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When going to a psychologist, it's important to have a basic idea of what type of intervention or treatment you think would work best for you.
A psychologist can help you decide, but a little research will help you be more prepared and knowledgeable on at least a few types of therapies that exist, and what you're most comfortable with.
For example, even if you go to a doctor there might be different approaches - one might prescribe typical medication and the other might only prescribe alternative or homeopathic medicine or even suggest that medication should be avoided. It's similar with psychologists - they have different techniques for helping people.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one common intervention psychologists use.
“It’s one of the evidence-based therapies … particularly for helping people with anxiety and depression," said Elizabeth Jerison Terry, a psychologist in California.
Most therapies are supposed to have similar features, including the role of the therapist as an expert, "the release of emotions," a decrease in anxiety, and a relationship of trust with the therapist, according to a clinical psychology textbook. However, there are certain differences in each type of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy.
"You set goals with your clients, there’s homework, it’s a very structured kind of therapy,” Terry said.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is considered a faster and briefer type of therapy, according to the website of the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists. There is research to prove its effectiveness as well.
“It’s much more focused on [how your cognitions affect your behaviors], how you can change your cognitions and that can change your emotions … It’s focused on how the things that you think affect how you feel and how you act," Terry said. "You’re kind of taught to evaluate your automatic thoughts and then counter them with thoughts that can help you … be more realistic in your thinking and feel better."
Another type of therapy is the psychodynamic approach.