These are some, but not all, of the therapy approaches used in counseling. They are some of the more popular methods and can be used independently or as an integrated therapy approach.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR therapy is a phased, focused approach to treating trauma and other symptoms by reconnecting the traumatized person in a safe and measured process to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution. It is based on the idea that symptoms occur when trauma and other negative or challenging experiences overwhelm the brain’s natural ability to heal, and that the healing process can be facilitated and completed through bilateral stimulation while the client is re-experiencing the trauma in the context of the safe environment of the therapist’s office (dual awareness).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior and emotions. CBT focuses on changing the automatic negative thoughts that can contribute to and worsen emotional difficulties, depression, and anxiety. These spontaneous negative thoughts have a detrimental influence on mood. Through CBT, these thoughts are identified, challenged, and replaced with more objective, realistic thoughts.
Attachment-based therapy is a brief, process-oriented form of psychological counseling. The client-therapist relationship is based on developing or rebuilding trust and centers on expressing emotions. An attachment-based approach to therapy looks at the connection between a person’s early attachment experiences with primary caregivers, usually with parents, and the individual’s ability to develop normally and ultimately form healthy emotional and physical relationships as an adult. Attachment-based therapy aims to build or rebuild a trusting, supportive relationship that will help prevent or treat anxiety or depression.
Christian counseling, also known as biblical counseling and Christian psychology, combines a person’s faith with the principles of psychology to improve mental health and relationships. More specifically, this therapy approach uses scripture, biblical teachings, and empirically proven therapies to help someone deal with life’s challenges. It is important to keep in mind that counselors not only have to adhere to the fundamental values and beliefs of the Bible, but also follow the guidelines and ethical rules of the law, DSM-V, The ACA (American Counseling Association) and the APA (American Psychological Association).
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
Internal Family Systems (IFS) uses Family Systems theory—the idea that individuals cannot be fully understood in isolation from the family unit—to develop techniques and strategies to effectively address issues within a person’s internal community or family. This evidence-based approach assumes everyone possesses a variety of sub-personalities, or “parts,” and attempts to better identify these parts to achieve healing. By learning how different parts function as a system and how the overall system reacts to other systems and other people, people in therapy can often become better able to identify the roots of conflict, manage any complications arising, and achieve greater well-being.
Integrative therapy combines different therapeutic tools and approaches to fit the needs of the individual client. With an understanding of normal human development, an integrative therapist modifies standard treatments to fill in development gaps that affect each client in different ways. By combining elements drawn from different schools of psychological theory and research, integrative therapy becomes a more flexible and inclusive approach to treatment than more traditional, singular forms of psychotherapy.