What Are the Main Types of Psychotherapy?

Medically Reviewed on 12/12/2022
What Are the Main Types of Psychotherapy
There are five main types of psychotherapy: psychoanalysis and psychodynamic, behavior, cognitive, humanistic, and integrative or holistic therapy

Different approaches to psychotherapy help psychologists better understand their clients and help them develop solutions to their problems.

The main types of psychotherapy include:

  • Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy
  • Behavior therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Integrative or holistic therapy

1. Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy

Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy is a long-term approach that mainly focuses on emotions that cause problematic behaviors. In psychoanalysis, therapists and patients work closely together in order to explore the patient’s feelings and thoughts.

This type of therapy often involves talking about relationships, childhood events, and dreams and analyzing their effect on present behaviors. It helps the patient self-reflect and examine the reasons for their behavior and may be used to treat:

2. Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy is an approach that is used to treat maladaptive behaviors to achieve desirable behaviors and eliminate unwanted ones by using highly focused actions.

Behavioral therapy is used to treat the following:

Different types of behavioral therapy include:

  • Applied behavioral analysis
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy

3. Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy emphasizes how people think and aims to help change negative thoughts and resolve relationship issues. Typically, cognitive therapy requires 5-20 one-on-one or group sessions.

The benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy include helping the patient:

  • Learn techniques for coping with mental stress
  • Find ways to overcome emotions or trauma
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Resolve relationship issues
  • Manage chronic medical conditions, such as chronic pain

Cognitive behavior therapy is used to treat the following:


17 Everyday Ways to Ease Depression See Slideshow

4. Humanistic therapy

Humanistic therapy focuses on helping patients make rational choices and reach their full potential. 

In this approach, the therapist considers the adverse events that have occurred in the patient’s life and helps them to look at them positively. It does not focus on past events but on active participation in present activities.

Humanistic therapy can help treat:

5. Integrative or holistic therapy

Many therapists do not believe in using just one type of psychotherapy approach, and they may use a combination of therapies according to a person’s needs. Integrative or holistic therapy involves tailoring treatment to each patient to help the person as a whole.

Medically Reviewed on 12/12/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Different approaches to psychotherapy. https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/approaches

Psychotherapy. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-psychotherapy

Psychodynamic Therapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/psychodynamic