Types of Therapy
There are many different types of therapy. While some are more common than others, it's most important to find a style that is a good fit for you. Here are a few types of therapy we use.
CBT & Mindfulness
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a practical, short-term form of therapy. It helps people to develop skills and strategies for becoming and staying healthy. CBT focuses on the here-and-now—on the problems that come up in day-to-day life. CBT helps people to examine how they make sense of what is happening around them and how these perceptions affect the way they feel. CBT:
is time-limited (usually 6-20 sessions)
is problem-focused and goal-oriented
teaches strategies and skills
is based on a proactive, shared therapeutic relationship between therapist and client
In CBT, clients learn to identify, question and change the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs related to the emotional and behavioural reactions that cause them difficulty.
By monitoring and recording thoughts during upsetting situations, people learn that how they think can contribute to emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.
CBT may be a good therapy option if you are interested in:
learning practical skills to manage your day-to-day life
practicing change strategies ("homework") between sessions to consolidate improvement.
CBT may not be for you if you want to focus exclusively on past issues or if you want supportive counselling.
Mindfulness is a conscious awareness of our present moment. The goal is to focus on observing and accepting thoughts without reacting or judging them. It’s often coupled with other types of therapy, such as Cognitive-based Therapy (CBT) to help reactions become less automatic. By increasing our awareness of thoughts, feelings, and actions that hinder our progress, we can engage with those aspects of ourselves, and choose how to respond.
Trauma is the lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event or series of related events. There's two types of trauma, single-incident trauma and complex trauma. Single-incident trauma, sometimes called “big T” trauma, is a single event that most people agree is traumatic, such as a car accident or sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one. Complex trauma, sometimes called “little t” trauma, is something that happens over time, and can be more difficult to identify, such as the neglect, abuse, stigma of living with a condition, racism, homophobia, or pandemic fatigue.
Experiencing a traumatic event can harm a person’s sense of safety, sense of self, and ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships. Long after the traumatic event occurs, people with trauma can often feel shame, helplessness, powerlessness and intense fear.
Trauma-informed care shifts the focus from what’s wrong with you to what happened to you. It recognizes that you are not what happened to you. A complete picture of your life situation — past and present — helps your therapist to provide effective services with a healing orientation. Utilizing a trauma-informed approach does not necessarily require disclosure of trauma. Rather, services are provided in ways that recognize the need for physical and emotional safety, as well as choice and control in decisions affecting one’s treatment. Trauma-informed practice is more about the overall essence of the approach, or way of being in the relationship, than a specific treatment strategy or method. A key aspect of trauma- informed services is to create an environment where service users do not experience further traumatization or re-traumatization.
There are 6 core principles of trauma-informed care:
Trustworthiness & Transparency
Humility & Responsiveness
Attachment theory is focused on the relationships and bonds between people, particularly long-term relationships, including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners.
Attachment is an emotional bond with another person. It's believed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their caregivers have a tremendous impact that continues throughout life. Significant romantic relationships can impact us similarly as well. There are some factors that can influence how and when attachments develop, including:
Opportunity for attachment: there must be someone present in a person's life to form an attachment to.
Quality caregiving: when someone we have a bond with responds quickly and consistently to our needs, we learn that we can depend on people, which is the essential foundation for attachment.
There are four attachment styles:
Anxious attachment: people with this attachment style are often anxious and uncertain, lacking in self-esteem. They crave emotional intimacy but worry that others don’t want to be with them.
Avoidant attachment: those with an avoidant attachment tend to have difficulty with intimacy and close relationships. These individuals do not invest much emotion in relationships and experience little distress when a relationship ends.
Disorganized attachment: The attachment bond may serve as both a source of comfort and fear, leading to disorganized or confusing behaviour like approaching and retreating.
Secure attachment: those who are securely attached tend to have high self-esteem, enjoy intimate relationships based on trust, seek out social support, and have an ability to share feelings with other people.
Intersectionality recognizes the multi-faceted and diverse identities we each embody, and the systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination that relate to them. Our identities can include gender, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, religion, age, ability/disability, and any other way we show up in the world. Your unique identity impacts your story and therapy needs.
Therapists also represent unique identities that may or may not overlap with yours, which is why intersectional feminist therapy uses a collaborative approach in which you are the expert of your own life. The therapist shows humility and curiosity around areas they’re unfamiliar with, while utilizing therapeutic tools to support you in your journey. If you prefer to work with someone who shares your identities, or our therapists are unable to provide you with the best care you need, we will be happy to make a referral at any time.
Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT) is future-focused, goal-directed, and focuses on solutions, rather than on the problems that brought clients to seek therapy. It's a short-term goal-focused evidence-based therapeutic approach, which incorporates positive psychology principles and practices, and which helps clients change by constructing solutions rather than focusing on problems.
You will develop solutions by first generating a detailed description of how your life will be different when the problem is gone or their situation improved to your satisfaction. Often this is done by identifying and exploring previous “exceptions” to problems, like times when you've successfully coped with or addressed previous difficulties and challenges. In a respectful and practical way, you and the therapist work together to identifying goals that reflect your best hopes and develop satisfying solutions.