Your Guide to Getting Help: Different Types of Therapy


When you’re struggling with a mental health issue, it can feel isolating. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. An estimated one in five adults in the United States lives with some type of mental illness.

Just like you would treat a physical illness by working with a doctor, you can help treat or manage a mental illness by working with a therapist. But did you know there are different types of therapy you can explore, depending on your needs?

You’re in the right place to learn more.

Keep reading to get a better understanding of the different types of therapy. As a result, you can get the treatment you need to feel like the best version of yourself.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The main idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is that our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors all influence each other. This is often an effective form of therapy when you feel like you get caught up in mood spirals that lead to unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts.

By working with a therapist through CBT, you’ll learn how to identify these unhelpful thoughts. Then, you can reframe your thinking so it’s more constructive and helpful. While you might think of therapy as sitting and talking to someone, CBT is a more collaborative process. It aims to help you solve problems in the here and now instead of revisiting events from your past.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Originally designed to help treat borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) focuses on helping you develop skills to help you cope when you’re facing difficult situations and intense emotions.

The main goal in DBT is to help you build mindfulness skills that can help you better regulate your emotions. This gives you the tools you need to help calm yourself down when your emotions feel out of control. If you’re having thoughts about self-harm, DBT can be an effective tool to help you work through and overcome them.

Trauma-Focused Therapy

Many times, our past experiences continue to affect our moods and feelings for years. This is especially true if you’ve lived through traumatic events like

  • Abuse and neglect
  • Sexual violence
  • Life-threatening scenarios

Going to trauma therapy can help you better deal with the emotions you experience as a result of the trauma.

Under the umbrella of trauma therapy, there are several different methods you can explore based on what you need the most. For example, prolonged exposure trauma therapy exposes you to your fears to help you overcome them. However, if you’d prefer not to talk about your traumatic event or you don’t remember it, you can try cognitive processing therapy (CPT).

CPT involves challenging and changing your perspective about the thoughts and feelings you have as a result of trauma instead of facing it head-on.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is likely what you imagine when you envision working with a therapist. During this type of therapy, you’ll talk to a mental health professional about the external factors that make up your life like your childhood and things you experience on a daily basis.

Your therapist will then help you understand how those different factors affect the following:

  • Your feelings
  • Your emotions
  • Your thoughts
  • Your decision-making abilities

From there, they can help you come up with healthier ways to respond to the factors that aren’t in your control through self-reflection.

If you often feel sad or deal with excess stress and anxiety, psychodynamic therapy could help you better navigate through life in healthier ways.

Interpersonal Therapy

Have you noticed that your thoughts and moods can negatively affect those around you? This is normal, but it can make maintaining relationships with other people very difficult. Interpersonal therapy helps you better understand how you feel and how that affects the various social interactions in your life.

During an interpersonal therapy session, you’ll talk through specific examples of recent conflicts in social settings.

For example, if you’ve been arguing with a roommate about boundaries, your therapist will help you break down a recent conversation with that roommate. Then, they’ll help you better understand any negative patterns or defense mechanisms and help you come up with more effective strategies that you can use in similar, future conversations.

Marriage and Family Therapy

Sometimes, the people that you love the most are the ones that you have the most conflict with on a regular basis. In that case, it can help to attend marriage or family therapy with your loved ones.

During these sessions, you’ll talk to a neutral, third-party therapist who can listen to you talk about your struggles and help you better understand others’ perspectives. They can also help you develop healthy and effective communication skills so that future conflicts are less hostile and more productive.

It’s a good idea to attend marriage or family therapy after experiencing betrayal, substance abuse issues, child behavior issues, or other similar stressors.

Group Therapy

Finally, you might realize that it would help you to learn from others who are experiencing similar circumstances or emotions. In that case, consider attending group therapy.

When you go to a group therapy session, there will be a certified group therapist to guide the session. Then, other members of the group will share their thoughts, feelings, and struggles. The group therapist and other members of the group may then offer advice or share their own struggles as you all work together to feel like the best version of yourselves.

This can be a powerful type of therapy since it can help you feel like you’re not alone. And, you just might make connections with other group members that can last a lifetime.

Understanding the Different Types of Therapy

Now that you’ve learned more about the different types of therapy available to you, we hope you have a better idea of how to get the help you need. You’ll never regret taking this time to better yourself.

Interested in reading more like this? Be sure to check out our other articles before you go.