Last week we discussed how difficult it can be to figure out what kind of therapist you might want to seek out in terms of their degree. This week we thought it would also be helpful to break down some of the types of therapies (or the millions of abbreviations you’ll see floating around the internet) that you might benefit most from.
To put it simply, there are generally (very generally) two theoretical orientations (aka approaches based on scientific theory) that most therapists operate from. These are psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Psychodynamic therapy generally focuses on creating a strong therapeutic alliance and generating insight about one’s issues by analyzing a number of things like early childhood relationships and defense mechanisms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (which is an umbrella term that many therapies fall underneath) focuses on examining the relationships between one’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. CBT focuses on increasing one’s awareness for these facets of our lives, and learning skills, coping strategies and techniques to intervene in any of these areas. Again, in general, there is more research to support the use of cognitive behavioral therapies, but this is by no means a guarantee that it will “work” for you.
Both schools of thought focus on creating a warm, supportive relationship between client and therapist, but the work done in therapy can look very different.
The Lukin Center for Psychotherapy has a firm commitment to providing treatment that is based in science, or what is termed “evidence-based treatment.” We believe, and science supports, that using treatments that have been tried and tested gives our patients the best shot at their best possible outcome.
Here are 3 types of therapy that we offer, that all fall under the umbrella term of cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):
This kind of therapy focuses on accepting emotional experiences at they are, as well as committing to making behavioral changes that can improve upon symptoms, and one’s life in general. This treatment focuses on psychological flexibility, being present in the moment, and behaving in a way that is consistent with your values. ACT focuses on the idea that difficult emotions are inevitable, but that action to improve our lives is also possible.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT):
This kind of therapy which focuses on acceptance and change has four broad areas which include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT aims to help individuals manage difficulty emotions and emotional suffering, while also doing what we can to change the occurrence of these emotions, and how we respond to them.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT):
This therapy, also under CBT, focuses on one’s emotional experience, and increases the awareness that emotions are important as they provide us information about our environment. EFT aims to help us understand the patterns in our emotions, and how we can listen to them, and act according to them, in healthy and safe ways.
Finding a therapist and therapeutic approach that works well for you is an intimate and challenging task, but there are ways to simplify it so it is less overwhelming. Ask what orientation they operate from, ask what kind of therapy they think you would benefit from, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.
Everyone has the right to treatment that they find effective, so don’t be afraid to look for it.
*Lukin Center Psychotherapy is now in 5 convenient locations : Ridgewood, Hoboken, NYC, Jersey City and newly opened Englewood (163 Engle Street, Building 1A, Englewood, NJ).
Konstantin Lukin, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in Ridgewood, Hoboken, NYC, Jersey City and newly opened Englewood. He has extensive clinical and research experience spanning individuals of all ages, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He specializes in men’s issues, couple’s counseling, and relationship problems. His therapeutic approach focuses on providing support and practical feedback to help patients effectively address personal challenges. He integrates complementary modalities and techniques to offer a personalized approach tailored to each patient. He has been trained in cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavior, schema-focused, and emotionally focused therapy, and has also been involved with research projects throughout his career, including two National Institute of Mental Health-funded studies. He is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New Jersey Psychological Association, Northeast Counties Association of Psychologists, New York State Psychological Association, The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, The New York Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, the International OCD Foundation, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACSB) and a regular contributor to Psychology Today.