Different Types of Talk Therapies

What are the different types of talk therapies, and what do they do?

Once you receive a consultation, the clinician will make recommendations as to the most appropriate treatment or therapeutic approach for your circumstances. He or she may be able to use that approach or can refer you to persons who specialize in a specific approach. Many therapists use a combination of therapeutic approaches in their work. Some of the different approaches are as follows.

Psychodynamic Therapy
Psychodynamic therapy assumes the depression is due to unresolved, unconscious conflicts from childhood. It is based on the classic psychoanalytic approach that Sigmund Freud developed. The therapist uses the concepts of transference, counter-transference, resistance, free association, and dreams in order to help the patient develop insight into patterns in relationships that can then effect change. It is a nondirective therapy. Although classic analytical therapy can last for years, with sessions 4 to 5 days per week, psychodynamic therapy may be shorter in duration, with sessions 1 to 3 times per week. Controlled research studies examining the efficacy of this type of therapy are minimal because of the nature of this type of therapy. It is often a helpful treatment approach for those with chronic coping difficulties or with personality disorders.

Interpersonal Therapy
Interpersonal therapy conceptualizes depression in a patient with the three components of symptom formation, social functioning, and personality factors. It focuses on the patient’s social, or interpersonal, functioning, with expected improvement in symptoms. The goal is to improve communication skills and self-esteem. It is a brief and highly structured, manual-based psychotherapy. Areas of social functioning that may be addressed are interpersonal disputes, role transitions, grief, and interpersonal deficits. Therapy is focused and brief in duration, typically lasting 12 to 16 sessions. Research studies have shown it to be an effective treatment for depression.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive–behavioral therapy assumes the depression is due to a pattern of negative thinking. It works to help patients identify and change inaccurate perceptions of themselves and situations. It also is brief in duration and manually based, typically lasting for 10 to 20 sessions. It typically involves the use of homework assignments between sessions. Research studies have shown it to be an effective treatment for depression and some anxiety disorders.