When considering starting therapy it is important to consider which therapy approach is right for you. There is a myriad of information and advice at our fingertips nowadays and it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to choosing the right one. Below I have outlined 4 key approaches, which I hope are insightful and useful when it comes to making your decision.
Carl Rogers founded person centred theory in the 1940’s he said “Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes, and self-directed behaviour; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.”
Rogers believed that given the right conditions, a person can achieve their full potential and become their ‘true-self’ – this is ‘self-actualisation’.
The person-centred therapist will explore with you your reasons for seeking therapy, feelings, behaviour and worldview. Through providing unconditional positive regard, congruence and empathic understanding a trustworthy relationship is formed. The goal is for the client to develop a greater level of self-awareness, discovery of their own abilities and lead to a greater level of independence to cope with current and future difficulties.
A psychoanalytic approach to therapy, TA was developed by Eric Berne in the 1950’s. the theory assumes all adults develop three ego-stages: parent, adult and child. The ego system refers to the clients personality made up of three parts which reflect different systems of feeling, thought and behaviour.
A TA therapist will focus on directly problem-solving presenting difficulties with clients whilst also helping the client to develop tools that can be used day-to-day to find constructive and creative solutions. This is achieved by analysis of how the client communicates and to identify what interaction is required for a more desired outcome. The goal is to ensure clients achieve autonomy over their lives by recovering the human capacities of spontaneity, awareness and intimacy.
The three ego states:
Gestalt Psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach which focuses on the context of clients life and then taking responsibility for it rather than placing blame. A holistic approach increases awareness and insight to why we think, feel and act in the ways that we do. Considering the present moment and feeling and thoughts which emerge enable the therapy to adopt a more creative approach which is often more lively and spontaneous.
A clients ability for self-awareness can often become blocked due to negative and rigid behavioural approaches. The gestalt approach adopts relational theory with the current present state with a focus on the present moment to increase self-awareness, this will ultimately lead to the client achieving their full potential.
Integrative therapy is an approach to therapy that combines various psychotherapy approaches including the above described therapies to tailor the therapy specifically to the client. An integrative therapist takes the view that there is no ‘one size fits all’ to treat their client or a particular problem.
The entire person is considered as a whole and all therapeutic techniques are tailored to the individual person. The assumption is make that no single theory is superior and instead all are assumed to have value. These different approaches contradict each other hence their integration.
An integrative psychotherapist will consider what works for a client and also why. This approach considers the behavioural, affective, physiological and cognitive systems within the client as well as the context of their circumstances and social/spiritual aspects The key thing is that an integrative therapist will adapt the therapy specifically for the client and not make the client ‘fit the therapy’.
I always recommend discussing the approach with the therapist you are going to be working with and ask lots of questions. I work as an integrative psychotherapist so will pull from the approaches above to help my client, I can focus on one approach more than another though. To find out more get in contact with me today by either submitting a form or emailing me to arrange a first free phone call.