Traditional Approaches

 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Focuses on identifying and modifying distorted thought patterns and the disturbing emotions and behaviors associated with them. By becoming aware of our thinking processes and changing our attitudes and beliefs, we can create healthier behaviors. CBT has been heavily researched and found to be effective in treating a variety of psychological issues, particularly depression and anxiety.

 

Psychodynamic Therapy

A form of depth therapy that examines our unconscious motives, needs and defenses, and how they impact current issues; e.g., how our early childhood experiences, particularly our relationship to our caregivers, create a template for how we relate to others later in life. Unhealthy attachment styles and unresolved emotional traumas are brought to consciousness to be healed in the context of the therapeutic relationship.

 

Solution-Focused Therapy

A brief therapy approach that is less concerned with the past and more focused on finding solutions to current problems. It is a strengths-based approach, in that a person’s existing resources are identified and utilized to help resolve issues and move the client toward future goals.

 

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Is based on Miller and Rollnick’s stages of change; the concept that change happens in distinct phases that require specific therapeutic interventions. For instance, a person in the pre-contemplation stage of change doesn’t see a problem or need to change, another in contemplation is on the fence about whether or not to make a change, while a person in action is committed to change and taking active steps to do so. The therapist takes a nonjudgmental and non-confrontational approach, and matches treatment strategies to the client’s stage of change to help resolve ambivalence and enhance motivation to follow through with positive changes. While MI is most often used in substance abuse treatment, the concept is applicable to any problem or behavior that a client brings to therapy.

 

Humanistic/Existential
/Transpersonal Psychology

All share a holistic approach to human existence through the exploration of meaning, values, freedom, health, hope, love, creativity, nature, being, becoming, individuality, personal responsibility, human potential, spirituality, and self-actualization. It is theorized that the understanding of these aspects within oneself allows for access to higher states of consciousness and the evolution of a stronger and healthier sense of self.

 

Family Systems Therapy

Examines the systems and structures in the family, such as rules, values and roles, and works to change unhealthy, habitual relationship patterns. This approach can be used in therapy with one or more family members or significant others, or as a framework to understand problematic ways of relating in an individual therapy context.

 

Narrative Therapy

Focuses on deconstructing and finding meaning in the stories that we tell ourselves about the world and our lives. The therapist works with the client to change the story to a more desired outcome, e.g., seeing painful experiences as valuable learning lessons that make us stronger and wiser.