Choosing the right therapist: The 5 most important considerations

Check This article was edited and approved for accuracy By Adam Szmerling on February 8, 2024

Choosing the right therapist can be difficult.

Different problems and different personalities call for different therapies and different areas of expertise. What’s more, therapy is also both very personal — sometimes even confronting and upsetting — so you need someone you are very comfortable with.

To enjoy the best chance of success, you need to find a therapist who satisfies all of those criteria, and as you have probably already discovered, that is no easy task.

an infographic on the 5 steps for choosing the right therapist

Fortunately, you do not have to do it alone. This comprehensive, step-by-step guide will help you choose the therapist who is the best fit for you and your unique needs.

  1. Type
  2. Therapies
  3. Reputation
  4. Budget
  5. Compatibility

1. Type

There are many different types of mental health therapists, and some overlap in the types of therapies they provide. So choosing the best type for you can be a little confusing.

Here is a quick summary of the more common therapist types, to help you start narrowing down your options.

Psychologist

A psychologist studies human behaviour and thought processes, diagnoses mental health conditions, and provides therapeutic interventions to help individuals cope with emotional, behavioural, and cognitive challenges. They use evidence-based techniques to promote well-being and improve mental health outcomes.

To be called a psychologist in Australia, a therapist must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree in psychology and:

  • A two-year internship; or
  • A one-year post-graduate qualification + one year of internship; or
  • A two-year master’s degree or a three-year doctoral degree in psychology.

They can then apply for endorsement in their area of expertise (e.g. clinical psychology or forensic psychology) from the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA).

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist diagnoses, treats and aims to prevent mental illnesses, from a medical perspective. They assess patients, prescribe medications, provide psychotherapy, and offer interventions for complex psychiatric disorders. They are also able to admit patients to hospital if they require intensive support and care.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have undertaken additional studies in psychiatry with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). This additional training usually takes at least five years.

Once they have completed their studies, they become a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (FRANZCP), and they must register as a specialist with the Medical Board of Australia.

Counsellor

A counsellor provides guidance and support to individuals facing personal, emotional, or mental challenges. They facilitate client self-awareness, offer coping strategies, and create a safe space for discussing issues to promote well-being and personal growth.

In Australia, there is no legal requirement for counsellors to have specific qualifications or experience, or to be a member of any organisation. But there are a number of formal degrees in counselling, as well as industry standards and professional associations that ensure quality and ethical service delivery.

For example, a good counsellor may have a Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling) and a Master of Social Work (MSW), along with a membership with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

Hypnotherapist

A hypnotherapist uses guided relaxation and focused attention to induce a trance-like state, helping clients access their subconscious mind to address behavioural patterns, emotional issues, or phobias, facilitating positive change and healing.

Like counsellors, hypnotherapists in Australia are not legally required to possess any specific qualifications, training or memberships. However, there are recognised tertiary qualifications in hypnotherapy, as well as industry standards and professional associations that help ensure quality and ethical service delivery.

For example, a good hypnotherapist may have a government-accredited Diploma Clinical Hypnotherapy, and a membership with the The Australian Association of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, the Australian Hypnotherapists Association (AHA) or the Hypnotherapy Council of Australia (HCA).

Psychotherapist

A psychotherapist offers therapeutic treatments for emotional, mental, and behavioural issues. Using various modalities, they help clients navigate life challenges and understand feelings, facilitating healing and personal growth. Psychotherapists delve deeper into current relationship dynamics, as well as childhood family dynamics and history. They are less solutions-focussed and do not offer tools and techniques, instead aiming to inspire deeper exploration and reflection through talking in a unique way.

Psychotherapists can come from various educational backgrounds, including psychology, counselling, social work and psychiatry. Although, in Australia, they are not required to possess any specific qualifications, most typically have at least a master’s degree in their area of expertise, and many undergo additional training in specific therapeutic techniques. There are also industry standards and professional associations that help ensure quality and ethical service delivery.

Mental health social worker

A mental health social worker is typically a therapist who works with recognised therapies to treat patients with emotional, mental, and behavioural issues, but who also considers the broader social context.

To legally work as a mental health social worker in Australia, a person must be a qualified therapist who has met the standards established by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

2. Therapies

There are even more types of therapy than there are types of therapists. Each type approaches problems differently — both theoretically and practically — so it is helpful to have a basic understanding of the more common ones before seeking help.

Here is a quick overview of each, as well as some pros and cons.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Identifies, challenges, and reframes negative thought patterns 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Short-term
✅Structured
✅Practical
✅Teaches coping skills
❌Surface-level
❌Not deep-rooted
❌Requires homework
❌Not always introspective
❌Results may not always
be long-lasting
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Counsellors
Psychodynamic therapy
Explores unconscious patterns stemming from past experiences 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Uncovers deep-rooted issues
✅Lasting insights
✅Holistic
❌Long-term
❌Can be intense
❌Less structured
+ Show references
Psychologists (sometimes)
Psychiatrists (sometimes)
Psychotherapists (often)
Mental health social workers
Person-centred therapy (or Rogerian therapy)
Provides unconditional positive regard, empathy & active listening 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Non-directive
✅Empathetic
✅Validates feelings
❌Lacks techniques
❌Slow progress
❌Too client-led
+ Show references
Psychologists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Hypnotherapy
Uses trance-like states to access & influence the subconscious mind 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Can deliver rapid results
✅Bypasses conscious mind
✅Versatile
❌Results may not always be
long-lasting
❌Not appropriate for treatment
of psychosis
❌Some clients mistakenly think
they do not have to actively participate
+ Show references
Hypnotherapists
Some mental health social workers
Some psychologists
Some counsellors
Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
Addresses interpersonal issues & patterns to alleviate symptoms 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Short-term
✅Relationship-focused
✅Structured
❌Ignores deep-rooted issues
❌Specific focus
❌Less holistic
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
Balances acceptance & change strategies for emotional regulation 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Structured
✅Skill-focused
❌Intensive
❌Requires commitment
❌Often group-based
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Counsellors
Mental health social workers
Integrative or Eclectic therapy
Combines techniques from various therapeutic approaches 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Tailored
✅Versatile
❌Less consistent
❌Vague
+ Show references
Psychologists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Psychiatrists
Narrative therapy
Reshaping personal stories & identities 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Empowering
✅Non-pathologizing
❌May seem indirect
❌Neglects other factors
❌Requires openness
+ Show references
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)
Targets immediate solutions rather than underlying problems 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Goal-oriented
✅Short-term
✅Practical
❌Overlooks deeper issues
❌Rigid
❌Less introspective
+ Show references
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Gestalt therapy
Integrates mind, body & feelings in the present moment 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Present-focused
✅Holistic
✅Experiential
❌Intense
❌Confrontational
❌Not always structured
+ Show references
Psychologists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Schema therapy
Identifies & changes negative life patterns (schemas) 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Integrative
✅Deep insights
❌Long-term
❌Requires commitment
❌Can be intense
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Fuses acceptance strategies with commitment to value-driven actions 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Value-driven
✅Flexible
❌Requires openness
❌Less technique-driven
❌Introspective
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
Integrates mindfulness practices with cognitive therapeutic techniques 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Present-focused
❌Requires practice
❌Introspective
❌Not solution-focused
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Family systems therapy
Examines family dynamics & roles to identify issues 
+ Learn more
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
✅Holistic
✅Insightful
❌Requires family participation
❌Intense
❌Complex
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Pros & cons Emotional exploration Typically offered by
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Identifies, challenges, and reframes negative thought patterns
+ Learn more
✅Short-term
✅Structured
✅Practical
✅Teaches coping skills
❌Surface-level
❌Not deep-rooted
❌Requires homework
❌Not always introspective
❌Results may not always be long-lasting
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Counsellors
Psychodynamic therapy
Explores unconscious patterns stemming from past experiences
+ Learn more
✅Uncovers deep-rooted issues
✅Lasting insights
✅Holistic
❌Long-term
❌Can be intense
❌Less structured
+ Show references
Psychologists (sometimes)
Psychiatrists (sometimes)
Psychotherapists (often)
Mental health social workers
Person-centred therapy (or Rogerian therapy)
Provides unconditional positive regard, empathy & active listening
+ Learn more
✅Non-directive
✅Empathetic
✅Validates feelings
❌Lacks techniques
❌Slow progress
❌Too client-led
+ Show references
Psychologists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Hypnotherapy
Uses trance-like states to access & influence the subconscious mind
+ Learn more
✅Can deliver rapid results
✅Bypasses conscious mind
✅Versatile
❌Results may not always be long-lasting
❌Not appropriate for treatment of psychosis
❌Some clients mistakenly think they do not have to actively participate
+ Show references
Hypnotherapists
Some mental health social workers
Some psychologists
Some counsellors
Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
Addresses interpersonal issues & patterns to alleviate symptoms
+ Learn more
✅Short-term
✅Relationship-focused
✅Structured
❌Ignores deep-rooted issues
❌Specific focus
❌Less holistic
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
Balances acceptance & change strategies for emotional regulation
+ Learn more
✅Structured
✅Skill-focused
❌Intensive
❌Requires commitment
❌Often group-based
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Counsellors
Mental health social workers
Integrative or Eclectic therapy
Combines techniques from various therapeutic approaches
+ Learn more
✅Tailored
✅Versatile
❌Less consistent
❌Vague
+ Show references
Psychologists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Psychiatrists
Narrative therapy
Reshaping personal stories & identities
+ Learn more
✅Empowering
✅Non-pathologizing
❌May seem indirect
❌Neglects other factors
❌Requires openness
+ Show references
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)
Targets immediate solutions rather than underlying problems
+ Learn more
✅Goal-oriented
✅Short-term
✅Practical
❌Overlooks deeper issues
❌Rigid
❌Less introspective
+ Show references
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Gestalt therapy
Integrates mind, body & feelings in the present moment
+ Learn more
✅Present-focused
✅Holistic
✅Experiential
❌Intense
❌Confrontational
❌Not always structured
+ Show references
Psychologists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Schema therapy
Identifies & changes negative life patterns (schemas)
+ Learn more
✅Integrative
✅Deep insights
❌Long-term
❌Requires commitment
❌Can be intense
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Fuses acceptance strategies with commitment to value-driven actions
+ Learn more
✅Value-driven
✅Flexible
❌Requires openness
❌Less technique-driven
❌Introspective
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
Integrates mindfulness practices with cognitive therapeutic techniques
+ Learn more
✅Present-focused
❌Requires practice
❌Introspective
❌Not solution-focused
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Counsellors
Psychotherapists
Family systems therapy
Examines family dynamics & roles to identify issues
+ Learn more
✅Holistic
✅Insightful
❌Requires family participation
❌Intense
❌Complex
+ Show references
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Psychotherapists
Mental health social workers

3. Reputation

Researching a therapist’s reputation is essential for ensuring that you are entrusting your mental well-being to a competent and reputable professional. Below is a summary of how you can effectively research a therapist’s standing and reputation in Australia:

  1. AHPRA, PACFA or AASW registration check: Start with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website for psychologists. Every practitioner legally allowed to provide psychology must be registered with AHPRA. The site will provide information on the practitioner’s registration status, any conditions on their practice, and any reprimands or prohibitions. For Psychotherapists, check the PACFA registry. For Hypnotherapy, search the AHA registry or similar.
  2. Professional associations: Many therapists are also members of professional bodies, such as the Australian Psychological Society (APS) or the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). These organisations often have directories of accredited therapists and may offer additional layers of accountability and ethical standards.
  3. Recommendation from GP or other health professional: Most GPs and many other health professionals possess a good awareness of the therapists in the local area, and their capabilities. You should definitely consider their recommendations.
  4. Online Reviews and testimonials: While AHPRA regulations prohibit therapists from using testimonials in their advertising, third-party platforms might have patient reviews. Remember to approach these with a discerning mind; not every review (positive or negative) may provide a full picture or be relevant.
  5. Peer recommendations: Sometimes, local or online communities dedicated to mental health or specific issues (like anxiety or trauma support groups) can be sources of recommendations. Others who have had positive therapeutic experiences might share the names of professionals they trust.
  6. Publications and research: If a therapist has written articles, books, or been involved in research, it might give you an insight into their expertise and approach. Australian academic databases or journals can be a place to search for their contributions.
  7. Initial consultation: Once you have shortlisted potential therapists, consider an initial consultation. This not only allows you to gauge your comfort with them but also to enquire directly about their experience, approach, and any areas of expertise.

In all your research, remember that past performance is not an indication of future performance. Just because someone says their psychologist cured their depression does not mean she can do the same for you. And just because your local hypnotherapist claims they have a 99% success rate for smoking cessation, that does not necessarily mean they will stop you.

infographic on how to select a therapist based on reputation

4. Budget

Unfortunately, budget is always a consideration, even when making a decision as important as which therapist is right for you.

When thinking about cost, remember that the therapist’s consultation fee is not the only consideration. You also have to consider how often you will need treatment, how many weeks, months or even years your treatment will take, and whether the therapist is able to offer Medicare and private health rebates.

For example, Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) counselling, hypnotherapy and psychology tend to require fewer sessions than psychotherapy, because they typically focus on issues in the here and now, involve less introspection and emotional exploration, and patients are expected to complete homework.

Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is a holistic practice that focuses on deep-rooted issues and lasting insights. It requires a lot of emotional exploration and self-reflection and, as a result, treatment can range from short-term (a few sessions) to long-term (several years), depending on the therapeutic approach and the needs of the client.

Here is a rough guide that will help you estimate the typical long-term cost of treatment.

Therapist type Cost guide Medicare rebate? Private health rebate?
Psychologist $$$$$
Psychiatrist $$$$$
Usually only hospital cover
Counsellor $$$$$
Some funds only
Hypnotherapist $$$$$
Some funds only
Psychotherapist $$$$$
Some funds only
Mental health social worker $$$$$
Some funds only

5. Compatibility

Perhaps the single most important consideration when choosing a therapist is compatibility.

Therapy is usually deeply personal and, at times, upsetting and confronting. As a patient, there is a good chance you will need to expose your deepest fears and desires, and confront and admit painful thoughts and emotions. It is possible you will share things you have never shared with anyone else, in your entire life, and which you may even have been hiding from yourself.

For most people, this is all quite difficult, and to even attempt it, you will need to feel safe with your therapist.

It is important to note, however, that you probably will not feel completely comfortable in your initial sessions. You will be discussing uncomfortable topics. Indeed, for a while, so you may, in fact, feel decidedly uncomfortable. But you won’t be judged, and you shouldn’t feel that you are unable to get a word in edgewise, or that they are doubting you or belittling your concerns. If you are naturally talkative, they should respect your need to express and not make you feel like you are dominating conversation. If, on the other hand, you are naturally reserved, they should possess the skill to gently draw you out. Their communicative style needs to complement yours.

A shared sense of humour can also help. Moments of levity can humanise the process and act as a relief valve during intense sessions.

You cannot always predict compatibility, and nor can you be completely comfortable with anyone after just an hour. But you should definitely be able to sense if the potential for comfort is there after your initial consultation.

No matter who you choose…

Choosing the right therapist is critical, but no matter who you choose, it is important to remember that much of your healing and change must come from within.

It is not like getting your car serviced. It is a ‘do with’ thing, not a ‘do to’ thing, and even with the best and most compatible therapist guiding you, you will have to take ownership of your treatment and be committed to the process.

You will also need to reflect honestly on your needs, goals and preferences, and be realistic about how quickly you are likely to see results and how long your treatment may take. In particular, it is important to realise that there will definitely be a ‘getting to know you’ period of at least two to three sessions. During this time, you will familiarise yourself with your therapist’s approach and build the trust required to fully take them into your confidence. And both you and your therapist will get comfortable with each other’s personality, mannerisms and communication methods.

In other words, you will need to give it some time and try not to expect miracles.

Likewise, do not expect your therapist to be perfect. There is no such thing as the perfect therapist, just as there is no such thing as the perfect life partner. Expectations of perfection are unrealistic, and will only ever end in disappointment.

Conclusion

Hopefully you are now in a much better position to decide what sort of therapist you need, and how to decide which individual therapist will be most compatible with you, personally.

If you have any questions about anything covered in this guide, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to discuss with you.

Alternatively, you can read about our team of expert therapists or book an introductory consultation now.

a call to action image having text to choose a therapist
Adam Szmerling

Bayside Psychotherapy was founded by Adam Szmerling in Melbourne, offering counselling and psychotherapy for individuals and couples. Adam's experience with psychotherapy inspired him to help others improve their self-understanding, mental health and wellbeing.

Here are a couple of blogs written on this topic you might find useful:

Creating Healthier Workspaces: How str...

Employee mental health is pivotal to overall workplace wellbeing, impacting individual performance, job satisfaction, and organ.

From High Stakes to Healing: 8 Tips To...

Gambling activities have become more accessible and convenient due to the proliferation of casinos and the rapid growth of online gambling platforms. Mo.

An Examination of Bulimia Nervosa Amon...

Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that can significantly impact an individual's physical and psychological health. Characterised by recurrent.

Tips on How to Stop Eating Junk Food...

In today’s world, time efficiency and the desire for immediate satisfaction have become primary considerations for individuals. Junk food can provide .

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that aims to change negative patterns of thinking or behaviour. It is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected and that changing negative thought patterns can lead to changes in feelings and behaviours. CBT helps individuals identify and challenge distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs, teaching them to respond to challenging situations more effectively. It is commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders, including depression, anxiety, and phobias. The therapy involves working with a therapist in a structured setting, and the skills learned can be applied to everyday life. With its evidence-based approach, CBT has proven effective for many individuals in managing their psychological challenges.

This will close in 0 seconds

Psychodynamic Therapy


Psychodynamic therapy, rooted in the theories of psychoanalysis developed by Sigmund Freud, focuses on the unconscious processes as they manifest in a person's present behaviour. The goal is to increase self-awareness and understanding of how past experiences influence current behaviour. It explores unresolved conflicts and traumatic experiences from the past, which may be impacting present-day behaviours and emotions. Therapists often delve into childhood events, dreams, and the relationship between the therapist and client to uncover hidden patterns. By bringing these unconscious feelings and drives to consciousness, individuals can gain insights into their lives, leading to healing and personal growth. While traditionally long-term, many contemporary forms of psychodynamic therapy are shorter-term. It is used to treat a broad range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.

This will close in 0 seconds

Person-Centred Therapy (or Rogerian Therapy)


Person-centred therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, is a humanistic approach that emphasises the individual's inherent drive towards self-actualization and growth. The therapist provides an environment of unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuineness, allowing clients to freely express themselves without fear of judgement. This nurturing atmosphere facilitates self-exploration and self-acceptance. Central to the approach is the belief that individuals possess an innate ability to find their solutions when given the right conditions. The therapist's role is not to direct or advise, but rather to act as a facilitative companion on the client's journey. The focus is on the here and now, with the aim to enhance the individual's self-awareness, self-worth, and capacity to create positive changes in their lives.

This will close in 0 seconds

Hypnotherapy


Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique that uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of consciousness or trance. Conducted by certified hypnotherapists, it taps into the subconscious mind, allowing clients to explore suppressed memories, emotions, or negative patterns. The process can facilitate behaviour change by introducing positive affirmations or suggestions. Hypnotherapy is often employed to treat anxieties, phobias, substance addictions, unwanted behaviours, and pain management. It can also be used to uncover and address deeper traumas or past experiences. While many report positive results from hypnotherapy, it requires the individual's willingness and trust in the process. It is crucial to approach it with an open mind and under the guidance of a trained professional.

This will close in 0 seconds

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)


Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a time-limited, evidence-based treatment that focuses on interpersonal issues, aiming to improve communication patterns and relational dynamics. Developed primarily for depression, IPT operates on the premise that psychological symptoms are often linked to interpersonal problems. It concentrates on four main areas: unresolved grief, role disputes (conflicts with significant others), role transitions (major life changes), and interpersonal deficits (long-standing difficulties in forming and maintaining healthy relationships). Therapists help clients identify and address current interpersonal issues that may contribute to their emotional distress. By enhancing communication and relational skills, IPT seeks to alleviate symptoms and improve interpersonal functioning. Emphasising the here and now, it offers practical strategies and insights for individuals to better navigate their social environments.

This will close in 0 seconds

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive-behavioural treatment developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, primarily for individuals with borderline personality disorder and chronic suicidality. DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioural techniques with concepts from Buddhist meditation, emphasising both acceptance and change. The therapy addresses emotional dysregulation by teaching patients skills in four key areas: mindfulness (staying present in the moment), distress tolerance (managing crises and accepting situations without change), emotion regulation (understanding and managing intense emotions), and interpersonal effectiveness (communicating and setting boundaries). DBT incorporates both individual therapy and group skills training. Its efficacy has expanded beyond its initial focus, showing promise in treating other disorders like eating disorders, substance use disorders, and mood disorders. It aims to balance self-acceptance with the need for change, fostering both emotional stability and interpersonal effectiveness.

This will close in 0 seconds

Integrative or Eclectic Therapy


Integrative or Eclectic therapy combines elements from various therapeutic approaches based on a client's individual needs. Instead of adhering to a single therapy model, integrative therapists are flexible, drawing from multiple theories and techniques to create a personalised treatment. This approach recognizes the value of diverse therapeutic methods and believes no one size fits all. By blending elements from different therapies, integrative practitioners aim to enhance treatment efficacy, tailoring it to the specific issues, preferences, and cultural backgrounds of each client. The underlying principle is that different individuals may benefit from different approaches at different times. Thus, an integrative or eclectic approach is holistic, adaptable, and client-centred, aiming to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes by using a wider range of tools and insights.

This will close in 0 seconds

Narrative Therapy


Narrative therapy is a therapeutic approach that centres on the stories people construct and hold about their lives. Developed by Michael White and David Epston, it posits that individuals give meaning to their experiences through narrative, often influenced by societal norms and beliefs. In this therapy, problems are externalised, allowing clients to view issues as separate from themselves. Therapists help clients "re-author" these narratives, emphasising strengths, achievements, and overlooked potential. By dissecting and reframing these stories, individuals can perceive challenges differently, identify alternative narratives, and construct more empowered versions of their lives. The approach is non-pathologizing, viewing people as experts of their own lives, with the therapist acting as a collaborative partner in the exploration and rewriting process. Narrative therapy fosters resilience, agency, and personal transformation.

This will close in 0 seconds

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)


Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) is a goal-oriented approach that emphasises solutions rather than problems. Developed by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg in the 1980s, SFBT operates on the belief that clients possess inherent strengths and resources to manage difficulties and create desired changes. Instead of delving into the origins of problems, the therapy focuses on envisioning a preferred future and identifying practical steps to achieve it. Sessions often involve questions that help clients recognize successes, however small, and build on them. Questions might explore exceptions (times when the problem was not present) or elicit positive feedback, reinforcing progress. SFBT is typically shorter in duration than other modalities and is applicable across various settings and populations, emphasising resilience, competence, and actionable solutions.

This will close in 0 seconds

Gestalt Therapy


Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls in the mid-20th century, is an experiential and holistic approach focusing on self-awareness and the "here and now." It emphasises personal responsibility and the individual's experience in the present moment, the environment, and the context. The therapy seeks to help clients integrate fragmented aspects of the self, leading to a more unified, authentic whole. Gestalt therapists use creative techniques, including role-playing, dialogue, and experiential exercises, to heighten awareness and resolve unfinished business or "gestalts." Central to the approach is the belief in the innate human capacity for self-regulation and growth when individuals fully experience their feelings and perceptions. Gestalt therapy underscores the importance of the therapist-client relationship, direct engagement, and mutual influence, aiming to foster self-acceptance and personal growth.

This will close in 0 seconds

Schema Therapy


Schema therapy, developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young, integrates elements of cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, attachment, and gestalt approaches to treat complex disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder. It posits that maladaptive "schemas" or core beliefs form in childhood due to unmet emotional needs. These schemas persist into adulthood, leading to unhealthy life patterns or coping styles. The therapy identifies and addresses these deep-rooted schemas, aiming to replace them with healthier coping mechanisms. Schema therapy uses various techniques like cognitive restructuring, experiential exercises, and behavioural pattern-breaking. Therapists also emphasise a therapeutic relationship marked by "limited reparenting," wherein they provide the support and guidance that clients might have missed in their childhood. By addressing these core beliefs and their origins, schema therapy seeks long-lasting change and healing for individuals with chronic psychological challenges.

This will close in 0 seconds

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a therapeutic approach that blends traditional behaviour therapy with mindfulness principles. Developed by Steven C. Hayes in the 1980s, ACT's primary objective is to increase psychological flexibility. It encourages individuals to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than resisting or feeling guilty for them. The therapy focuses on six core processes: cognitive defusion (distancing from unhelpful thoughts), acceptance (embracing feelings without judgement), present-moment awareness (mindfulness), self-as-context (recognizing a consistent self beyond thoughts), values clarification (identifying what truly matters), and committed action (taking steps aligned with values). ACT posits that pain is a normal part of life and aims to help clients pursue meaningful lives in the presence of pain, rather than avoiding or being dominated by internal distress.

This will close in 0 seconds

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an integrative therapy that combines traditional cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with mindfulness strategies. Developed to prevent the recurrence of depression, MBCT teaches individuals to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, fostering a different relationship with them rather than trying to eliminate them. This approach aids in recognizing and disrupting automatic cognitive processes, often preventing depressive relapses. Through meditation exercises and awareness techniques, clients learn to focus on the present moment, reducing rumination and negative thought patterns. Research has shown MBCT to be effective in reducing the recurrence of depression, especially for those with a history of recurrent episodes. Beyond depression, it is also applied to various conditions, promoting mental well-being by cultivating mindfulness and a more adaptive relationship with thoughts and emotions.

This will close in 0 seconds

Family Systems Therapy


Family systems therapy, rooted in the work of Murray Bowen, views individuals in the context of their family unit, considering familial relationships, dynamics, and patterns. It posits that an individual's behaviours and emotional well-being are inseparable from the family system they belong to. Distress or dysfunction in one member often reflects broader family dynamics. The therapy seeks to identify and address unhealthy patterns within the family, aiming to foster understanding, improve communication, and resolve conflicts. Therapists observe interactions, facilitate dialogues, and guide family members towards healthier ways of relating. They consider generational patterns, roles, and boundaries. The goal is not just to address the concerns of one member but to enhance the well-being and functionality of the entire family system, recognizing its interconnected nature.

This will close in 0 seconds