The different types of talk therapies

Published On
CategoryTalk Therapy

Medically reviewed by Neal Swartz

Talk therapy at REACH Ohio
71 / 100

Talk therapy is the generalized term for any kind of therapy that involves talking about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with a trained professional.

It is one of the most effective ways to manage and overcome life difficulties and mental health challenges, and more and more Americans are turning to talk therapy each year – with nearly 56 million US adults receiving treatment or counseling for their mental health in 2022

There are many different types of talk therapy, all with subtle differences in terms of techniques used, main points of focus, or conditions treated. However, they broadly fall into four main types of talk therapy: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Humanistic therapy

If you’re interested in learning more about the different types of talk therapy and how they could help you, keep reading. 

Or if you live in Ohio and are interested in starting your own therapy journey, contact us today and find out the many different ways that we can help you at REACH. 

Short on Time? Here’s a quick summary of what’s ahead: 

What is talk therapy?

What are the different types of talk therapy?

The main 4 types of talk therapies:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Humanistic Therapy

Are therapy and treatment the same thing?

Which type of talk therapy is best for me?

What is talk therapy?

Talk therapy is the broad term for treatments that involve talking to a trained professional, in a safe and confidential environment, about your emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and anything else that might be causing you mental and emotional distress. 

The terms psychotherapy, counseling, and sometimes just “therapy”, are all commonly used to refer to the same thing. 

There are lots of different types of talking therapy, but the consistent point is that it always involves talking with a trained professional, who will be able to:

  • Give you a safe space to talk without fear of being judged. 
  • Help you to openly discuss your feelings and emotions, and understand yourself better.
  • Help you identify the things in your life that are causing you problems or distress.
  • Help you recognize and address behaviors that are negatively affecting your life.
  • Help you to resolve complex emotional issues, or find ways to live with them.

Talk therapies are used to help treat a wide range of problems and conditions, including:

Traditionally, talk therapies have always taken place face-to-face, but nowadays it is just as common to have talk therapy over the phone, by video call, or online – making this powerful form of help more accessible than ever before. 

What are the different types of talk therapy?

When getting down to the specifics, there are many different types of talk therapy, and new variations will always continue to be developed.

However, broadly speaking there are currently four main types of talk therapy: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Humanistic therapy

Other specific talk therapies, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – which is based on CBT but specifically adapted for people who feel emotions very intensely – can generally be placed within these categories. 

It’s also becoming increasingly common for therapists to utilize elements from multiple theories and therapy types, to create a style that more specifically meets their client’s needs. This is known as holistic or integrative therapy, and could be considered as a fifth type.

The main 4 types of talk therapies:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured form of talk therapy focused on helping people recognize and change negative or unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors.

It’s based on the premise that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected, and by recognizing our unhelpful or irrational beliefs, and using a range of proven techniques to address them, we can change the way we react to situations and relationships. It mainly focuses on the present, rather than your past or childhood, and looks at specific problems rather than how you feel more generally.

CBT is one of the most widely utilized types of therapy due to its success in treating a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and many more.  

Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal therapy focuses less on thought patterns and more on a person’s interpersonal relationships and how they are impacting their emotional well-being. It is therefore a more family- or relationship-focused therapy, but that doesn’t mean it’s only used in group, family, or couples therapy sessions. It’s utilized just as much in one-to-one client and therapist settings. 

IPT is most commonly used to treat depression and anxiety, but can also help with a number of other conditions.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy looks at how your unconscious thoughts and past experiences are influencing your current behavior and emotions. 

It’s similar to CBT in that it looks at thought patterns and behaviors and how they influence reactions and relationships, but it’s specifically focused on how your past and childhood experiences have shaped both your unconscious and conscious mind. 

Psychodynamic therapists use a range of techniques to help clients identify and then address these unconscious processes and inner conflicts, and it can be very successful in treating a wide range of conditions including depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders and addictions, and much more. 

Humanistic therapy

Humanistic therapy focuses on exploring a person’s whole self, rather than specific problems. It’s grounded in the belief that we are all capable of growth and of becoming the best versions of ourselves, but life experiences may have stopped us from reaching our potential.

Humanistic therapists create supportive, non-judgmental environments where clients are encouraged to explore their feelings, values, and goals, with an emphasis on self-awareness, personal growth, and inherent self-worth. 
Gestalt therapy and person-centered therapy are notable examples of humanistic therapy, and this type of talk therapy can also help with a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and many more.

Are therapy and treatment the same thing?

People are often confused about the different terms used in the sphere of mental health care, particularly regarding the difference between treatment vs therapy.

Officially speaking, “treatment” refers to the course of actions taken to manage, alleviate, and/or cure a condition, while “therapy” refers more to the process of rehabilitation. Therapy is therefore often a component of a treatment. 

However, the reality is that they are often used interchangeably, and the more important differentiation is between medical and non-medical treatments or therapies. 

For example, talk therapies are a type of non-medical treatment for mental and emotional problems. They use a wide range of different techniques, but no medical intervention.

Psychiatry and ketamine therapy, on the other hand, are medical treatments. They specifically involve the use of prescribed medications to help manage and/or cure symptoms. At REACH, we can offer these forms of treatment as well. 

Talk therapy on its own can be highly effective and is enough for many patients. However, those who need medication usually benefit most from a combination of the two – psychiatry (or other forms of medication management) and talk therapy – and this is the holistic approach we follow and recommend at REACH BH

Which type of talk therapy is best for me?

It can be difficult to know which type of talk therapy will work best for you until you try one. Sometimes people need to try a few different types of therapy before they find the right one. Finding the right therapist is just as important, and can also sometimes take a few tries. 

But it’s important to remember that therapy is a journey, and every step on that journey will be taking you in the right direction. 

The best way to get started on your therapy journey is by speaking with healthcare professionals who can recommend the therapies or treatments they think will be most suitable for your needs. 

At REACH Behavioral Health in Ohio, we take great care in selecting the right therapists for every individual. 

We have a large team of therapists who are trained and qualified in all types of talk therapy, and we can offer our clients the option of in-person therapy at our centers across Ohio, or teletherapy from the comfort of your own home or other private space. 

This means that following an initial in-depth assessment and conversation, we’ll be able to match you to your optimal therapist, therapy type, and therapy setting, and give you the best chances of success on your therapy journey. 

If you’re interested in learning more about talk therapy at REACH, or are ready to get started, don’t hesitate to contact us (216) 453-1112

Contact us