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Psychological approaches and therapies

There are many, many different psychological approaches and therapies. However, many of these are variants of each other. Below are described some of the main approaches and therapies of which you may have heard. Although it is not usually regarded as a therapy per se, I have included mindfulness because it is a psychological process that is highly effective in promoting mental wellbeing.

Each of these psychological approaches and therapies has distinct benefits and applications to suit different types of problems and objectives and the style of therapy preferred by, and best suited to, the person being treated. In practice, therapists are seldom purists who stick to only one therapy model. Although therapists may have their own preferences and lean more towards some than others, they often draw on the principles and techniques of a variety of therapy models, depending on the particular problems and objectives at hand. Research clearly tells us that recovery from psychological distress is aided by psychotherapy. However, research is not so clear about recommending a particular type of therapy. Ultimately, research tells us that the quality of the relationship between the person being treated and the therapist makes a bigger difference to the outcome of therapy than the particular type of therapy used.

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