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There are a variety of therapies that focus on different facets of life. Each individual counselor will follow their own therapeutic orientation. I find that it is very important to understand each therapy because every person is going to be at a different stage in their journey. A certain therapy may create great meaning in one individual’s life, but not even touch the surface of another’s life. I know and understand how important it is to individualize each session because no one journey will ever be the same as the other. I always, no matter the individual, use a trauma-informed care and strengths-based approach, and I tend to find myself drawn to Adlerian Theory and Person-Centered. I believe that educating people on the area they are struggling in is also a very important aspect of healing as well. I have seen myself use each other these therapies as some point or time in my professional career, and will continue to pull from each therapy depending on the individualized goal. I have written a very brief two to three sentence description of each of the following therapies:

Psychoanalytic – This therapy is primarily based off of past experiences. Psychoanalysis focuses primarily on unconscious and the structure of personality based on past experiences. The primary goals Psychoanalytic therapy is to bring the unconscious to conscious and to strengthen the personality by revealing the unconscious.

Adlerian – This therapy is primarily based off of human nature, and that entails social relatedness, meaning in life, choice and responsibility. Adlerian focuses on individual’s perception of reality, lifestyle, social interest purpose, and family constellation and dynamics. The primary goals in Adlerian therapy are increased self-awareness, developing a sense of belonging, life goals, and education

Existential – This therapy is primarily based off of a more philosophical approach and relies on purpose and meaning in life. Existential focuses on exploring themes such as mortality, meaning, freedom, responsibility, anxiety and aloneness. The primary goals in Existential therapy is to bring full and true meaning to life, and to help people get to who they are capable of being.

Person-Centered – This therapy is primarily based off of a safe and growth-promoting environment. Person-centered focuses on congruence, unconditional positive regard, and accurate empathetic understanding. The primary goals in person-centered therapy is to achieve independence, integration of life events, and further the growth process.

Gestalt – This therapy is primarily based off of experiencing awareness in the present moment. Gestalt therapy focuses on awareness, choice, and responsibility that the client is given in every moment. The goals of gestalt therapy is to attain greater awareness in the present moment, including areas of their environment, knowing one’s self, and accepting one’s self as is.

Behavior – This therapy is primarily based off of focusing on observable behaviors. Behavior therapy focuses on changing behavior and not the reasons why or how. The goals of behavioral therapy are to increase personal choice and create new situations for growth and learning.

Cognitive Behavior (CBT) – This therapy is primarily based off of thoughts and actions. CBT focuses on how an event can trigger a belief which in turn triggers a reaction. The goals of CBT is awareness of how each of these events can relate to one another and to rebuild healthier reactions and faulty belief systems.

Reality – This therapy is primarily based off of choice theory which can help an individual more successfully control their life. Reality therapy focuses on meeting five genetically encoded needs of survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. The goals of reality therapy is to make more effective choices and begin fulfilling the five components needed to live a satisfied life.

Solution-Focused Brief (SFBT) ­– This therapy is primarily based off of a structured and quick goal-oriented organization. SFBT focuses on future endeavors, goals, behavior changes, and emphasizes strengths. The goals of solution-focused brief therapy is to reach goals in a shorter period of time.

Narrative – This therapy is primarily based off of a collaborative approach where clients tell their stories. Narrative therapy focuses on finding ways in which these stories shape an individual’s perception of the world and how these stories have promoted growth or immobility. The goals of narrative therapy is to develop new meanings for thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and discover a new sense of creativity and imagination.

Dialectical Behavior (DBT) – This therapy is primarily based off of helping people regulate overwhelming emotions. DBT focuses on four basic principles: distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The goals of DBT are to learn and apply skills in each of these principles to lead a healthier and more balanced life.

Family Systems – This therapy is primarily based off of exploring a more relational and systematic approach to counseling. Family systems therapy focuses on relational systems in and out of the family. There are various approaches taken within family systems therapy, and the main goal is to strengthen and structure systems around people.

Mindfulness – This is a practice of therapy and typically is integrated into other therapies and is based off of getting in touch with the inner peace of the body in the present moment. Mindfulness focuses observing thoughts, sensations, body, and emotions within the moment. The goals of mindfulness is to help people integrate these feelings into the here and now a recognize them to become more in touch with what is happening in there body in the present.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)EMDR is an integrative approach (heavily researched and proven effective) that is based off helping people overcome traumatic experiences. EMDR focuses on an eight phase treatment model and is used as a modality where people can safely and effectively work through a traumatic event through a sequence of steps. The goal of EMDR is to provide clients a safe and effective way to reprocess trauma and decrease or eliminate distress from a (or many) traumatic event(s).


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