Attachment-based therapy is based on a theory of parental-child attachment, which has been validated by research. Attachment theory describes four basic ways in which we as children learn to respond to our primary caregiver. We then take this “attachment style” into adulthood and relate to ourselves, others and the world based on these assumptions, which can be antiquated and no longer serve us.
Attachment-based therapy primarily works in two ways. First, the therapist endeavors to create a healthy attachment with the client that can serve as a model for other relationships. The therapist does this by being genuine, empathetic and trustworthy, among other things. This can also help the client heal old emotional wounds. Second, the therapist can help the client identify and question deeply-held assumptions. The client can then update these assumptions with a healthier model of the world that will better serve him or her.
Strength-based therapy focuses on a client’s internal strengths and resources, rather than weaknesses and deficits. Strength-based therapy can help a client build confidence, develop coping strategies and grow. Ideally, a client will use newfound skills and attitudes to develop an ability to handle future difficulties as they arise.
Strength-based therapy is talk therapy that guides the client toward a retelling of their personal history, stressors, and pain with more emphasis on themself as a survivor than as a victim, and more emphasis on their strengths and survival skills than on your weakness. The goal is for the therapist to help the client identify skills and strengths that they already have, and use those same strengths to deal with tough situations in other areas of their life.
While neurobiology-informed therapy is not a single established therapeutic modality, there has been an explosion of brain and nervous system research in recent years. Research has uncovered some of the physiological impacts of developmental trauma, traumatic incidents, mood disorders (depression, bi-polar, anxiety), addictions, and more.
With an understanding of the neurobiology of mental and emotional processes, a therapist can help a client “re-program” their brain and body. Research is starting to reveal techniques that therapists can use, such as empathetic self-talk and re-experiencing in safety, that can change neural pathways and psychological responses to lessen symptoms and pain.
Cognitive therapy is based on the concept that how we think about things impacts how we feel emotionally. By changing thoughts, we can change entrenched emotions, such as anxiety or depression. The goal isn’t to be continually positive, but to replace extreme thoughts with more realistic ones that we believe and will better serve us.
In the cognitive model, the therapist and client work collaboratively to identify and change unhelpful thinking that is leading to troubling emotional responses. This is done by first identifying troubling automatic thoughts, then creating replacements that more accurately reflect the client’s true beliefs, and finally shifting from the old to the new thoughts.
Nonviolent communication was not developed to be a therapy but it transfers well to therapeutic settings. Nonviolent communication is based on the premise that everything we say and do is to meet a “need” or value. When we experience an emotion, we can trace it to a met or unmet need, such as connection, safety or pleasure. For example, someone experiencing anxiety may have needs for emotional safety and/or belonging.
A therapist trained in NVC can enhance a client's self-awareness, empathy and self-empathy This occurs by helping a client translate his or her story into his or her underlying values. A new understanding of self can help clients deeply heal old wounds and shift their thoughts, feelings and actions in the future. A trained therapist can also teach a client helpful communication skills to use with others and in their own internal dialog, which can aid in self-connection, honest self-expression and connection.
Eugene Gendlin developed Focusing from a research study into why some individuals did not benefit from therapy. Gendlin came to be able to predict whether or not an individual would “succeed” in therapy. He realized the individuals who succeeded in therapy were those who paused and revisited unclear, vague, or difficult aspects of their experiences and history. When people in treatment spent time in therapy focusing on these things they could not at first put into words, they often eventually were able to achieve clarity on the issue and make changes as a result. Grounded in the person-centered approach to treatment, Focusing therapy holds that individuals possess within themselves the answers they are seeking and is founded on the concept that individuals know themselves better than a therapist could ever hope to. (excerpted from goodtherapy.org)
A therapist trained in Focusing helps a client identify problematic emotions, which may include numbness or lack of knowing their own emotions. The therapist then asks questions designed to gently guide the client in identifying, experiencing and exploring these “stuck” places in order to process them and integrate them in a useful way.
There are many different methods of somatic therapy. Recent research has shown that emotions are experienced physically by the body and the signals are relayed to the brain using the sense called interoception. Since there is information contained in these signals, somatic therapies are based on establishing and enhancing the self-connection clients have with their own emotional field.
Somatic therapists work with clients to identify bodily sensations and then use therapeutic techniques to release tension the body is holding. Techniques can include patterned breathing, sensation awareness, physical movement, voice work, massage (by a licensed therapist) and grounding exercises.
The foundation of person-centered therapy is that we each have within ourselves the capacity to understand those aspects that are causing pain, and the ability to “self-actualize” to achieve more comfort and freedom in life. This occurs by the therapist creating a psychological atmosphere that will allow the client to become their best version of themself, rather than keeping their preferred self as a potential. Carl Rogers, the founded of person-centered therapy, famously said, ““The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
There are three “core conditions” of a client-centered relationship that bring about positive change in clients. The therapist accepts the client and has positive regard for the client just as he or she is, demonstrating the client’s inherent worth. The therapist empathizes by being willing and able to understand the client’s world through the client’s eyes. The therapist also strives to be congruent, which is defined as authentic, genuine and real. By creating this holding environment of safety, acceptance and trust, the client can follow the very human drive toward growth.
The term mindfulness applies to a large number of modalities. At the root, each of them strives to help us become more aware of the present moment. Many also cultivate a “distance” so we can learn to be observers of our own experiences, including our thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness practices require long-term application in order to change neural pathways, which calms the nervous system and changes brain waves. Some of the empirically proven psychological benefits of mindfulness are: stress reduction, reduced rumination, improved memory, improved focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, greater relationship satisfaction, and enhanced self-insight. (apa.org)
There are many ways to achieve presence and physiological relaxation in the body. A trained therapist can suggest meditation, visualizations, relaxation techniques, massage, nature, spiritual experiences, or other methods. Only the client knows which methods will work given his or her individual temperament and history. If a client can discover a technique and integrate it into his or her life, they could become more calm, patient, contented and able to make use of talk therapy.