CBT: Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a way in which counselors help you to change the way you think which in turn leads to changes in the way you enact thereby leading you to change the outcome in certain situations so as to make it beneficial or healthy for you. CBT focuses on helping you understand what you think about yourself, the world and other people as well as explaining the link of how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings. CBT has been shown to help with many different types of problems like anxiety, depression, panic, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and psychosis. CBT focuses on identifying faulty patterns of thinking, and identify those who have a negative outlook towards situations. Thus, in stressful situations, individuals may tend to think that they cannot control their situation, and feel helpless and despaired, however, by changing the way one perceives and thinks of the situation, can greatly alter ones response to the stressful life event. Some common faulty patterns of thought are to believe that a situation is much worse that it really may be; believing they are the cause of negative events; focusing only on negative aspects of a situation or jumping to negative conclusions about the future. A counselor is trained to carefully observe and identify these faulty thought patterns, and can help individuals work to correct the way they think of, and respond to stressful situations.
REBT: Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) focuses on identifying any irrational beliefs that an individual may have, and work on eliminating them. Irrational beliefs about themselves or of others can be the cause of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It focuses on the link between ones beliefs, emotions and behaviors, and how effectively managing ones beliefs can bring about change in the other aspects of an individual’s life. REBT is based on the fundamental concept that as human beings, we may have certain assumptions that we make (for e.g. ‘everyone should love me’). These assumptions may be unrealistic and improbable and highly idealistic. Well-adjusted individuals are able to recognize that these assumptions are impossible to turn into reality, and would be able to deal with the consequences of the fact that not all ideal assumptions of life can be true. However, when a person clings on to the belief that something ‘must’ or ‘has to’ happen as expected, and is unable to deal with it when ones assumptions are not met, it causes unhappiness and disappointment. Thus their emotions get affected by their irrational beliefs. Once in a negative frame of mind, their behaviors and actions also tend to be influenced negatively. Hence, it is the task of the counselor to identify the irrational beliefs that an individual has, and work to dispute it; i.e. help the client understand that his or her beliefs are unrealistic, and that it is possible to lead a happy life despite their expectations not being met.
Play therapy: Commonly used with children, play therapy can be used as a non-threatening and fun way to help deal with issues of a child. Play therapy is commonly used at two levels, i.e. a diagnosis level as well as a treatment alternative. A counselor can observe the play patterns of a child to identify any fundamental issues that the child may have. Since playing is an extremely important aspect of a childs life, using this medium to appeal to their psyche can be highly effective. By observing what it is that a child chooses to play with, how much time he focuses on playing with one thing, the way on which he treats toys, all of them can provide valuable insight to a counselor. Play therapy can also be effectively used as a treatment option. Once the counselor is aware of what an issue is, and how to tackle it, using play therapy may be a more engaging alternative for children rather than talking about it. A counselor ‘plays’ with the child in a particular way, or tells a meaningful story relevant to the child or shapes the behavior of a child in the desired fashion with the help of toys and tools.
Arts based therapy: Arts based therapies involve the use of various art forms like drawing and painting, music or dance. Generally used with children, these techniques may be applied to adults as well to help them deal with stress or addictions. In the case of children, arts based techniques can greatly help their development and enhance their fine motor skills, improve memory as well as perceptual skills. Children are naturally creative and it may be a lot easier for a child to be able to express himself or herself through a drawing. Art alternatives offer a safe environment for children to deal with threatening issues that are a cause of stress and anxiety for a child. This is particularly true for young children who generally have limited vocabularies. Talking to the children about their drawings or paintings and helping them interpret the art can provide therapists with the opening they need to get at the heart of the problems affecting their young patients. There is no formula or general approach of art therapy that can be applied to a child, rather it is the task of a counselor to assess the needs of each child and formulate a plan that would be most effective and suitable for that child. Thus, the approach of a counselor is tailor made and unique based on the circumstances and issues of every child.
Marital Therapy: Marital counseling is particularly useful for couples who face problems in their marital or sexual relationships, and the counselor helps couples realize their problems and improve their relationships. Couples can gain tremendous insight on how to rebuild their relationship and how to avoid making the same errors in interacting with their partners. Usually, both partners are advised to meet the counselor together; however in some cases, the counselor may request to meet each individual alone. Couples learn interpersonal and communication skills, which is usually the cause for most marital issues. Couples also learn to manage their different roles in the family – i.e. as that of a husband as well as of a son as well as of a father – and how to successfully manage each role without pressurizing the marital relationship. Issues that can be resolved through marital counseling can be – having unrealistic expectations out of ones partner; differences on how to manage financial resources, cultural issues; issues with other family members, and many others. Couples learn to forgive one another for their failings and accept each other as well as their problems, and are taught how to resolve their issues.
Group therapy: Group therapy offers clients an effective way to explore their feelings and seek help while at the same time provide help and nurturance to other members of a group thus enabling their holistic growth, making group therapy different and more enriching in some aspects when compared to individual therapy. While group therapy may not be an ideal solution for all clients, within group therapy itself there are types of groups that offer different therapeutic purposes and hence depending on the needs of a client, he or she can be advised to join a group that is suitable to him or her. Two prominent types of groups are Support groups and Process-Oriented groups. Support groups are organizations of people who share a common disorder, like depression or anxiety, and who meet together to discuss their experiences, share ideas, and provide emotional support for one another. Usually a support group is led by a member who has had some training in facilitating group discussions. Support groups include discussions on topics of interest and sharing of information, resources and experiences. A process – oriented therapy group emphasizes personal growth and interpersonal learning. Process – oriented groups, whether time – limited or on – going, are for patients who often get stuck in maladaptive ways of functioning which leads them to feel depressed, unfulfilled, anxious, and lonely. They want to improve or build new relationships that are deep and meaningful. Process – oriented therapy are usually theme focused (e.g., depression, parents of children with learning disabilities, etc.).