The Different Types of Therapy and Their Benefits

4th March 2024
 minute read

Table of contents

Isn’t therapy just talking to someone?

While counselling often involves providing support and a listening ear, change-based therapies go a step further. Therapy, often misconceived as merely 'talking to someone', is a nuanced process that involves more than just conversation. Different therapeutic approaches also require the therapist to have specialist skills and training. 

Contemporary therapy is much more than simply talking — it can be highly dynamic and focused on what is causing an impact in the here-and-now (even if that involves looking back into the past for answers). It plays a critical role in maintaining and improving mental health, offering a structured and scientifically-backed approach to addressing psychological issues. 

Increasingly, it’s becoming more widely understood that therapy is not exclusively for those with severe mental health conditions — it benefits anyone seeking to understand themselves better and improve their overall wellbeing.

Therapies to help overcome trauma and process past experiences

People grappling with unresolved trauma or upsetting past experiences can often find that it affects their work performance. They might struggle with concentration, have heightened reactions to stress, have low self-confidence or face difficulties in interpersonal relationships. When something particularly disturbing has happened, they might repeatedly re-experience it through flashbacks or nightmares that affect the quality of their sleep.

When it comes to overcoming trauma and processing past experiences, therapies like Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Schema Therapy are exceptionally effective.


EMDR has been a revelation in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet it’s not just for people dealing with PTSD — it can also help when any past experience is continuing to influence reactions in the present. As outlined by Medical News Today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends EMDR for PTSD.

EMDR is a structured approach that involves the individual recalling distressing images while receiving one of several types of ‘bilateral sensory input’, such as side to side eye movements. This creates a safe and structured space for people to work through and release past trauma. EMDR has been shown to reduce the emotional impact of traumatic memories significantly.

Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy helps identify and reshape deep-rooted beliefs and behaviours, potentially stemming from unmet childhood needs. This can lead to improved self-esteem and decision making. It also helps people to break free from unhelpful patterns in their life, so that they can cope with stresses and difficulties better. Schema Therapy can also assist with addressing unhelpful behaviours in relationships, including working relationships.

Therapies to help build self-understanding and insight

Issues with self-understanding and insight can show up as a lack of confidence, difficulty in making decisions (or making unwise decisions), or repeating unhelpful patterns in the workplace and their personal life.

For those seeking self-understanding and insight, therapies like Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) and psychodynamic approaches are beneficial. 

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

CAT helps people to understand and modify unhelpful behaviour and relationship patterns. The therapist will work with the client to map these patterns out in diagrams, so that their origins are understood. Next, the therapist will support the client in developing skills to support more effective responses. 

For instance, a person who habitually responds defensively to feedback can, through CAT, come to understand the underlying reasons for such reactions and develop healthier, more constructive responses. This can make a big difference to how they respond to both informal and formal feedback at work.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic Therapy is a more exploratory approach. It focuses on increasing a person’s awareness and understanding of how past experiences — as well as subconscious thoughts and feelings — might be affecting their present behaviour. 

For example, a person with a pattern of sabotaging their success may discover through psychodynamic therapy that they carry an unconscious belief that they are unworthy of success. This belief might have been formed in early life.

Therapies to help develop coping strategies and skills

Employees can often face stress, anxiety or other mental health challenges that can impact their performance and job satisfaction. If they struggle to manage their emotional responses or lack skills in navigating conflict, this can also affect those around them.

There are a number of specialist therapies that are designed to equip individuals with effective coping strategies. They tend to be focused on the here-and-now with an emphasis on practising skills during and between sessions.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is highly effective in reducing anxiety and depression, as well as improving problem-solving skills. It works by changing a person’s thought patterns, which can in turn  alter their emotional responses and behaviours. 

For example, someone with social anxiety might learn to challenge and neutralise their fears of being judged negatively by others, reducing anxiety in social and work situations.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

DBT is particularly useful for emotional regulation, meaning it can help people to manage intense emotions at work. This includes teaching skills in mindfulness, coping with emotions and relating better with others.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT also incorporates mindfulness strategies. Essentially, it helps people to accept their thoughts and feelings rather than fighting them. This can be particularly empowering for individuals dealing with chronic pain or stress, plus It can also enhance focus and resilience in the workplace.

Therapies to help enhance relationships and social skills

Difficulty in managing relationships and social interactions at work can lead to conflicts, miscommunication and reduced team cohesion. Systemic therapy and other interpersonal-focused therapies can make a significant difference. 

Systemic Therapy

Systemic Therapy improves understanding of dynamics within group settings, such as teams at work. Systemic therapy views a person’s issues in the context of their relationships and social networks. For instance, in a workplace setting, systemic therapy can help individuals to understand and improve their interactions with colleagues and superiors. This leads to a more collaborative, communicative and productive work environment.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT provides a safe space for individuals to develop and practise social skills. They learn to communicate more effectively, give and receive feedback, and understand what’s happening in the minds of others. These are invaluable skills in both personal and professional relationships.

Therapies to help cultivate mindfulness and acceptance

In a high-pressure work environment, the ability to stay present and calmly accept challenging situations can be a game-changer. 

Mindfulness-based approaches like CFT and ACT are highly effective in this regard and play a crucial role in promoting mental wellbeing. These therapies teach individuals to be present in the moment, acknowledge their thoughts and feelings without judgement, and develop a compassionate understanding of themselves.

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)

In CFT, individuals learn to cultivate compassion towards themselves and others, which can be particularly beneficial for those with high levels of self-criticism and shame. It also helps to reduce paralysing self-criticism in work settings. 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT aligns actions with values, helping employees make decisions that are congruent with their professional and personal goals. This can lead to a more satisfying work life.

All of the above can be used to tackle issues that people commonly face, such as stress, anxiety and low mood. There is no one size fits all when it comes to therapy, meaning that different people will click with different approaches. That’s why Lumo therapists offer such a wide range of evidence-based therapies, as they can help with all sorts of issues and goals.

Therapy is a diverse and dynamic field, offering various paths to suit different needs. Whether it's healing from the past, building self-awareness, managing stress, improving relationships, or fostering mindfulness, there is a therapeutic approach that can help. 

Understanding different therapy options opens doors to effective support and to taking a journey toward lasting wellbeing. Knowing the difference between the various types of therapy can empower individuals to seek out the most appropriate form of support for them. This can lead to improved mental and emotional health, as well as better performance at work. Therapy is a journey of transformation that goes far beyond mere conversation, offering tools and strategies for a lifetime of resilience and personal growth.

The Different Types of Therapy and Their Benefits
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