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What Type of Therapy Do I Need? (Part 2)

There are tons of mental health treatments out there, here is a list of a few that are commonly practiced by therapists.

An image of abstract shapes with the text that reads what type of therapy should I be looking for gautier behavioral health

Here is part 2 (part 1 can be found here) of a series on different types of therapy modalities out there, what they are used for, and what you might expect from the treatment. Like I said before, these descriptions are a general overview of the treatment and might not apply to every clinician's approach, even if they claim to be a "DBT/CBT/etc therapist" or something similar. Often you see clinicians pick skills from many modalities, that they weave into their sessions; however, knowing what all of these letters mean is still helpful to know when you begin your search for a therapist.

Graphic of airbrushed bubbles and stars with Acceptance and commitment therapy in text. Includes the description letting unhelpful thoughts float away


Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, or ACT, is therapy model founded in the belief that individuals should accept their negative emotions, rather than trying to avoid or change them. ACT aims to change the way you react to thoughts and feelings, encourages identifying and using your values to guide you, and emphasizes the benefit of mindfully engaging with life.

  • Best for: Depression, anxiety, chronic illness or pain, substance use, & other common complaints that lead people to seek treatment.

  • Ages: ACT is helpful for teens and adults.

  • Length of Care: Sessions typically occur once a week and last between 45-60 minutes. The length of care varies.

  • Notable Things: Here is a blog post that describes an ACT technique.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy uses self reflection and examination to explore problematic patterns in life and relationships. It aims to find the origins of someone's suffering and creates on going change that can impact someone for the rest of their life. This therapy uses the clinician/client relationship as a way to explore the client's past and feelings.

  • Best for: depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and personality disorders, to name a few

  • Ages: Psychodynamic therapy is helpful for adults.

  • Length of Care: This varies but can last months to years.

  • Notable Things: Many providers use this technique without realizing it, “When you look past therapy ‘brand names’ and look at what the effective therapists are actually doing, it turns out they are doing what psychodynamic therapists have always done—facilitating self-exploration, examining emotional blind spots, understanding relationship patterns.” Read more about it here.

Graphic of airbrushed eyeball and reprocessing trauma with eyemovement in text. Includes EMDR in glowing font


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR, is a therapy technique that helps individuals reprocess a traumatic experience. EMDR uses eye movement as a method of reducing the emotional charge of a memory by changing the way it is stored in the brain. This one can be hard to grasp, here is a little bit more about the modality.

  • Best for: PTSD

  • Ages: EMDR is helpful for adolescents, teens, and adults.

  • Length of Care: Treatment can last anywhere from 6 to 12 sessions.

  • Notable Things: Unlike the other two before this, and like prolonged exposure, EMDR must be done as it was designed to be effective and does not work if used only in "pieces". While many people do find EMDR helpful, there is some controversy surrounding the treatment and (like with all treatments) you should do some extra research before identifying what treatment you feel is best for you!

Curious about a certain modality or have more questions about the ones already listed? Let me know!


Nothing on this blog should be taken as replacement for medical, clinical, or professional advice or intervention. All content is for educational purposes only.


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