Psychotherapy models – Short description and comparison

Therapy can do wonders for people. But therapy is not just one construct but a variety of different toolsets that therapists choose from. Here is a short comparison of a few different therapy forms in use by modern therapists.

CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy

Probably the most widespread now due to it’s proven efficacy in studies and structured manner of guiding clients. It’s based on thought patterns that are ineffective for happy living. The client is guided toward examining limiting or harmful thoughts and challenged to come up with evidence for and against the views. One example is black and white thinking. An example of such a thought is my mom, either she hates me or she loves me. There is no middle ground there. The client is then guided to examine the evidence for this thought for and against it.

This model is good for those who want concrete tools to deal with their thought patterns. Not as good for those who feel uncomfortable with using such formulas and would prefer to discuss their problems with an empathic listener in order to understand themselves and their past better.

ACT  – Acceptance commitment therapy

Compassion. The focus is not on trying to fix your thoughts or faults but to learn self-love. To Accept that ..

DBT – Dialectical behaviour therapy

The dialectical means approximately to go from one side to another. An example of this is as goes: On one hand you are perfect as you are and you don’t have to change anything about yourself. On the other hand you need to change yourself to feel better in life. But it’s ok that you feel bad and you can also stay as you are. But maybe it would not be very helpful.

The beauty of DBT is that it is very affirming of the person dealing with a problem. It’s validating in it’s form of seeing the pain a person is going through and that these difficulties are a very normal reaction to this person’s past and present. It then uses the tools offered in CBT to assist people to make the changes they need to make at their own time.

This method has proven very beneficial for different populations such as people diagnosed with bipolar disorder or certain personality disorders.

MBCT – Mindfulness based cognitive therapy

CBT with the added component of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness has been found to be very effective in assisting people with chronic pain, depression, anxiety etc. It’s efficacy is undisputed but it’s also quite a difficult skill to consistently use as finding calm in a hectic world is not always so easy.



although insurance coverage demands are reducing the variety in favor of “short and effective” therapy models.

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