Understanding Therapy: A Guide to Different Approaches


When navigating starting therapy, you are entering a world of support, growth, and healing. If you’ve ever wondered about the various therapeutic options available, this guide is for you. Let’s break down different approaches in simple terms, so you can better understand and choose what resonates with you.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Consider how your thoughts influence your feelings and actions. CBT helps you identify unhelpful thought patterns and replace them with productive ones, leading to healthier behaviours. 
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: Imagine peeling layers to understand yourself better. Psychodynamic therapy delves into your past, helping you connect present struggles with past experiences and ultimately finding ways to weave the threads of your life, helping you progress forward.
  • Art-Based Therapy: Express yourself without words. Art therapy involves creative activities to help you explore emotions and thoughts, promoting healing, growth, and self-awareness.
  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy: Have you ever tried meditation? Mindfulness-based therapy teaches you to be present, reducing stress and enhancing your ability to handle life’s challenges. Sometimes, this modality can be used with other types of therapies. 
  • Narrative Therapy: Understand that your life is a story – and you’re the author. Narrative therapy helps you reframe narratives that may not be helpful for you and empower you to create a different perspective.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Having strong emotions is entirely okay. DBT helps you learn to manage these emotions with effective tools. DBT combines practical skills and mindfulness techniques to help you with emotion regulation. 

Therapy is an individual journey, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Your preferences, needs, and goals play a big role in choosing the suitable modality, which might change over time.

Written by Alana Kaplan, The Global Resilience Project’s Mental Health Director

Understanding Therapy: A Guide to Different Approaches
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