I once heard a statistic that it take an average of 9 months and 11 visits to one therapist’s website for someone to contact a therapist and start going to therapy once they’ve made the decision that it’s time for a change in their life. We create all kinds of obstacles for ourselves that hold us back from living a better life. It’s scary to be vulnerable, to admit you need help, to find the right therapist for you. There are so many types of therapy that it be hard to know where to begin.
We tend to approach starting therapy the same way we approach life.
We might avoid it because we are scared, procrastinate because it’s not the top priority or research all the possibilities until we are finally ready to make a call. But did you know that therapy comes in many forms?
First, I want to say that the relationship is the most important part of the therapeutic process. If you don’t feel connected to your therapist, you won’t feel safe enough to share the truth and start to feel relief. I tell potential clients all the time that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m a very active and collaborative therapist. There are other therapists that are quite different from this style and that’s totally fine! We all have different personalities and different needs and what gels for one person may feel completely unhelpful to another. My hope is that everyone gets the help they need.
Next, there are lots of different styles of therapy. In some therapy, you may lie down on a couch and others you won’t. Some therapists ask that you come in several times a week for years and others ask for once a week for whatever time frame you feel is right for you. My personal view is that the client is the expert in their life and I’m joining them in their process. Knowing all this, there are many different types of therapy as well. I won’t be going into all the different theories (but if you’re interested, grad school has great counseling programs for this!).
Here are some different types of therapy you might consider.
Psychotherapy or “Talk Therapy”. This is the type of therapy that occurs individually, as a couple or as a family with a therapist that assists in processing what the client is going through as well as how to make their relationship to their self and others stronger. There are a lot of different approaches that therapists utilize with psychotherapy.
Creative Arts Therapy. Creative Arts Therapy is an umbrella term for art therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, psychodrama and poetry/bibliotherapy. This kind of therapy utilizes the intentional use of creative process for healing.
Somatic Therapy. Somatic Therapies may include some talking, but they are more focused on what is happening in the body. We know that experiences often get stored in the body and that by utilizing a mind-body process, the brain can begin processing in a different way. Some examples of somatic therapy include Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Brainspotting and Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM).
Play therapy. Play therapy is particularly effective with children. The child’s language is play. Since play is the child’s primary language, doing talk therapy would be like doing a session in English when the client only speaks Spanish. Expecting a child to heal solely through talk therapy is not realistic since their cognitive development is not fully formed.
Group Therapy. Just like individual psychotherapy, there are many types of group therapy. Some may be open process groups where participants process a common theme in their lives. Others may be educational groups or support groups. Creative Arts therapy groups are also a powerful way to share in community and connection. When we have shared experiences, we feel less alone in the world.
Obviously, this is not a complete list of all the types of therapy out there.
Within the therapies listed, there are also therapists with specific specializations such as trauma, Sex Therapy, Maternal Mental Health, chronic pain and so much more. You have choices, but don’t get so overwhelmed by them that you don’t make any choice. Remember, just because you start with a therapist doesn’t mean you have to stay with them if they are not the right fit. You’ll find the right person for you and you’ll be glad you did.
Are you ready to start your therapy process. I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.
Please note that this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional.