Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
In CBT the therapist and client work together to find ways of reacting differently to thoughts and feelings (for example by challenging negative thoughts). It also aims to bring about changes in behavior to help clients feel better. It is a structured approach which is usually aimed at a particular problem and the intervention is fairly brief (6-20 sessions). CBT has a strong evidence base and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends CBT for depression, postnatal depression, anxiety, OCD, managing long-term illnesses and post-traumatic stress.
Systemic Therapy is an approach used either with families, couples or individuals which understands psychological difficulties within the context of social relationships. It explores meanings of the difficulties within these contexts and sees them as ‘attempted solutions’. Change is seen as possible within the system of the client’s relationships.
Narrative Therapy (a type of Systemic Therapy) views problems as separate from people and assumes that people have many skills, competencies, beliefs and abilities that will assist them to change their relationship with problems in their lives. Narrative Therapy involves exploring the shaping moments of a person’s life, the turning points, key relationships and vivid memories. It assumes that people use certain stories about themselves like the lens on a camera and that these can often be negative. Narrative Therapy aims to explore the unseen story lines.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT (a type of CBT) aims to help people live full and meaningful lives, effectively handling the pain and stresses that life inevitably brings. It teaches skills to deal with difficult thoughts and feeling and helps clients to clarify what is truly important and meaningful to them in their lives.
Mindfulness aims to help people reduce stress, difficult thoughts and feelings through meditation-based practices. It involves intentionally switching off automatic pilot in order to be present, aware and responsive to our experiences.