Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is known as the gold standard when it comes to
psychotherapy. It requires working with a psychotherapist in a collaboratively structured way.
CBT directs you into looking at your negative and faulty ways of thinking, so you may identify challenging events more clearly and instead of simply reacting, respond to them in a more productive way.
CBT, either alone or in combination with other therapies, can be a very powerful tool in
treating psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or an eating disorder. However, everyone who benefits from CBT does not necessarily have a psychological condition. CBT is a powerful tool for anyone to learn how to manage stressful life situations effectively.
Originally, Dialectical Behavior Therapy was designed to treat borderline personality disorder
(BPD), however it has been modified to treat other different symptoms. DBT is designed to help individuals with emotional regulation problems or self-destructive behaviors, such as substance use disorders, PTSD, and eating disorders).
A Comprehensive DBT approach focuses on four ways to enhance life skills
- Distress tolerance: Feeling or experiencing an intense emotion like anger without having to
react impulsively or using self-destruction or substance abuse to manage distress.
- Emotion regulation: Identifying, labeling, and modifying emotions.
- Mindfulness: Becoming attentive to the present moment by increasing awareness of self
- Interpersonal effectiveness: Managing conflict and interacting more assertively
DBT offers resourcefulness with a multi-stage approach:
- Stage 1: Focuses on treating the intense self-destructive behaviors, such as self-injury
or suicide attempts.
- Stage 2: Focuses on quality of life skills, such as distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and emotional regulation,
- Stage 3: Focuses on self-esteem building and improved relationships.
- Stage 4: Addresses happiness and relationship connection.
Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) is a therapeutic approach that has its foundation in the belief
that emotions are central to identity. The EFT approach believes that emotions also direct decision-making and individual choice. It postulates that being unaware of emotions or avoiding
distressing emotions can be problematic. Avoiding emotions makes us unable to understand and use the important messages and information that emotions provide.
In this therapeutic approach, the psychotherapist and the client work in an active collaborative process. Both the therapist and the client are seen as contributing equally. The individual seeking treatment is viewed as someone most capable of understanding and interpreting their emotional experiences instead of the therapist.
EFT is based on the belief that emotions may be used as a tool to guide healthy, purposeful
lives. Its philosophy is formed on scientific investigation of the human emotional experience.
Solution-focused therapy, also known as solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), is a kind of therapy that puts more emphasis on exploring and discussing solutions than problems. The discussion of the problem indeed is essential in order to find a solution, but according to SFBT, it should be done without trying to be stuck in the problem. SFBT believes in not dwelling on every little detail of the problem at hand.
When SFT is used
SFBT is typically used to manage and treat a variety of issues of people of all ages. It is
effective with family dysfunction, child behavioral problems, addiction, domestic or child abuse and relationship problems. SFBT is also known to improve the quality of life for people with psychiatric disorders such as depression or schizophrenia.
Narrative therapy is a therapeutic approach that helps people accept and embrace being an
expert and resourceful person in their own lives. Narrative therapy emphasizes the life stories
that we not only develop but carry with us through our lives.
Narrative therapy practitioners believe that telling one’s own story is a type of action toward
manifesting change. Its process might involve:
- Aiding people see their problems more objectively
- Drafting the problems considering a larger sociocultural context and factors
- Teaching the individual how to create an acceptable room for alternative stories
Both the therapist and client identify and develop “preferred” or “alternative” plots of the story. These new storylines exist beyond the old problem story that clients tell themselves otherwise. They allow someone to finally rewrite their old story, reflect their true self and provide variance and contrast to the problem. This process allows people to then shift from what is familiar
(the problem story) to what is unfamiliar.
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a specific form of CBT that is particularly effective with PTSD symptoms.
CPT helps people learn how to identify, challenge and alter unhelpful beliefs associated with the trauma. The patient develops a new frame of mind and formulation of the traumatic event in doing so, which reduces its continuing adverse effects on present life.
CPT is highly suggested for the treatment of PTSD.
Four essential parts of CPT
- Psycho-educating the patient about the symptoms of PTSD and how treatment might
- Educating the patient about their own thoughts and feelings and their connection.
- Imparting lessons to assist the patients to learn and develop skills to question and
modify their own thoughts.
- Helping the patient identify changes in their thoughts and beliefs that occur after experiencing the traumatic event.
Prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is a type of CBT formulated to treat PTSD. It consists of two
major treatment techniques:
- Imaginal Exposure
- In Vivo Exposure
Imaginal exposure is repeatedly recalling the traumatic memories in a structured manner during
session and for homework between sessions in order to help process the trauma. In vivo
exposure is done by systematically confronting anxiety provoking things, places and situations
related to the trauma, while learning to feel safe.