As the social stigma of getting help for your problems has lessened more and more people are seeking out counselling to help them deal with their problems. Some people think that the only way to conquer a fear of driving is with extensive therapy. However, there are a myriad of behavioral or emotional problems that therapy could assist with, such as anxiety or even marriage counselling or just wanting to get yourself performing at your peak through life coaching. This has lead to more and more people seeking out help. But where do you start? What is the best kind of therapy for my particular needs?
First it helps to understand the kinds of therapies that are available. Different types are more effective at certain types of problems. You may opt for some of the less common new therapies such as the Positive Existential Therapy or you my opt for something more conventional like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. We will focus on the 3 most common types of therapy and what types of problem they are best at solving.
The first group are the Behavioral Therapies. They focus on cognitions and behaviors. That is, how you think and how you behave. The therapy itself focuses on changing unhelpful thought, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors and developing coping mechanisms to solve problems. It has been found to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse and eating disorders.
The next group are Psychoanalytic Therapies. These are therapies related to the unconscious mind. They focus on the unconscious thoughts and perceptions that developed in childhood. This is the classic Hollywood image that most people have when you mention therapy as someone laying on a couch talking about their childhood. It works under the belief that the cause of most psychological problems are conflicts between the conscious and the unconscious mind. The most treatable problems using these techniques include phobias, compulsions, obsessions and sexual dysfunction.
The final group is Humanistic Therapies. This is a late 20th century school of therapy that grew out of a dissatisfaction with Psychoanalytic and Behavioral therapies. It emphasizes self-awareness and mindfulness and takes a more holistic approach by viewing the whole person as being than the sum of their parts. It works on the natural human drive for self actualization and considered a more modern approach that fits in better to our post-industrial society. These therapies are aimed at making you into the best version of yourself through making yourself more self aware. It is the ideal form of therapy for people looking for life coaching or relationship counselling.
With the broad offering of different types of therapy, you should be able to find one that meets your particular needs and that you feel comfortable with. As far as choosing individual counsellors you might try friends that have a good experiences with a therapist in your area or you can speak to your family doctor for a referral to someone they think is good or you can also contact a professional body like the Society for Humanistic Psychology.