types of counselling/psychotherapy

Psychological therapies generally fall into three categories. All can be effective, though you may find one approach more appealing than another, or find that some approaches are better for a certain area of counselling or psychotherapy than others.

The categories are:

  • Behavioural therapies, which focus on the way you think (cognitions) and behaviours. These therapies recognise that it is possible to change, or recondition, our thoughts or behaviour to overcome specific problems.

  • Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood, and how these affect current behaviour and thoughts.

  • Humanistic therapies, which focus on self-development in the 'here and now'. They seek to help individuals recognise their strengths, creativity and choice. Being valued as a person, without being judged, can help an individual to accept who they are, and reconnect with themselves.


Counsellors often practice a form of 'integrative' therapy, which means they draw on and blend specific types of techniques. Other practitioners work in an 'eclectic' way, which means they take elements of several different models and combine them when working with clients.

Other therapies

Although psychological therapies generally fall into the three categories above, there are also a number of specific therapies too:

  • Family/Systemic therapy

  • Art therapy/Drama therapy/music therapy

  • Group therapy.