Theoretical models for therapy in a nutshell:
Psychodynamic counselling is concerned with how your experiences from the past influence the way you feel, think and behave in the present. This is the ‘classic’ model of psychotherapy starting with Freud and Jung and including psychoanalysis, attachment theory, object relations theory and present day relational models.
The focus is on uncovering your unconscious ways of doing things, making your aware of them and ultimately to help you implement changes in your life.
Cognitive-behavioural theory (CBT) is most concerned with your thought patterns and how they affect your behaviour, which may occasionally seem irrational and come out of nowhere. CBT is a more practical approach to issues that trouble you, focusing on concrete, goal oriented exercises that help you to change your way of (negative) thinking.
Humanistic theory started off as a reaction to both classic psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural models of counselling where the therapist was largely seen as the ‘expert’ and the client as the ‘patient’. Humanistic models include person-centred counselling, Gestalt therapy and psychosynthesis.The belief is that the client knows best what choices to make and that the therapist helps by providing an environment where the client can flourish.
Integrative Therapy acknowledges that one theory cannot address everything and that every individual has different needs that demand different responses. As an Integrative Counsellor I believe that all of the three main theories referred to above are most effective when not dealt with in isolation but when used to address a specific need in the most holistic way.