The Different Approaches to Psychotherapy Explained

If you were referred by your general physician to the best psychologist in Singapore, you will most likely undergo a form of psychotherapy during your treatment. The psychology center might also refer you to a psychiatrist if you need medication for your emotional or mental distress while working closely with a psychotherapist who specializes in a psychotherapy that can best address your problems.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy, because unlike the primary treatment method used by a psychiatrist, a recommended psychologist or psychotherapist is concerned with the emotional and mental well-being of the person (the psychiatrist deals with the physical symptoms of severe mental and emotional illnesses, although they can also perform counselling or psychotherapy). If you were recommended to a psychology center at a hospital for relationship counselling for example, it means that the doctor things you need to be able to deal with issues in your life in a focused and constructive way.

Now, all mental and emotional distress will need medication unless the symptoms interrupt your daily life, that is why people go through counselling for issues related to relationships, work, and painful experiences. Even those without any mental distress can also seek help when they are going through difficult times in their career, marriage, and a stressful condition. One such example is marriage counselling, which will help couples deal with difficult issues such as divorce.

Generally, psychotherapy is grouped into behavior therapy, psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy, cognitive therapy, humanistic-existential therapy, and holistic therapy. During your treatment, you might encounter any of these psychotherapeutic methods at the psychology center.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This type of cognitive behavior approach is recommended by a psychologist for patients with suicidal tendencies and borderline personality disorder. The method was developed by Marsha Linehan to help patients manage their thoughts and actions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This approach deals with both the person’s beliefs and thoughts and how these factors affect the mood and actions. You will encounter this method during counselling sessions with a psychologist for addictions. The psychologist in Singapore will help the patients bring awareness to a pattern of thinking or any unhealthy action, habits, and behavior. The term cognitive-behavioral emphasizes the connection between how a person sees things, what he/she tells himself/herself, and the feelings and acts that result from those two.

Interpersonal Therapy. This approach may be recommended by the psychology center for patients with depression, especially when the illness is related to unhealthy or dysfunctional relationships at home or at work. This may be used during a relationship counselling and a marriage counselling, due to the stressful nature of the problem. The goal is to help the patients determine how the bouts of depression can cause more problems and how they are supposed to deal with it through improved communication with other people.

Family Systems Therapy. The psychologist in Singapore will also refer to this as marriage counselling or relationship counselling, although other members of the family are also encouraged to attend the talk therapy. The goal is to change or to nurture the good relationship of the family members. Why should a family undergo this type of talk therapy? It comes from the idea that a person’s emotional and mental well-being may be understood in a larger context instead of looking at the individual only.

By being able to understand the dynamics within a certain group (the family), the psychologist might be able to help everyone who is affected. It’s not about exposing “dirty family secrets” to a stranger, but to address how these issues affect other life aspects of the family members. The psychologist might use different techniques (communication training, genogram, and systemic interpretation) and other talk therapies during the treatment.

Psychodynamic Therapy. This talk therapy is used with other psychotherapy methods to help patients with various mental disorders become aware and to understand their own actions. The psychologist will guide the patient in understanding how the non-conscious feeling can affect their behavior.

Hypnotherapy. This might sound like it’s straight from a suspense or horror film, but clinical hypnosis has been shown to be effective in treating emotional and mental disorders. The psychologist places the patient in a trance-like state to make them focus on hypnotic suggestions to break destructive habits or to help them relax. Don’t worry though, because the psychologist isn’t going to turn you into a mindless doll. The effect is less dramatic than that, because the method only uses relaxation and repetition to help the patient.

Expressive Therapy. As the name suggests, this method helps patients through music, art, writing, drama, and other forms of art. The approach can be used for a variety of problems including learning disabilities and mild depression. Expressive therapy stems from the belief that people can heal themselves through creative expression.

Cognitive-Behavioral Hypnotherapy. This approach uses both the cognitive behavior therapy and hypnosis to help patients deal with pain and trauma. The method is usually recommended for patients with anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, habit disorders, and sexual dysfunction. The use of this method is based on the belief of the cognitive mediation’s role in learning, which means that the person’s pattern of thoughts will determine how he/she will respond to stimuli. By using suggestive hypnosis, the psychologist hopes to help the patient mediate the patient’s belief system and consequently change his/her actions and thoughts gradually.

Play Therapy. You will usually find this approach used by a child psychologist, because play can help the child create a connection with the psychotherapist. Research suggests that it is possible to understand a child’s problem by observing how he/she plays. A child psychologist is well-trained in dealing with children, who are usually more expressive of their thoughts and emotions than adults.

Through a proper diagnosis the psychologist can help the child become empathic, expressive, and respectful in their expressions. This is recommended for children who have experienced trauma, abuse, family crisis, and those who have an illness, learning disability, depression, autism spectrum, and behavioral disorders.