A consumer’s guide to types of psychotherapy

bullet waves 8 grey-blue orange img030_crSchools of therapy and life-healing – a consumer guide

I started to write a description of the methods which I use or have been influenced by, and from there it grew to be an overview of a good many of the commonly known types of therapy.

This page isn’t complete. I’ll be adding more sections later.

Good therapists, not good therapies

When it comes to life-wide change and life healing, my sense of what’s real and what works is based on my own journey of 35 years wide-ranging experience of the world of meditation and personal development. (I’ve experienced a hundred different approaches, the bad as well as the good.) So I’ve reviewed these various schools of psychotherapy from that perspective. I’ve aimed to be fair, but I’ve not tried to be neutral, and this is meant to illustrate my personal viewpoint.  I hold very clear values about psychotherapy: that it should be not technical or clinical, but loving, safe and respectful and if needs be, challenging; connect with both practical everyday life and if needed with inner core emotions; meet and see the strength and the beauty of the whole shining person, not just “someone with a problem”. Other people  have completely different opinions.

In my view, all schools have something good to offer, but most are on their own only part of the story. I use six or eight different methods at different times, and I wouldn’t be without any of them. There are endless dozens more therapies, some excellent; but in the end I don’t think there are good therapies: rather, there are good psychotherapists. And each good therapist uses one or many of this enormous range of methods  which suits that particular therapist.

Many schools, but few principles

Also, there there aren’t so many dozens of essentially different therapies. Rather, there is a much smaller number of underlying healing methods which the many dozens of  therapies draw on in different combination. Indeed nowadays there are therapies which are brought into existence rather artificially in order to have a specific delimited protocol of methods suitable for academic research.

  • Solution-oriented therapy - Solution-oriented brief therapy (SOBT) is a less-famous cousin to CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy), proved by research to be as successful as CBT but in half the time. It has an inspiring and empowering worldview of human nature and I'm a big fan.
  • Family Constellation Work - Did your parents divorce? Did your mother, before you were born, have an abortion? Did your grandfather risk death or kill the enemy face to face in WWII? Any of those things may well be the most important event in your own life.
  • Meditation and mindfulness in therapy - The spirit meditation of meditation ("mindfulness") is basic to how I help people. The Western understanding of meditation is often confused – even by many people who write books about it.
  • Carl Rogers client-centred therapy - Pioneer US therapist Carl Rogers work greatly touched my own life. A great therapist and a beautiful human being. Rogers made the then-bold step of dropping all techniques and psychological theory from his work.
  • NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) - NLP is a valuable toolkit with lots of unique plusses, including a creative set of techniques, and a masterful way with words. But as an in-depth life healing tool, it is in my view, like CBT, unaware of its limitations.
  • Life coaching - Life coaching is a vigorously action-oriented personal development tool aimed at accountability and achieving goals. It has great strengths, but, as a psychotherapy, limitations.
  • Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing - Focusing is another of my favourite therapies. It teaches you how to tune into your body and sense how you are feeling. (That’s feeling in the sense “I feel restless” rather than “I feel global warming is a major problem.”) It is a wonderful therapy.
  • Past Life Healing - I don't care whether past lives are "real" or not. The healing that results is very real.
  • CBT (Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy) – a critique - Human life is about joy, discovery, courage, truth, adventure, love, spirituality, following the inner voice, commitment, sex, passion, joy and fun. These are not words you would find in a CBT textbook.
  • CBT – what “evidence based” really means - It is "scientifically irresponsible to imply that CBT is more effective than other therapies," according to Professors Mick Cooper and Robert Elliott, William B Stiles and Art Bohart.
  • Human Givens – a therapy without a heart? - Human Givens therapy is a rich eclectic toolkit of techniques from various types of therapy which have been validated by academic research. However, I can't find it in myself to fall in love with this work.
  • All about hypnosis - Hypnosis is a wonderful - there's no other word - natural talent of the human mind which is extremely useful in therapy and healing. Basically, it is a combination of imagination and relaxation.

What my clients say

You are really, really a very kind person. Thank you for your effort and advice in helping me!

I was never convinced counselling would work. But your approach and your ability to use different methods to suit individual needs has truly changed me on a deep level.

The very first session I had with him was so helpful and powerful that I recommended him to two other people straightaway.

Andrew works gently and safely and I felt held in a safe space throughout the session.

I have made some major breakthroughs in sessions with you.

I was blown away by your insightful and transformative approach.

A different approach from other therapists I have seen before, so that I have finally solved my problem.

More happened in the first session I had with you than in 4 or 5 sessions with a counsellor.

[Your hypnosis] was remarkably effective and entirely different and tailor-made for my individual needs and experiences. Thank you!!!

Although counselling was new territory for me, it was invaluable and worth every penny.

Had a massive effect on my relationship. Learned loads of really good stuff – surpassed my expectations.

Andrew is one of the best therapists I have ever worked with. If you want to make a breakthrough with an issue in your life or relationship, I highly recommend…

I have made some incredible progress and I am now in an intimate and happy relationship thanks to your help.