Types of Therapy

Selecting a therapist can be very personal, or might be more dependent on who is nearby or who accepts your health insurance.   There are a huge variety of therapy styles.  I’ll mention just a few different approaches here, but please keep in mind that how you feel about the individual, as well as convenience and cost, can be just as important to consider.  Some therapists incorporate multiple approaches.

MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy This type of therapy may be available as early as 2021, pending FDA approval. This type of therapy is proving to be highly effective for curing PTSD. Visit MAPS.org for the latest news and information.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) (see also Key 1) is based on the idea that each one of us (not just survivors!) is made up of multiple “parts,” which are like sub-personalities, led by a central Self.  Childhood sexual abuse sends our parts in all different directions and messes up the system.  The work is to look at these (predictable) patterns of how it’s messed up and compassionately bring our parts together.

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is based on the work of Peter Levine, who observed that animals in the wild don’t get traumatized – they discharge energy after trauma by spontaneously shaking. The work is to help you release traumatic shock from your body.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on dysfunctional thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.  The work is to change these thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically created for treatment of depression.  It’s based on CBT, but adds mindfulness and meditation as strategies.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on acceptance of what’s out of your personal control, and commitment to action.  It also incorporates mindfulness techniques, and aims to change behavior.

Equine-Assisted Therapy – because sometimes it’s just easier to connect with a horse than a  person – though there is also a therapist present.  Horses react to our actions and our emotions.  They don’t judge us for our past, but instead expect us to be present.  How we interact with them can teach us about ourselves.

Gestalt Therapy focuses on present-moment experience and personal responsibility for the present.  The work is to free your present self to be more alive.

Group Therapy usually consists of a moderator who may or may not be a trained therapist, and, of course, the other group members.  The idea is to share, support, console, empathize, etc. with others who are on the same kind of healing journey.