What if I Hated Therapy? Pt. 4
So far I’ve talked about the different ways that therapeutic relationships can go awry, common theoretical orientations that counselors adhere to, and information on therapists’ credentials and payment. Next I will talk about the different modalities of counseling so that you can be better informed about what is out there.
First off, I will list the many ways that you can receive therapy services:
Individual: just you and your therapist talking about your life experience.
Group: typically involves 4 to 10 people that are coming together for a common purpose and who discuss their own lives as well as group dynamics. The four major types of groups are:
- Therapy groups: involve a professional leader running a group about a specific mental health topic such as “Living with Bipolar Disorder” or “Cancer Survivors Group.”
- Process groups: led by a professional and typically do not have a specific topic; rather, these focus on processing what it means to be alive in your particular period of life. Sometimes leaders might choose to narrow criteria for joining down as far as gender or sexual orientation, but group sessions themselves tend to be less structured and more open to whatever members want to talk about.
- Psychoeducation groups: involve a professional leader that informs the group about information regarding a particular topic or disorder like “Coping Skills for Secondary Trauma.” Typically, the leader will focus on providing you with information and resources, and the group meetings are usually more structured.
- Self-help groups: led by individuals without a professional leader. These groups are usually free and concern one common topic among members. An example of this type of group is an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. (2); (4)
Couples/Marital: involves you and your romantic partner(s) with a therapist who is specifically working to help the relationship of concern. Ethically, your therapist should not see anybody in the relationship individually unless it is for the first session. If you are seeking this type of service, it may be useful to look into therapists who are specifically trained or knowledgeable in regards to your relationship dynamic. For example, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is a place where you can search for a polyamory-friendly therapist. Similarly, looking for therapists who specify that they are LGBTQ+-friendly may be beneficial to avoid discomfort.
Family: involves you and your family attending sessions together with a therapist who will work with all of you in order to address needs and dynamics. There are therapists who specifically trained to work with families called LMFTs (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists), but this license is not necessarily required for family work. Here is the website through American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy look for this type of counselor.
Play: for children and designed to use “their language” of play to achieve growth and development in therapy. There are specific credentials and therapists who are trained in play therapy for this modality, and an association-led search directory can be found here.
Filial: specifically for parents to develop their relationship with their child through teaching the parent play techniques. This type of therapy is almost like a hybrid between family and play therapy and involves all willing parents and children. (5)
In addition to the varying degree of people present in your therapeutic process, some therapies are specialized to focus on one form of administering the therapy, such as:
Talk: involves a therapist and a client using one of the many therapeutic approaches by talking though concerns.
Art: uses the creative process and art making to enhance well-being in therapy. To find a qualified art therapist, scroll down this page based on your location.
Although sometimes you may find a therapist who is licensed in art therapy, you may encounter talk therapists who incorporate art activities throughout your process. This practice is similar to an eclectic style of theory in that the counselor will use interventions if they believe it’s appropriate for your area of concern. (1)
Animal assisted: incorporates registered therapy animals into the therapeutic process. The most common therapy animals are dogs and horses, but just about any animal can be registered as a therapy animal if they pass the training (other common therapy animals are cats, bunnies, and other small rodents like gerbils). Generally, the animal will assist in terms of level of comfort, or the therapist may comment on the animal’s reaction and relationship to you and how that relates to themes in your life. (6)
Music/Dance/Drama/Yoga/Wilderness: the type of focus in therapy is expanding in our modern age and may include music-focused therapy, dance-focused therapy, or drama-focused therapy all similar to art therapy in their own ways. Still other forms that are more popular include yoga and wilderness therapy in which you can incorporate the process of making small achievements in yoga or hiking, for instance, into your therapy.
You can read more in-depth information regarding the above types of growing focus therapies here:
Consider the above modalities and which one(s) you might prefer or might best address your specific concerns.
In my next and final post for this blog series, we will wrap up all of the nuances to choosing the right therapist for you by discussing common settings, how to prioritize your needs, and some tips on how to best communicate these needs.
(1) American Art Therapy Association. (2013). What is art therapy? Retrieved from: https://www.arttherapy.org/upload/whatisarttherapy.pdf
(2) Brook, D. W. (2003). Exploring group therapies. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved from: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/exploring-group-therapies
(3) Butina, B. (2009). Chapter 3: Settings for therapy. Psychcentral. Retrieved from: http://psychcentral.com/find-therapist/chapter-3-settings-for-therapy/
(4) Goodtherapy. (2013). Group therapy. Retrieved from: http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/modes/group-therapy
(5) Goodtherapy. (2016). Filial therapy. Retrieved from: http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/filial-therapy
(6) McQuarrie, D., & Phillips, A. (n.d.). Therapy animals supporting kids (TASK) program. American Humane. Retrieved from: https://www.americanhumane.org/app/uploads/2016/08/therapy-animals-supporting-kids.pdf
If you’re interested in learning more, you can email me here and I’d be happy to answer any questions. I am accepting new clients in South Austin at this time, so I’d be happy to set up a free 30-minute consultation with you.
This blog was edited by Samantha Rice
Julia Stamman, M.S., LPC-Intern
Supervised by Ann Stoneson, LPC-S