Types of Therapy

Everyone goes through difficult times and sometimes it is best to talk to someone impartial and in confidence about your problems. Talking therapies are known to be helpful for many different people and they are widely available. In a talking therapy session, you will typically talk to a therapist one-to-one about your problems. Additional people may be involved in the sessions if you are going to family, couples or group therapy.  You can access talking therapy through the NHS but there is usually a waiting time (sometimes 6 months or longer) while accessing talking therapy privately is much quicker, it will involve a cost. The cost will depend on the type and provider of the therapy.

Here are some most commonly used types of talking therapy:


Having counselling is probably the best-known talking therapy. Counselling usually consists of 6 to 12 sessions, each an hour long. You talk in confidence to a counsellor about how you feel about yourself and your situation. The counsellor supports you and offers practical advice.

Counselling is ideal for people who are basically healthy but need help coping with a current crisis, such as:

  • anger
  • relationship issues
  • bereavement

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

The aim of CBT is help you think less negatively, so that instead of feeling hopeless and depressed, you cope better with and even start to enjoy the situations you face.

In CBT, you set goals with your therapist and carry out tasks between sessions. A course typically involves around six to 15 sessions, which last about an hour.

Like counselling, CBT deals with current situations more than events in your past or childhood.

In particular CBT can help with:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • phobias
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • some eating disorders, especially bulimia


Unlike counselling and CBT, psychotherapy involves talking more about your past to help you overcome problems you’re having in the present. It tends to last longer than CBT and counselling. Sessions are an hour long and can continue for a year or more.

There are different types of psychotherapy, but they all aim to help you understand more about yourself, improve your relationships and get more out of life. Psychotherapy can be especially useful in helping people with long-term or recurring problems to find the cause of their difficulties.

Family Therapy

This may be offered when the whole family is in difficulty.

Family therapy is useful for any family in which a child, young person or adult (a parent or a grandparent) has a serious problem that’s affecting the rest of the family.

Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can help when a relationship is in crisis (after an affair, for example). Both partners talk in confidence to a counsellor to explore what has gone wrong in the relationship and how to change things for the better. It can help couples learn more about each other’s needs and communicate better.

Group Therapy

In group therapy, up to around 12 people meet, together with a therapist. It’s a useful way for people who share a common problem to get support and advice from each other. It can help you realise you’re not alone in your experiences, which is itself beneficial.

Some people prefer to be part of a group or find that it suits them better than individual therapy.

(source: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/types-of-therapy.aspx)