There are dozens of therapy models out there – even with my medical background I was totally ignorant of what is what until I started my own training.
Here’s a beginners guide to the main modalities. Its not my own work but cut and pasted from various sites.
Im a fan of the transpersonal approach and that’s what im training in. I like its spiritual and transcendent bias which given my limerent experience fits nicely. I saw my limerence as a spiritual awakening.
SO is training as a psychosynthesis therapist so I’ve included that as well. My poor daughters – it will be like “meet the fockers” when they bring their boyfriends home.
Personally I think what’s more important than the modality practiced is the relationship you have with your therapist. Does it feel right? Can you trust them? Do you respect them? Do you even like them?
Founded by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalytic therapists generally spend time listening to patients talk about their lives, which is why this method is often referred to as “talk therapy.” The therapy provider will look for patterns or significant events that may play a role in the client’s current difficulties. Psychoanalysts believe that childhood events and unconscious feelings, thoughts and motivations play a role in mental illness and maladaptive behaviors. While this type of therapy has many critics who claim that psychoanalytic therapy is too time consuming, expensive and generally ineffective, this treatment has several benefits as well. The therapist offers an empathetic and nonjudgmental environment where the client can feel safe in revealing feelings or actions that have led to stress or tension in his or her life. Oftentimes, simply sharing these burdens with another person can have a beneficial influence.
Originally designed to treat phobias and now seen as a panacea by the bureaucrats who run the UK’s health service. Its far from a cure all. Cognitive therapists tend to focus on specific problems. These therapists believe that irrational thinking or faulty perceptions cause dysfunctions. A cognitive therapist may work with a client to change thought patterns. Behavioral therapists work to change problematic behaviors that have been trained through years of reinforcement. A good example of behavioral therapy would be a therapist working with a client to overcome a fear of heights. The therapist would encourage the client to gradually face their fear of heights through experience. The client might first imagine standing on the roof of a tall building or riding an escalator. Next, the client would slowly expose themselves to greater and greater levels of their fear until the phobia diminishes or disappears entirely.
Transpersonal Psychology enhances the study of mind-body relations, spirituality, consciousness and human transformation. Experts disagree as to the specific model and margins of this form of therapy, however the three key areas that are considered through transpersonal psychotherapy are: Combined/Holistic and Natural Psychology, Transformative Psychology and Ego-Transcended Psychology. Transpersonal psychology uses positive influences, rather than the diseased human psyche and our defenses, as a model for the realization of human potential. Saints, artists, prophets and heroes are all revered and examined as embodying the true nature of our human psyche. This technique encourages a person to see their inner capabilities and view themselves as in the process of reaching that state that has been achieved by the models represented.
In an attempt to broaden the basis of Freud’s “talking cure,” psychiatrist Roberto Assagiolo developed Psychosynthesis by integrating imagination, will, and intuition into the traditional therapy. He drew from a person’s own human capacities, including aspirations, spirit, and the center or Self. Psychosynthesis has many practical applications and is often used in education, business, psychology, and spirituality. The primary goal of psychosynthesis is to increase our sense of center and create balance in our lives by ulitizing our free will and personal internal resources. This multi-dimensional form of therapy encourages clients to unify and embrace differences in others and promotes community responsibility and respect. Clients are instructed to discover oppositions within themselves and to use their higher wisdom to affect a more positive experience with the world around them.