Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is based on an information processing model. If you undergo a traumatic or stressful experience, your brain may not process information correctly. Instead, your negative feelings and distorted thoughts will be stored just as they were experienced during the event.
During EMDR therapy, you will be asked to recall these disturbing events while simultaneously focusing on external stimuli designed to help your brain reprocess the information correctly.
You can find EMDR being practiced in many settings, but it’s particularly popular in clinics that specialize in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias.
Humanistic therapy is an umbrella term for a wide variety of approaches. What they all have in common, however, is a rejection of scientific or medical models in favor of an emphasis on personal experience.
In client-centered therapy, you’ll have an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings in a warm, open, and nonjudgmental environment. By helping you gain insight, your therapist will give you the tools you need to promote your own growth.
Gestalt therapy holds that when you try to be someone you’re not, you get stuck and can’t change. Being honest about who you are and how you feel in the present moment, on the other hand, creates the right conditions for growth. By taking responsibility for yourself, you gain the power to change.
Existential therapy teaches that you alone make your own choices and create your own values. Existential therapists believe that this responsibility can create feelings of anxiety and loneliness, but that therapy can help you face these possibilities with a sense of freedom and power.
Humanistic therapy is found in many settings, and gestalt techniques are particularly popular in the group therapy format.
Because humanistic therapies are not time-limited and do not focus on gathering data or measuring outcomes, you may have difficulty convincing your insurance company or managed care organization to reimburse for these services.
Interpersonal therapy is a highly-structured therapeutic approach originally designed to treat depression, though it’s since been modified to help with a number of other problems.
This approach holds that psychological difficulties are the result of relationship problems and faulty patterns of communication.
Interpersonal therapy will help you focus on four areas: unresolved grief, role disputes, role transitions, and interpersonal deficits.
Because interpersonal therapy takes a medical view of psychological problems, you can typically find it being practiced in hospitals and clinics. Insurance companies and managed care organizations approve of this approach because it is time-limited.
Motivational interviewing will assist you in thinking through the consequences of your behaviors. By helping you see the gap between the life you’d like to live and the life you’re living right now, your therapist hopes to increase your sense of motivation and desire to change.
Motivational interviewing stresses your autonomy and respects the choices you make, even if they are self-destructive.
Motivational interviewing has been particularly successful in substance abuse counseling, but it can be found in other settings as well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jul 2009