types of therapy

What are the different types of therapy?

In this post I will explore the different types of therapy that are on offer in the UK and what they represent. I have created 4 groups to differentiate between the style/philosophy which each cluster represents.

Humanistic/Existential Therapy

This branch of therapy is differentiated from the other because of its philosophical stance. Humanistic therapy is based upon the core belief that each person is the expert of their own lives and that therefore it should be the individual to steer and direct the therapeutic journey. Let’s look at some of the more common types:


Existential therapy focus more on life’s big questions: death, searching for meaning, anxiety, isolation, freedom and choice/responsibility. This does not just look like abstract philosophical talk, but it relies upon the client’s personal experiences of their everyday life (phenomenology).


Person-centred is what it says on the tin. Developed by Carl Rogers in the 1950s, this approach believes that each client deserves: unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence. The client is in charge.


Integrative therapy is a mix of different approaches and methods. Unlike eclectic types of therapy, integrative psychotherapist will have created their own unique approach in the way they do therapy.

Creative therapy

Creative therapy can vary in its form: you can find play therapy, dance therapy, art therapy and many more. This type of therapy is geared towards those who find it easier to express themselves creatively.


Gestalt therapy was developed by Fritz Perls in the 1950s. Perls believes that the individual should be considered as a whole, with their environment and current situation taken into consideration.

Transpersonal therapy

Transpersonal therapy focuses on spirituality.



Psychoanalysis is the grandpa of all types of therapy. It’s all about the unconscious, interpretations and Oedipal complexes (definitely a product of its time, not very feminist-friendly, but don’t rule it out!)


Psychodynamic therapy is a more modern take on psychoanalysis and it integrates attachment theory and object relations.

Adlerian and Jungian

“Adlerian counsellors believe our experiences in early life, particularly within our families, affect the way we see the world and react to events. Even if we are not aware of them, the logic and goals we develop as children still govern our behaviour when we are adults” (from the BACP website). Jungian therapist focus on Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious, archetypes and dream interpretation.



CBT stands for Cognitive-Behavioural therapy and it’s a very pragmatic approach. Your therapist might give you hands on ‘homework’ to do after your sessions and will focus on changing the way you think about yourself and the world.


Behavioural therapy focuses on reprogramming your learned behaviours.

Brief solution-focused therapy

Again, what it says on the can.



EMDR stands for Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing. You can find out more here, it’s fascinating.

Family or couples therapy

Sometimes your problems might be shared with family members or partners and all concerned parties might benefit from a safe space where issues can be dealt with. Make sure all are onboard first!

Sex therapy

If your problems are in the bedroom and you sense that they might not be solved by taking a pill, you might find it useful to speak to a sex therapist.

I hope this list was helpful and that it has given you a better idea of what’s available out there. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or if there is something I haven’t mentioned (there will be!).

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