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What Is Therapy?

Choosing to seek out therapy is a big enough step without having to navigate all the acronyms that come with it. We congratulate  you on taking that leap and we are here to help you make sense of it.

The commonly sought out counselling and therapeutic services are child, teen, adult individual counselling, family counselling, and couples counselling.  Therapists employ various evidence based approaches  such as CBT, DBT, EFT and EMDR in these services. These can be further explored below.

It’s called “cognitive behavioral” therapy because the treatment approach  is composed of two main areas — changing your cognitions, or thoughts, and changing your behaviors.

CBT is a short-term form of psychotherapy directed at present-time issues. The focus is on problem solving, and the goal is to change clients’ thought patterns in order to change their responses to difficult situations. A CBT approach can be applied to a wide range of mental health issues and conditions and can be applied in individual or in group therapy

Dialectical behavior is about  balancing opposites as the name implies. The therapist consistently works with the individual to find ways to hold two seemingly opposite perspectives at once. The focus is in promoting balance and avoiding black and white—the all-or-nothing styles of thinking.

DBT treatment is a type of psychotherapy that utilizes a cognitive behavioural approach and emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. The approach provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and help decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. First, mindfulness- focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance -this is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third,emotion  regulation-which covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness- consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is effective and more assertive while maintaining  self-respect, and strengthens relationships

Emotionally focused or emotion- focused therapy helps you attune to you emotions as emotions serve as signals of what needs to be addressed internally.

This means the treatment plan works  directly with emotions to help you make sense of them,process and learn to tolerate and manage them, and to use them to meet your needs and goals.

EFT is a short-term form of therapy recognizes the adaptive function of emotion and emphasizes the importance of attending to emotional experience as a source of meaning, direction, and growth. In order to function well, we need to be aware of how we feel and be able to make use of our emotions in a productive way.

EFT can be utilized for couples, family and individual therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and many other mental health problems

EMDR therapy is a phased, focused approach to treating traumatic and other symptoms by reconnecting the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution. Unlike other therapies, EMDR is about processing but not through talking instead the processing takes place in the brain

EMDR should only be offered by a trained clinician in EMDR.


There are numerous therapies available to be utilized in psychological interventions and many more continue to be introduced.This is by no means an extensive lists rather an overview of some of the commonly used approaches.

Interpersonal Therapy

At the focal point of interpersonal therapy are the interpersonal relationships of the depressed person.It is mostly utilized to treat depression. This therapy works under the premises that that depression can be treated by improving the communication patterns and how people relate to others as we are relational beings.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy, also known as insight-oriented therapy, it concentrates on unconscious processes as they are manifested in a person’s present behavior. The goals of psychodynamic therapy are to bring these unconscious processes to the client’s self-awareness and understanding. In its brief form, a psychodynamic approach enables the client to examine unresolved conflicts and symptoms that arise from past dysfunctional relationships and manifest themselves in the need and desire to abuse substances.

Solution focused Therapy

Unlike other forms of therapy that take time to explore problems, pathology and past life events,Solution-Focused Brief Therapy focuses on finding solutions in the present time and exploring one’s hope for the future so they can find quicker resolution of one’s problems. This method takes the approach that you already have the solutions to improve your own life and, with the appropriate guidance and questioning, one is capable of finding the best solutions and desired steps.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy views people as separate from their problems. This allows clients to get some distance from the issue to see how it might actually be helping them, or protecting them, more than it is hurting them. With this new perspective, individuals feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behavior and “rewrite” their life story for a future that reflects who they are, what they are capable of, and what their purpose is, separate from their problems.

Play Therapy

Play therapy as the name implies, utilizes play. It is often employed to help children between the ages of 3 and 12 to explore, express and process feelings through play. Therapeutic play normally takes place in a safe, comfortable playroom, where very few rules or limits are imposed on the child, encouraging free expression and allowing the therapist to observe the child’s choices, decisions, and play style. The goal is to help children learn to express themselves in healthier ways, become more respectful and empathetic and discover new and more positive ways to solve problems.

Sandplay Therapy

Sand play therapy is a form of play therapy that incorporates both talk therapy and play therapy that uses a sandbox with figurines to help with the expression of feelings, thoughts and experiences. The sand tray is central to the therapy as the client uses toy figurines to create scenes of miniature worlds that reflect a person’s inner thoughts, struggles, and concerns.