychotherapist

Jungian psychotherapists study and apply analytical psychology based on Carl Jung theory focusing on the concepts of the extroverted and introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious.

Medication treatment of Opioid addictions

Medications such as, Buprenorphine, a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) as a medication-assisted treatment (MAT). OPIOID FACTS [] and Naloxone as an Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug, (usually in nasal-spray form) which quickly reverses an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids. It can restore normal breathing within 2 to 3 minutes in a person whose breath has slowed, or even stopped, as a result of opioid overdose. More than one dose of naloxone may be required when stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved.

Mindfulness Counseling and Psychotherapy

Modern psychology defines this modality as a two-component model. The first component involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment. The second component involves adopting a particular orientation towards one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness and acceptance. This methodology helps people recognize their habitual patterns of mind and allows them to respond in new ways to their life rather than habitual. This practice is useful in the treatment of pain, stress, anxiety, depressive relapse, disordered eating, and addiction.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy involves telling and retelling the story of a trauma in order to better understand it, and work through the problems associated with it.


Neurofeedback is biofeedback that uses electroencephalography to provide a signal to be used as feedback about brain activity. The proponent claim that neurofeedback is an effective intervention for ADHD and epilepsy, and research is being performed to investigate the effectiveness of the technique for treating autism, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and substance abuse.


Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. Its creators claim a connection between the neurological processes ("neuro"), language ("linguistic") and behavioral patterns learned through experience ("programming") and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.

Psychodynamic /Psychoanalytic

Psychoanalytic therapy aims to uncover unconscious thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Psychodynamic theory also focuses on uncovering repressed thoughts and emotions while focusing on the dynamics of the client’s family.


This therapy involves the therapist teaching the survivor about the impact of trauma, common disorders associated with trauma, and ways to cope with symptoms.

Somatic/Body Therapies

Somatic therapy a holistically orientated therapy that works to address the “bodily” memory of trauma by helping the client recognize where they are carrying physical tension.

Substance Abuse/Addictions

Substance abuse therapy involves addressing the use of a substance such as alcohol or drugs as a coping method. The goal is to work through the addiction and develop more adaptive coping methods. CBT and 12-step programs are the most common approaches.

Solution-Focused Therapy

Solution focused therapy seeks to establish goals and solutions to a client’s problem that utilize the client’s strengths. The client sets their own goals and is aided by the therapist through psycho education and interactive counseling.

Spiritual/Religious-based therapy

Spiritual or Faith-Based Counseling is an approach to therapy in which the insights of theology and spirituality are integrated with the principles of modern behavioral science to help individuals, couples, families, groups and institutions achieve wholeness and health. Different from other forms of counseling, Faith-Based Counseling is guided by the conviction that emotional illnesses are best healed by taking into consideration both the wisdom of spiritual teachings and the knowledge of human psychology.


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