There are many different forms of therapy, and each has its place, so it’s important to take the time to decide which will work best for you and the issues you need to address.
Different therapy approaches
Broadly speaking, it can be said that there are two therapeutic approaches – insight-oriented and action-oriented.
The aim of insight therapy is to guide you towards improved self-understanding. During each session, you will explore things with a therapist and be encouraged to talk freely, perhaps recalling some pertinent situations from your life. This allows you and your therapist to get the root of why you behave and feel certain ways.
Rather than focusing on why you behave a certain way, action therapy seeks to identify dysfunctional behaviour patterns and then sets goals to turn them into behaviours that work better for your mental health. The therapist poses constructive questions and offers guidance as to how you could think, feel and behave to cope better in certain situations.
Insight therapy is sometimes a longer-term solution than action therapy, and it relies upon a strong relationship between you and the therapist. Whereas in each session of action-oriented therapy, goal progress is evaluated and new goals set, so it can be effective in shorter bursts to tackle something head-on.
Types of action therapy
Action therapy is any therapy that focuses on practical solutions to mental health issues. The goal is to reinforce desirable behaviours and eliminate unwanted ones. Cognitive behavioural therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy are two examples.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most commonly used forms of action therapy. It’s a short-term approach that addresses problematic thought patterns and teaches practical ways to identify, challenge, and replace them with healthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
Not much time is spent addressing past events in CBT, the focus instead is to look at existing symptoms and make the necessary changes to help you reach your goals. CBT often involves homework to reinforce what’s been covered during the session and practise applying new skills to everyday situations.
CBT may be a good treatment option for:
- Eating disorders
- Substance use disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
ACT combines some aspects of CBT with acceptance and mindfulness approaches as a way to deal with negative thoughts and feelings. It provides coping mechanisms to use throughout life to help stay positive and in the present moment and encourages commitment to healthy, constructive activities.
ACT works in three areas:
- Accept the emotion and be mindful
- Take charge and choose a direction
- Commit and act accordingly
ACT may be a good treatment option for:
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- chronic pain
Action in therapy – why is doing better than just talking?
Action therapy teaches you coping skills to help manage everyday life. You learn how to control your emotional responses, recognise and avoid harmful thought patterns, and communicate your feelings.
Action therapy takes commitment and hard work but can have life-changing results. Finding you have all the tools you need to anticipate and prevent a relapse can help build your confidence and self-esteem.
How to choose the right therapist
The most important ingredient for any therapy to be effective is the relationship you build with your therapist. So once you have an idea of the therapy you need, the first step is to find the right therapist to help you.
Ask for recommendations, research online, read reviews, and then when you think you have found someone, arrange to meet with them for an initial chat. This will give you an idea of their style if you have a good connection, and whether you could work well together. Ideally, they should make you feel comfortable, listened to, not judged, and free to share openly.
We cover some of the key considerations when choosing the right therapist here.
Book a consultation with a private therapist
At the Vyas-Lee Practice, we understand how daunting it can be getting to grips with which therapy would work best in your situation and looking for a therapist who could help. This is why we offer a free consultation call to introduce ourselves and discuss the method of therapy that would be right for you.
Book a free consultation with us today.