Just like it sounds, individual therapy is one-to-one work between
client and therapist. Individual therapy is probably the most
common mode of therapy and is often used in combination with other
approaches such as couples therapy or group therapy. Individuals
come to therapy for a wide range of reasons including life changes,
losses, psychological injury, or for a particular disorder such as
anxiety or depression. Some people simply want the supportive
environment of an unbiased third party, some people want help in
pursuing meaningful life direction. Within the framework of
individual therapy, your psychotherapist can use techniques from one or
a variety of theoretical orientations. Particular therapeutic
approaches will vary depending on the therapist, the nature of the need
for therapy, and whether the client is a child, adolescent, or adult.
Couples therapy is primarily for primary partners in or out of marriage,
but can include business partners or co-workers. Couples therapy
is most often used when two people have a need to address an incident or
problem that has created stress in their relationship. However, it
can also be used to improve satisfactory relationships by deepening
mutual understanding. Couples therapy may also be used as
"pre-marital" to help define the relationship, clarify the level of
commitment or address preventive concerns. Couples may enter
therapy to address the decision of whether to remain together as a
couple or to separate and can also be helpful after a decision to
separate has been made. Couples therapy for separating parents can
be particularly helpful in making the transition from primary partners
to co-parents and minimize the discord over which children can be
The focus usually addresses expectations, relationship patterns,
communication dynamics, and issues related to problem-solving.
Sometimes a couple's psychotherapist sees the partners individually,
especially when it is important to address childhood issues that are
impacting the relationship.
Family therapy involves two or more members of a family (couples therapy
is technically a subset of family therapy). Family therapy is best
used when there is a need to address problems or issues that affect
family functioning when one or more family members are affected.
While family therapists employ a variety of treatment approaches, family
therapy is consistent in emphasizing the entire family as a unit.
This approach to therapy focuses more on inter-relational issues than on
an individual's internal concerns.
Therapy groups can be organized around specific problems such as anxiety
problems, sexual abuse, or eating disorders. They also can be
organized according to the type of client, such as adolescents, men,
women, couples or parents. Groups can help lessen members'
sense of isolation, provide support around a particular issue, and/or
enhance relationships. Group therapy can be effective as a primary
therapy or as an adjunct to other types of therapy. It can also be
a more economical mode of therapy than individual therapy.
Lead by one or two trained therapists, group therapy offers an
environment in which members learn and safely practice new ways of
thinking, feeling and relating to others. In general,
therapy groups explore difficulties in interpersonal situations which
help clients focus on significant relationships and receive feedback
from other group members about their interactional patterns.