Helpful Guide to Different Therapy Options
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A well-established, highly effective, and lasting treatment is called cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. It focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing thinking and behavior patterns. Benefits are usually seen in 12 to 16 weeks, depending on the individual.
In this type of therapy the patient is actively involved in his or her own recovery, has a sense of control, and learns skills that are useful throughout life. CBT typically involves reading about the problem, keeping records between appointments, and completing homework assignments in which the treatment procedures are practiced. Patients learn skills during therapy sessions, but they must practice repeatedly to see improvement.
Listen to our podcasts on CBT:
- CBT: What Is It?
- CBT and Psychopharmacology for OCD
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy With Depressed and Suicidal Adolescents
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, and Other Options
- Teen Social Anxiety Disorder: Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions That Work
- Treating Children With CBT and Medication
- Treating Insomnia With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- When CBT Doesn’t Work at First
A form of CBT, exposure therapy is a process for reducing fear and anxiety responses. In therapy, a person is gradually exposed to a feared situation or object, learning to become less sensitive over time. This type of therapy has been found to be particularly effective for obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Also known as ACT, this type of therapy uses strategies of acceptance and mindfulness (living in the moment and experiencing things without judgment), along with commitment and behavior change, as a way to cope with unwanted thoughts, feelings, and sensations. ACT imparts skills to accept these experiences, place them in a different context, develop greater clarity about personal values, and commit to needed behavior change.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Integrating cognitive-behavioral techniques with concepts from Eastern meditation, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, combines acceptance and change. DBT involves individual and group therapy to learn mindfulness, as well as skills for interpersonal effectiveness, tolerating distress, regulating emotions.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Often referred to as IPT, interpersonal therapy is a short-term supportive psychotherapy that addresses interpersonal issues in depression in adults, adolescents, and older adults. IPT usually involves 12 to 16 one-hour weekly sessions. The initial sessions are devoted to gathering information about the nature of a person’s depression and interpersonal experience.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Under certain conditions eye movements appear to reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts. A treatment known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Basically, it helps a person see disturbing material in a less distressing way.
EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for posttraumatic stress disorder. And clinicians also have reported success using it to treat panic attacks and phobias.
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