Which Type of Therapy is Most Effective?

I’ve been a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner for over 10+ years, and I’m asked frequently what’s the best type of therapy for a client with a mental health issue. In my opinion, there are three main types of “therapy,” but I recognize that some clients may actually have more than one. Each of the three main categories of mental health treatments falls into a specific therapeutic style. Which category is most appropriate for your situation? Which type of therapy is most effective?

Probably the simplest answer to the question, “What is the most effective type of therapy?” is clinical talk therapy. This is probably the most traditional type of treatment available. This involves a licensed therapist who will listen to the patient and attempt to understand the root cause(s) behind the symptoms(s) the patient presents with. There is an emphasis on understanding behaviors as well as attitudes/thought patterns.

This type of psychotherapy is most appropriate for patients who have one or more of the following issues: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Social Phobia. Other mental health issues which may require counseling may include substance abuse, eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorders. Other types of psychotherapy which may be appropriate for a particular patient are family psychotherapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. Each patient may require a unique blend of these approaches to achieve optimal wellness.

The second most effective type of therapy is individual psychotherapy. This may be a newer option than most clients are comfortable with due to confidentiality concerns. This therapy style focuses on each client’s specific needs and how those needs differ from the patient’s goals and objectives. The goal of this therapy is to identify strengths within the client that contribute to their ability to effectively handle stressors and/or enhancing positive life behaviors.

The third most effective psychotherapy which is sometimes a viable option is blended psychotherapy. Blended psychotherapy is usually coordinated by a professional counselor or therapist. This blended approach attempts to use multiple communication techniques in conjunction with one another to address different aspects of the client’s life. For example, the client will be asked about past experiences which may be indicative of a potential social anxiety problem, but also asked about the current state of their finances and what they would do to make changes to improve their life if they had the money.

The fourth most effective therapy which is often the first option chosen by many clients seeking relief is conversational behavioral therapy. This therapy works because it targets how your beliefs are impacting your behavior. Instead of working on a problem area which is only temporarily relevant to the issue at hand (which is why cognitive behavioral therapy is typically used), this form of therapy seeks to tackle long term issues related to how your beliefs about yourself and your experiences have been formed over time. This results in a more permanent change and often leads to a noticeable difference in your quality of life within just a few sessions.

The fifth most effective psychotherapy which is often a viable option is marriage and family therapy. This form of therapy is usually utilized when there has been a recent breakup or divorce. It seeks to help clients discover how they can better communicate with one another to resolve any difficulties they may be experiencing. It also works to strengthen communication between partners as a couple. In fact, research shows that up to 75% of the couples who enter marriage counseling or therapy find that their relationship improves after it ends.

Which type of therapy is most effective? The answer really all depends on the individual. What may work for one person may not necessarily work for another. There are as many different therapies available as there are people who suffer from depression. Each person should take a personal look at which form of therapy they feel is best suited to their needs. Because every person is different, therapy is a highly individualized form of treatment.