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Glossary of Therapies


Adlerian Therapy is an approach developed by Alfred Adler, who worked with Sigmund Freud. It is also known as individual psychology. Adlerian counsellors believe our experiences in early life, particularly within our families, affect the way we see the world and react to events. Even if we are not aware of them, the logic and goals we develop as children still govern our behaviour when we are adults. Your Adlerian therapist will help you to understand why you behave in the way you do so you can find ways to act more effectively.  Adlerian therapy is a positive and encouraging approach that can help individuals, couples and families. It works well for anxiety and anti-social behaviours. (

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with commitment and behaviour change strategies, to increase psychological flexibility. ACT illuminates the ways that language entangles clients into futile attempts to wage war against their own inner lives. Through metaphor, paradox, and experiential exercises, clients learn how to make healthy contact with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that have been feared and avoided. (

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviours, such as social skills, communication, reading, and academics as well as adaptive learning skills, such as fine motor dexterity, hygiene, grooming, domestic capabilities, punctuality, and job competence. ABA is effective for children and adults with psychological disorders in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, homes, and clinics. It has also been shown that consistent ABA can significantly improve behaviours and skills and decrease the need for special services.  ABA is commonly practiced as a therapeutic intervention for individuals with autism. According to the Centre for Autism, ABA helps clients with autism to improve social interactions, learn new skills, and maintain positive behaviours. ABA also helps transfer skills and behaviour from one situation to another, controlling situations where negative behaviours arise and minimising negative behaviours. (

Animal-Assisted Therapy is a therapeutic intervention that incorporates animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, pigs, and birds, into the treatment plan. It is used to enhance and complement the benefits of traditional therapy. Animal-assisted therapy can be a useful intervention for individuals or groups. A meta-analysis of 49 studies reporting on animal-assisted therapy found positive outcomes and overall improved emotional well-being in those with autism, medical conditions, or behavioural issues. Another review of randomised, controlled studies found that animal-assisted therapy can be helpful for those with depression, schizophrenia, or addiction. (

Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy which uses the creative process of making art to explore and communicate issues, feelings and emotions which may be too difficult or distressing to express in words. It can also be used to relieve stress, improve your mental wellbeing and increase self-awareness or cope. Visual art therapy can include drawing, painting, photography and modelling and is used with individuals and groups of all ages.

Arts therapists are psychological therapists who have arts-based experience and training in psychological interventions using drama, music or art to help clients communicate feelings and emotions. (


Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) looks at past experiences and relationships to understand why you think, feel and act as you do. It relies on forming a trusting relationship with your therapist, who will help you make sense of your situation and find new, healthier ways to cope with your problems. CAT is a time-limited therapy, typically lasting around 16 weeks. (  Some CAT therapists work with people with eating disorders, those with addiction problems (like drugs and alcohol), obsessional problems, anxiety, depression, phobias, psychosis, bipolar illness, and a number of therapists work with adolescents, older people and people with learning difficulties and in forensic settings. (

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to help you change the way you think (cognitive) and what you do (behaviour). Rather than looking at past causes, it focuses on current problems and practical solutions to help you feel better now. The way we think about situations affects the way we feel and behave. If we view a situation negatively, we may experience negative emotions and feelings which lead us to behave in an unhelpful way. Your therapist will help you identify and challenge any negative thinking so you can deal with situations better and behave in a more positive way.  CBT can be helpful for depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, obsessions, eating disorders and managing long term conditions. (

Counselling.  Person-centred counselling is one of the humanistic modalities or approaches. It was founded in the 1940s by the American psychologist Carl Rogers who believed that, given the right conditions, a person can reach their full potential and become their true self, which he termed ‘self-actualisation’. This actualisation process is innate and accessible to everyone.  When you’re attending counselling sessions with a person-centred counsellor, you’ll be encouraged to bring your own issues to the session – the counselling is led by you and not directed by the counsellor. A person-centred counsellor will help you to explore your own issues, feelings, beliefs, behaviour, and worldview, so you can become more self-aware and achieve greater independence. (

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) helps those who struggle with shame and self-criticism that can result from early experiences of abuse or neglect. CFT teaches clients to cultivate skills in compassion and self-compassion, which can help regulate mood and lead to feelings of safety, self-acceptance, and comfort. The technique is similar to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, which also instructs clients about the science behind the mind-body connection and how to practice mind and body awareness.  CFT has been shown to effectively treat long-term emotional problems including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, hoarding disorder, and psychosis by addressing patterns of shame and self-criticism, which can significantly contribute to mental health issues. (

Clinical Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to try to treat conditions or change habits. There are different types of hypnotherapy, and different ways of hypnotising someone. First, you’ll usually have a talk with your therapist to discuss what you hope to achieve and agree what methods your therapist will use. After this, the hypnotherapist may:

  • lead you into a deeply relaxed state – most people feel refreshed and relaxed
  • use your agreed methods to help you towards your goals – for example, suggesting that you do not want to carry out a certain habit
  • gradually bring you out of the trance-like state. Most people feel refreshed and relaxed (

Hypnotherapy is medically accepted to benefit the following and more: unwanted habits – smoking, nail biting, bed wetting, weight control / healthy eating, improve work / study / sporting performance, boost self-confidence and achieving potential, phobias, compulsions, emotional problems, sleep problems, inhibitions, worries, reduce stress, tension and blood pressure, stomach problems, IBS, gynaecological problems – PMT, psychogenic infertility, obstetrics (painless childbirth), skin problems, pain control, minor surgery, dentistry, arthritic pains, aches and pains, some sexual problems. (


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.  DBT was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder. However, research shows that DBT has also been used successfully to treat people experiencing depression, bulimia, binge-eating, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic-stress disorder, and substance abuse. DBT skills are thought to have the capability of helping those who wish to improve their ability to regulate emotions, tolerate distress and negative emotion, be mindful and present in the given moment, and communicate and interact effectively with others. (


Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) was developed to resolve symptoms resulting from disturbing and traumatic life experiences. It is particularly used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. EMDR is thought to imitate the psychological state that we enter when in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Studies show that when in REM sleep, we are able to make new associations between things very rapidly. EMDR is designed to tap into this high-speed processing mode that we all have, helping the brain to process the unresolved memories and make them less distressing. (  EMDR is best known for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and it can also help with a range of mental health conditions in people of all ages. (

Emotionally Focused Therapy – Emotionally focused therapy is an approach for working with couples, families and individuals that helps to create and reinforce secure, resilient relationships. Therapists will help you understand your own and others’ emotions, address any insecurities and conflicts, and learn to interact in a more responsive and emotionally connected way. (  Couples and families in distress can benefit from EFT and learn to improve their relationships. Often, clients are dealing with anger, fear, loss of trust, or sense of betrayal in their relationship. EFT has also been proven effective for couples who are having trouble coping with their own illness or that of a child. In addition to helping the distressed relationship, EFT can also help reduce individual symptoms of depression or trauma. (


Family therapy – This type of therapy looks at a family system, and the relationships between people, rather than the individuals. It allows family members to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, helping them understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs and build on their strengths. It can help with many issues that affect the family unit, helping people make useful changes in their relationships and their lives. (  Many psychological issues begin early in life and stem from relationships within the family of origin, or the family one grows up in, even though these issues often surface later on in life. Families in conflict, as well as couples and individuals with issues and concerns related to their families of origin, can benefit from family systems therapy. This treatment approach can be helpful for such mental health conditions as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, personality disorders, addiction, and food-related disorders. Family systems therapy has also been shown to help individuals and family members better control and cope with physical disabilities and disorders. (


Gestalt therapy – The name Gestalt is derived from the German for ‘whole’ or ‘pattern’. It looks at the individual as a whole, and within their surroundings, rather than breaking things into parts. Practitioners help you to focus on the here and now and your immediate thoughts, feelings and behaviour to better understand how you relate to others and to situations. This can help you find a new, positive perspective on problems and bring about changes in your life.  Gestalt therapy often includes acting out scenarios and dream recall, and is used to treat issues such as anxiety, stress, addiction, tension and depression. (

Group Therapy is a kind of psychological therapy that takes place with a group of people together, rather than with an individual during a one-on-one session. While the term can technically be applied to any kind of psychotherapy that is delivered to a group, it is most commonly associated with a specific therapy type that makes use of the group dynamic.  Some sessions may involve discussion only, while others may involve group therapy activities. Such activities could include skill development, problem-solving or trust building exercises. If you do not want to talk or take part in the activities, you do not have to. For some people, it takes a few weeks of sitting in and listening before they feel ready to talk about their own experience, so you should not feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do. The sessions are confidential, just as they would be in a one-to-one therapy session. Also, if you agree to attend group therapy, it is likely that you will be asked to commit to a certain number of sessions. (


Humanistic Therapy – This approach focuses on the individual as a whole. It encourages people to think about their feelings and take responsibility for their thoughts and actions. The emphasis is on self-development and achieving your highest potential rather than on problematic behaviour. Gestalt therapy, person-centred therapy, transactional analysis and transpersonal therapy are all humanistic approaches. (  Humanistic therapy is used to treat depression, anxiety, panic disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, addiction, and relationship issues, including family relationships. People with low self-esteem, who are having trouble finding their purpose or reaching their true potential, who lack feelings of “wholeness,” who are searching for personal meaning, or who are not comfortable with themselves as they are, may also benefit from humanistic therapy. (


Integrative Counselling looks at the whole person, taking into account mental, physical and emotional needs. The therapist will use techniques and tools from different modalities to tailor an individual approach.  An integrative counsellor aims to build a trusting and non-judgmental relationship that helps  with the development of self-awareness. When the causes of your concerns or triggers for your behaviour is understood, you can confidently set goals and develop new behaviours to improve your satisfaction with life. (  Integrative psychotherapy techniques can be incorporated into almost any type of therapeutic work with children, adolescents, and adults, in individual practice or group settings. An integrative approach can be used to treat any number of psychological problems and disorders, including depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. The therapist matches evidence-based treatments to each client and each disorder. (

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a talking treatment that helps people with depression identify and address problems in their relationships with family, partners and friends. The idea is that poor relationships with people in your life can leave you feeling depressed. Depression can in turn make your relationships with other people worse. You may be offered IPT if you have severe depression or depression that hasn’t responded to other talking therapies, such as CBT(


Jungian Therapy also called analytical psychology is a psychoanalytic approach developed by Carl Jung. It aims to bring the conscious and unconscious into balance to help individuals become more balanced and whole. It looks at both the personal unconscious and the collective human unconscious, and can involve dream analysis, word associations and creative activities. Jungian therapy can be of benefit for a wide range of personal, emotional and behavioural issues. It can give you a better understanding of yourself and help you develop the skills and behaviours to manage your difficulties more effectively. (  Jungian therapy can help improve the lives of those with depression, anxiety, grief, phobias, relationship or trauma issues, low self-esteem, or other emotional problems. It is also appropriate for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of themselves and is willing to make a commitment to the work involved in acquiring that knowledge. (


Mentalisation-Based Therapy (MBT) is an evidence-based treatment for people with borderline personality disorder and other mental health issues and draws from several different psychotherapeutic approaches. Mentalising, or the ability to focus on and differentiate between your own emotional state of mind and that of others, and understand how one’s mental state influences behaviour, is a normal cognitive function that is limited in those with borderline personality disorder. Enhancement of mentalisation and improved emotional regulation are at the core of MBT treatment. MBT can be an effective treatment for increasing the capacity to mentalise in people with borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality, addiction, eating disorders, and depression, even when other treatments have been unsuccessful. Although there may also be a genetic basis, an inability to mentalise often stems from an insecure attachment to a parent, or abandonment issues early in life. If you lack an understanding of your own and other people’s feelings, you may have difficulty both regulating your own problematic emotions and behaviour, and correctly identifying the thoughts and feelings of others. You may not understand the intent behind other people’s behaviour and respond impulsively and inappropriately in ways that can disrupt your relationships. (

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) – Mindfulness-based therapies help you focus on your thoughts and feelings as they happen moment by moment.  MBCT combines mindfulness techniques like meditation and breathing exercises with cognitive therapy.  It can be used to help treat depression and addiction and is one of the options that may be offered to you after a course of treatment for depression to help stop it coming back. (


Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) combines cognitive behavioural and humanistic therapies with hypnotherapy. It works on the theory that life experiences, from birth onwards, programme the way you see the world. Practitioners help you to discover how you have learnt to think or feel so that you can take control of your actions. They will also look at your successes, so you can use these to develop further successful skills and behaviours. NLP is generally used as an additional way of working with other types of therapy rather than on its own. (  NLP has been used to treat fears and phobias, anxiety, poor self-esteem, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and overall reduced quality of life due to various psychological issues. Most studies addressing the effectiveness of NLP in treating these issues have been small in scale and have had mixed results. (


Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – The psychodynamic approach is derived from psychoanalysis but focuses on immediate problems to try to provide a quicker solution. It stresses the importance of the unconscious and past experience in shaping current behaviour. A therapist will aim to build an accepting and trusting relationship, encouraging you to talk about your childhood relationships with your parents and other significant people. It also uses similar techniques to psychotherapy, including free association, interpretation and especially transference, where feelings you experienced in previous significant relationships are projected onto the therapist. ( Psychodynamic therapy is primarily used to treat depression and other serious psychological disorders, especially in those who have lost meaning in their lives and have difficulty forming or maintaining personal relationships. Studies have found that other effective applications of psychodynamic therapy include addiction, social anxiety disorder, and eating disorders. (


Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy- (REBT) is a short-term form of psychotherapy that helps you identify self-defeating thoughts and feelings, challenge the rationality of those feelings, and replace them with healthier, more productive beliefs. REBT focuses mostly on the present time to help you understand how unhealthy thoughts and beliefs create emotional distress which, in turn, leads to unhealthy actions and behaviours that interfere with your current life goals. Once identified and understood, negative thoughts and actions can be changed and replaced with more positive and productive behaviour, allowing you to develop more successful personal and professional relationships.  REBT can help you with negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, guilt, and extreme or inappropriate anger. This approach is also used to help change stressful and self-defeating behaviours, such as aggression, unhealthy eating, and procrastination that get in the way of your quality of life and reaching your goals. (


Solution-Focused Brief Therapy promotes positive change rather than dwelling on past problems. Practitioners will encourage you to focus positively on what you do well, set goals and work out how to achieve them. Just three or four sessions may be beneficial. (  SFBT can stand alone as a therapeutic intervention, or it can be used along with other therapy styles and treatments. It is used to treat people of all ages and a variety of issues, including child behavioural problems, family dysfunction, domestic or child abuse, addiction, and relationship problems. (


Transactional Analysis is a comprehensive approach which incorporates aspects of humanistic, cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic therapy. It categorises the human personality into three states – Parent, Adult and Child – which can help you understand how you interact with others. Therapists also look at how your beliefs and the way you interpret the world around you can create recurrent and problematic patterns of behaviour and will work with you to help you to change. (  TA has been successfully applied in a wide variety of settings outside of counselling, including organisational training and consultancy, parenting, education and coaching. (

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