Woman in evidence-based therapy session

Understanding Evidence-Based Therapy Approaches

You probably hear a lot about finding the right therapist. But you don’t often hear about finding the right type of therapy. Therefore, it is sometimes helpful to take a look at the different types of therapies (or the millions of abbreviations you’ll see floating around, to try and understand what you might benefit most from.

To put it simply, there are generally (very generally) two theoretical orientations (aka approaches based on scientific theory) that most therapists operate from. These are psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Psychodynamic therapy generally focuses on creating a strong therapeutic alliance and generating insight about one’s issues by analyzing a number of things like early childhood relationships and defense mechanisms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (which is an umbrella term) focuses on examining the relationships between one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. CBT focuses on increasing one’s awareness for these facets of our lives, and learning skills, coping strategies and techniques to intervene in any of these areas.

In general, there is more research to support the use of cognitive behavioral therapies, but this is by no means a guarantee that it will “work” for you. Both schools of thought focus on creating a warm, supportive relationship between client and therapist, but the work done in therapy can look very different.

Using treatments that have been tried and tested gives patients the best shot at their best possible outcome. Here are three unique types of therapy that all fall under the umbrella term of cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT and/or evidence based treatments.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT focuses on accepting emotional experiences at they are, as well as committing to making behavioral changes that can improve upon symptoms, and one’s life in general. This treatment focuses on psychological flexibility, being present in the moment, and behaving in a way that is consistent with your values. ACT focuses on the idea that difficult emotions are inevitable, but that action to improve our lives is also possible.

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