There are a LOT of Psychotherapy Modalities. Even after 10 years of practice, I continue to hear about new ones regularly. I heard about Emotion Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT) last week. I feel like Abe Simpson complaining to the president that there are too many States as I say this, but there really are way too many to keep track of.
WHY are there so many? Because we don’t yet know everything about the Brain and Mind. But we have the internet, brain scans, and backpacks to put cats in with little portholes for them to look out of, shouldn’t we have figured Psychotherapy out by now?
Absolutely not and to answer that we have to first put our species into historical context.
First up: The Big picture of time – The Cosmic Calendar
So of that time, we’ve only been thinking about this structurally for a fraction of the time.
The Coppernican Revolution that helped the acceptance of the idea that the earth is not the centre of the universe was only about 500 years ago.
Darwin’s theory of evolution was published 1859, and we’ve been building off that since, learning so much. Following him and several other philosophers and scientists, Freud systematically lay down the idea that we have an unconscious.
We don’t yet know where Consciousness comes from. How exactly does it emerge from a complex system of cells? We don’t have an answer yet. We’re closer than we were a century ago to understanding consciousness, but we still have a way to go.
Throughout the ages we’ve developed new systems and theories to try to make sense of life and our experiences. From alchemy & phrenology to chemistry & neuroscience. We’re always trying to make sense of things and the thing we’re trying to make sense of is the thing we’re using to try to make sense of things.
Still with me?
Your biological brain is very similar to the next person, but your mind: your sense of self is unique to you. You have had your own set of experiences every waking hour of your life, which has been lived enmeshed in countless different networks throughout the years. No one else has lived in your shoes and thus no one knows exactly what it is like to be you. Therefore your experience of the world is unique to you. As you go through life, various experiences and factors affect how you make sense of things, how you perceive and process information, and how you value different things. We all learn differently and feel differently to boot. Some people like structure, some hate it, and that’s ok.
Since Psychotherapy modalities are made by people just like you, it seems inevitable that many would arise with different focuses and different target audiences. Therapy cannot have a one size fits all because different people learn and process differently.
There are many psychotherapy modalities because mental health and well-being are complex issues that can be affected by a wide range of factors such as biology, psychology, and social and environmental factors. Each modality has its own unique approach and techniques that can be effective in addressing different issues and concerns.
Moreover, as our understanding of the human mind and behavior advances and evolves, new modalities are developed to address new insights, and to improve on the effectiveness of existing modalities.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the field of psychology and psychotherapy is an interdisciplinary field, and it draws from different disciplines such as biology, sociology, anthropology, and neuroscience. Each of these disciplines has its own perspective on mental health, and this diversity of perspectives leads to the development of different modalities.
In conclusion, There are many psychotherapy modalities because mental health and well-being are complex issues that can be affected by a wide range of factors. Different individuals may have different preferences and needs when it comes to therapy. As our understanding of the human mind and behavior advances, new modalities are developed, and psychology and psychotherapy is an interdisciplinary field that draws from different disciplines.
How do we see the future of Psychotherapy? Stay tuned, we’ll definitely write about that soon
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of modalities to further drive the point home.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Psychoanalytic psychotherapy
- Person-centered therapy
- Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)
- Gestalt therapy
- Humanistic therapy
- Mindfulness-based therapies
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Reality therapy
- Transpersonal psychology
- Behavioral therapy
- Body psychotherapy
- Existential therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Integrative therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Narrative therapy
- Solution-Focused Brief therapy
- Transactional Analysis (TA)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Schema therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Art therapy
- Breathwork therapy
- Guided imagery therapy
- Music therapy
- Sandplay therapy
- Biofeedback therapy
- Clinical hypnosis
- Experiential therapy
- Family systems therapy
- Feminist therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Human givens therapy
- Inner child therapy
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) (Pseudoscience )
- Play therapy
- Positive psychology
- Primal therapy
- Prolonged exposure therapy
- Radix therapy (Never heard of it)
- Somatic experiencing
- Solution-Focused therapy
- Systemic therapy
- Trauma-focused therapy
- Voice dialogue (Never heard of it)
- Yoga therapy