Saturday, March 28, 2009


The word therapy, whenever we hear it, makes us visualize a comfortable couch where we relax and tell our sad story to a therapist for as long as we like. However, this is merely one form of therapy, although this is one of the most common ones. At the core of this tactic is the idea of mutual cooperation between the therapist and his patient, so they work out a solution together. And while this mutual cooperative relation is the main idea in therapy, the techniques and approaches differ significantly. Let’s see some common forms of therapy that are successfully practiced nowadays.

One of the most famous types is Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic therapy, though it is often misunderstood by many. Some often refer to this as talk therapy, as the clients typically talk about their problems and life history, while the therapist listens and makes notes which he can later use to diagnose the problem. The hypothesis behind this practice is that childhood activities and the subconscious mind may have something that’s causing psychological problem. So the focus is on finding incidents and events in the patient’s life that may be responsible for his abnormal behavior.

Like all other things in our world, psychoanalytic theory has had its share of criticism. Many opine that this type of therapy is costly, takes a lot of time and often ineffective. However, it allows patients to burst open and tell stories that they have been hiding inside for years. Sharing these personal accounts, weeping a bit over them, and getting a pat on the back by a therapist relieves the burden from the patient’s mind.

Another major type is group therapy, which is becoming popular day by day due to its numerous advantages over other forms. A number of patients collaborate with one or more therapists to form a support group, and each member helps each other and shares stories. Because of group sessions, this method costs significantly less than individual sessions. When people suffering from similar issues join together, they get rid of the loneliness that often accompanies psychological problems. And the social interaction and mutual support of members encourages patients to exercise new behaviors and adopt new perceptions.

Finally, we will touch upon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), where the therapist seeks to find faulty cognitions that are resulting in maladaptive behavior. The hypothesis behind CBT is that our beliefs and way of thinking bring us psychological problems. So therapists who choose CBT seek to change the thinking and conceptions of their patients, which is highly effective in treating phobias where misconceptions become deep-rooted in our minds through continuous reinforcements.