There are quite a few different types of psychotherapy out there. Whether you are a potential client considering what the best treatment for you might be, or an aspiring therapist planning your career path, you might want to know what the most effective therapies are so you can make a choice that best suits your preferences. So, today, we’ll be covering the 5 revolutionary treatments that could change psychotherapy forever.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy
Developed in the 1980s by Robert C. Schwartz, IFS is an integrative approach to psychotherapy that regards mental health symptoms like paranoia, depression, anxiety, and even psychosis as emotional events under the control of certain unconscious “Parts” of the person. Underneath these parts lies a person’s core or true “Self,” which exists just beneath the noise and fury of parts.
Parts are of three main types, namely:
- Exiles; which carry all of the psychological trauma,
- Managers, or protectors; which preemptively protect a person’s conscious mind from being flooded by traumatic experiences and the resultant harmful consequences, and
- Firefighters, which exist to divert attention away from the exiles’ hurt and shame when they do break out. Firefighters often do this by adopting impulsive or inappropriate behaviors like drug abuse, violence, overeating, overworking, etc.
Each part has its memories, personalities, interests, and perspectives. Each part also has a positive intent, even though they might act in ways that are counterproductive or that cause dysfunction.
The goal of therapy is not to eliminate these parts, but to bring them into harmony. This is done by, first, accessing the Self, and through Self, working to understand each of the parts to heal them.
IFS therapy is beneficial and is one of the best treatments for PTSD.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
EMDR is one of the fastest and most effective ways of resolving and integrating trauma. EMDR typically delivers results that would take years with most other treatments within a matter of days, often yielding results in as few as 5 days.
The EMDR International Association states on their website that “the goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new ones that are needed for full health.”
EMDR is one of the best treatments for PTSD, self-regulation, attachment issues, and dissociation.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Cognitive Processing Therapy is a 12-week treatment with 60-90-minute sessions held weekly.
First, you will discuss the traumatic experience with your therapist and explain how your thoughts on the subject have affected your life. Then you’ll write about what happened extensively, sparing no detail. This is to clarify precisely how you think about your trauma and find new ways to deal with it.
If, for example, you have been blaming yourself for some traumatic event, your therapist will help you see the many factors that were outside your control so that you can move forward, understand, and finally accept that it was not your fault.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
In Prolonged Exposure Therapy, PTSD treatment centers have you confront things that remind you of the traumatic event in 8 – 15 sessions of 90 minutes each.
To help ease the anxiety, you feel when you think about what happened, your therapist will teach you breathing techniques early in the treatment. Then you will make a list of the things you’ve been avoiding and one by one, learn how to face them. In another session, you’ll explain the traumatic event to your therapist. Then you’ll go home and listen to a recording of yourself recounting the experience.
Over time, this will help you overcome your symptoms.
Stress Inoculation Training
SIT is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that can be done in a group or individually. Instead of going over the details of what happened, the focus will be on changing how you deal with the stress resulting from the event.
You might be taught breathing, massage, or other techniques to relax your mind and body and stop negative thoughts. Within 3 months, you should have developed the skills necessary to release the stress altogether.
Intensive Therapy Retreats offers intensive mental health retreats for PTSD, trauma, child abuse, and sexual abuse survivors at our PTSD treatment center in Northampton, MA. Our main methods of treatment are EMDR therapy and IFS therapy.