Updated: Jun 22, 2021
Changing therapists is not an easy decision to make because you have formed a bond with them that often brings security and safety. But not all therapists specialise in the next issue that you may need to deal with.
This is where people can get stuck. You need to see therapists like specialists. If you had a general family doctor who knows alot about you, then you would be checking back in with them and asking their advice, based on what they know about your health currently, as to what specialists that you need to see. They can do the same about your mental health, as they can about your physical health.
I explain my work as a Therapeutic Life Coach and a Pastor, firstly by what I am NOT. I am not a therapist. But in my working with people I do take a more therapeutic approach to their journey. And what that means is that I take into consideration the connection between their soul, body and spirit.
As I wrote last blog, I am aware that I hold an honoured position when invited into this space. Because unlike a therapist, I am not just invited into the trauma, I am also invited into their dreams, goals, and aspirations. I am invited into the typing of their personality and then I am often invited into their spiritual journey with the practices like guided prayer and meditation that I facilitate in my sessions.
Last blog post I talked about How To Choose A Therapist here and I said it was important to ask:
1. Would you be more comfortable in-person or online?
2. What Issues Do You Want to Address?
3. What traits would you like in a therapist?
4. Do you want to focus on thinking, behaviours, emotions, past or present?
I wrote that you should feel free to ask them:
a) Do you specialise in ... (if you happen to know the issue you would like to address)
b) What disciplines are you trained in?
c) What modalities do you use in therapy?
And then if you are feeling stuck with your therapist you should ask these same questions again.
So now we will look at which type of therapy could be best for you. Because when they answer, you may hear some of the following and the below list could help you understand which is best for you or a family member:
1. Behavioural Therapists
Help people modify their behaviour with actions that break default habits
There are three main subtypes of Behavioural Therapy
a) Systematic Desensitization which combines relaxation techniques with gradual exposure to what you fear
b) Aversion Therapy works on exposure to a negative affect of your behaviour so you will stop doing it
c) Flooding is immediate exposure to the thing you have a phobia of.
Behavioural Therapy works best with:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapists
It addresses unhelpful patterns of thinking that negatively affect your emotions. Two main subtypes of CBT are
a) Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) which uses acceptance skills and emotional regulation techniques
b) Rational Emotive Therapy deals with irrational beliefs that are impacting your emotional responses.
CBT can often be a good therapy for:
Mood disorders such as depression and bi-polar
Anxiety and phobias
3. Addiction Therapists
This is helpful for breaking specific addictive behaviours
These above three types of therapy do not necessarily address past issues but are very focussed on present life bahaviourally. These ones below focus on present and past
4. Humanistic Therapists
This covers a wide range of modalities but generally comes from the preface that your truest self needs to be uncovered in an environment of unconditional acceptance. In this approach the client is asked questions, and actively listened to.
Types of Humanistic Therapy include:
a) Existential Therapy which processes your worldview, meaning of life and freedom to make choices.
b) Person-Centered Therapy offers acceptance, empathy and guidance as you work on emotional distress that has come from others judgements or disapproval for your actions.
c) Gestalt Therapy looks at relationship dynamics and how they impact your emotional well-being. It often involves role playing so you can be known from different points of view.
d) Solution-Focussed Therapy looks at the clients own situations where they have experienced a solution to the problem they currently face and ask questions to get them thinking solution.
This therapy can be beneficial when dealing with:
Self-esteem and identity
Coping and chronic health issues
Feeling worthless or lost
5. Psychodynamic Therapists
Here you work with your unconscious mind and your past and how that is impacting your present emotions and behaviours. This type of therapy can often be more long term.
It may be beneficial when you are dealing with the following issues:
6. Family & Interpersonal Therapists
Family therapy involves working with a family unit to help an individual within the family resolve specific issues. Family therapists help a family understand and work through patterns of negative behavior that may cause underlying problems
7. Group Therapists
People with similar issues come together with a facilitator to work through the challenges they face. It helps them recognise they are not alone in facing their issues.
Issues often covered in Family, Interpersonal & Group Therapy include:
Interpersonal Relationship Issues
These are doctors of the mind and in most countries are the ones authorised to administer medication. They often are trained in psychoanalysis also.
When my second daughter was referred to a Child Psychiatrist for medication, Andrew and I also went for a session so he could look at the family dynamics and the generational trauma within our family line. I really appreciated that as a doctor of the mind, he also acknowledged generational issues and interpersonal issues in our family.
All these types of Therapists are brilliant, for different people or different situations. And some therapists can switch modalities when they need to. But the really important thing to note, is that YOU have every right to say 'this is not working for me' and then go on and discuss possible solutions.
I watch too many people get stuck due to loyalty, insecurity, ignorance at next best step and I think those plateaus are an invitation to new levels of connection with your existing therapist or a good opportunity for a change.
I know this can be an overwhelming process friends. So if you are looking for some help in choosing a therapist, or you think LIfe Coaching may be the first next best step for you to figure out what areas are current challenges for you, then please feel free to book a discovery call here;
Or book a one-off coaching for this type of consultation.
(For summer I have a 20% discount code for the one off sessions to help you start your search for a therapist. You can email me for the code at firstname.lastname@example.org)