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  • Emma Mason

Types of Therapy/Counselling Part 1

Something that I have come across, being a counsellor, is that a lot of people don’t know what types of counselling/therapies are out there. This got me thinking, “Maybe I should write a blog post about it!” So, I sat down at my laptop and started researching and I found that there are SO MANY different types of therapies, even I hadn’t heard of some of them and I am a qualified counsellor! Because of this, I have decided to split this topic into parts. This part with be looking at some of the types of counselling and therapies that I work with which are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Person-Centred Therapy.

To begin with, it is important to understand that these types of therapies are based on theories. In its simplest form, a theory is an idea. In counselling and psychology, theories are researched, tested and measured so that the researcher can decide if the theory works or doesn’t. Everyone is different and everyone brings different issues to counselling and therapy, so it makes sense to have more than one theory and therapy. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the therapies below.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT was developed by combining two therapies; these were cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. The main idea behind CBT is that our thoughts affect our behaviour which in turn affects our feelings which circles back around to thoughts and so on. This doesn’t have to follow this path though, our feelings could affect our behaviour and that could affect our thoughts. Sounds a little complicated doesn’t it? Humans are complex creatures. Here is a diagram to simplify things:

An example of how the cycle works could be that you feel anxious, to begin with. You might then think “I can’t cope, what is wrong with me, I’m a failure” and the behaviour that comes from this might be to run away and avoid social situations where you feel anxious. This might sound like a good idea and it works in the short term but in the long term, it can become problematic, especially if you are avoiding work or seeing friends.

In CBT, you will work with your therapist to identify any negative thoughts, feelings or behaviours that you may be experiencing. From there, you may look at the cycle that comes up and, working with your therapist/counsellor, find a way to break that cycle. You may only get to a point where you identify the cycle, this is still part of the process of counselling and this is still an achievement because most people don’t know they have these cycles going on. They are not in our conscious awareness, but by bringing them into our awareness we can change them.

CBT can help with Anxiety, Depression, Phobias, Bipolar disorder, Panic Attacks, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Anger Management, Addiction and Eating Problems as well as many other issues that a person may have. As mentioned earlier, not all therapies are for everyone but don’t worry if CBT doesn’t work for you, there are many other therapies and branches of CBT out there that might work better for you.

Person-Centred Therapy

Person-Centred Therapy was developed by a man named Carl Rogers. Rogers believed that people had a built-in drive to be the best they can be but throughout life, things get in the way. Rogers believed that there were only six conditions that the counsellor needed to meet for therapy to work and today it can be narrowed down to just three. These were unconditional positive regard (being non-judgemental), congruence (being open and honest) and empathy. Empathy is all about being with the client in what they are going through while at the same time being grounded in reality. It is believed that this was all counsellors needed to do to form a therapeutic relationship between the counsellor and client and this would then lead to healing for the client. Person-Centred counselling is so underrated today as people see it as the counsellor is “just listening” and although this is true to some extent, there is so much more going on.

Person-Centred counselling allows the client to explore how they are feeling and what is going on for them while also having someone wanting to hear it and wanting to be in the feelings with the client. Because the counsellor is with the client every step of the way, asking questions, helping the client acknowledge how they are feeling and getting a really good grasp on what the client’s world is like for the client, the client feels safe and heard and this can lead to them being able to process what is going on for them with the added support of the counsellor. The whole focus is on the individual and the therapist is sort of like a sounding board for the client.

Person-centred therapy is a great foundation for other therapies, so you may find it being used in an Integrative or in Eclectic way (we will get around to these types of therapies). Person-Centred therapy is a good all-round talking therapy and can be especially beneficial for people experiencing Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Grief, Low Self-esteem, Identity Issues and clients who want to learn to trust themselves and make their own decisions in life. As mentioned earlier, not all therapies are for everyone but don’t worry if Person-Centred doesn’t work for you, there are many other therapies out there that might work better for you.

That is a very brief overview of CBT and Person-Centred Therapy and if you would like to know more about it check out the links in the References and Additional Reading Section, also YouTube has a lot of good resources if you prefer to watch a video rather than read. I may do more in-depth blog posts on each therapy in the future.

Let me know in the comments what your experiences with CBT or Person-Centred Counselling have been like if you have learnt something new or what your expectations of these theories are? There is no pressure to share if you do not want to, that is okay.

If you have any questions about counselling and the different types of counselling, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help. If you would like to book a session with me, please contact me via email, phone or my website contact form and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

I hope you have a great day, see you next time for part 2!

References & Additional Reading

What is a theory? - https://www.skillsyouneed.com/learn/theory.html

What is CBT? (NHS) - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Mind) - https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/#.XWpgZXvTVPY

What can CBT help with? (Mind)- https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/what-cbt-can-treat/#.XWpo0nvTVPY

Person Centred Therapy (Counselling Directory) - https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/person-centred-therapy.html

The Person Centred Association - https://www.the-pca.org.uk/

Person Centred Therapy (Psychology Today) - https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/therapy-types/person-centered-therapy

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