It has been a while since the last time was writing about what I am working on right now. I am getting back to the idea of creating a personal health management assistant. As you probably could know from my previous posts (, I have already created a working prototype of the interface which could help you identify the connection between your thoughts (mental state) and your physical well-being. It was based on parapsychology and had no scientific background. Now it is time to continue my research of the question and learn more about the existing therapeutical methodologies to have a proper context for the future developments.

Let's start from the basics.

What are psychological therapies?

Psychological therapies are sometimes referred to as 'talking therapies'.

Talking therapies can help you work out how to deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes.

Types of psychological therapies

A theory of psychotherapy acts as a roadmap for psychologists: It guides them through the process of understanding clients and their problems and developing solutions.

Approaches to psychotherapy fall into five broad categories:

  • Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies. This approach focuses on changing problematic behaviours, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their unconscious meanings and motivations. Psychoanalytically oriented therapies are characterized by a close working partnership between therapist and patient. Patients learn about themselves by exploring their interactions in the therapeutic relationship. While psychoanalysis is closely identified with Sigmund Freud, it has been extended and modified since his early formulations.
  • Behaviour therapy. This approach focuses on learning's role in developing both normal and abnormal behaviours.
    • Ivan Pavlov made important contributions to behaviour therapy by discovering classical conditioning, or associative learning. Pavlov's famous dogs, for example, began drooling when they heard their dinner bell because they associated the sound with food.
    • "Desensitizing" is classical conditioning in action: A therapist might help a client with a phobia through repeated exposure to whatever it is that causes anxiety.
    • Another important thinker was E.L. Thorndike, who discovered operant conditioning. This type of learning relies on rewards and punishments to shape people's behaviour.
    • Several variations have developed since behaviour therapy's emergence in the 1950s. One variation is cognitive-behavioural therapy, which focuses on both thoughts and behaviours.
  • Cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy emphasizes what people think rather than what they do.
    • Cognitive therapists believe that it's dysfunctional thinking that leads to dysfunctional emotions or behaviours. By changing their thoughts, people can change how they feel and what they do.
    • Major figures in cognitive therapy include Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck.
  • Humanistic therapy. This approach emphasizes people's capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential. Concern and respect for others are also important themes.
    • Humanistic philosophers like Jean-Paul SartreMartin Buber and Søren Kierkegaard influenced this type of therapy.
    • Three types of humanistic therapy are especially influential. Client-centred therapy rejects the idea of therapists as authorities on their clients' inner experiences. Instead, therapists help clients change by emphasizing their concern, care and interest.
    • Gestalt therapy emphasizes what it calls "organismic holism," the importance of being aware of the here and now and accepting responsibility for yourself.
    • Existential therapy focuses on free will, self-determination and the search for meaning.
  • Integrative or holistic therapy. Many therapists don't tie themselves to any one approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each client's needs.

Another source on the types of talking therapies:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT aims to identify harmful thoughts, assess whether they are an accurate depiction of reality and if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.

I like that it works with the present rather than past experiences of a person. That makes it easier to conduct sessions without the physical presence of a therapist.

In addition to depression or anxiety disorders, CBT can also help people with:

CBT is also sometimes used to treat people with long-term health conditions, such as:

Although CBT can't cure the physical symptoms of these conditions, it can help people cope better with their symptoms.

CBT – Working System/Methodology:

Though CBT modules, therapists, modes may differ there are six common steps or phases in CBT interventions. They are:

  • Psychological assessment: The therapist would do an intensive assessment of your problems/symptoms, so that a correct diagnosis can be made.
  • Reconceptualization: After assessment and diagnosis, the therapist would help you to re-conceptualize your maladaptive, unhealthy or faulty thinking patterns, symptoms, etc.
  • Skills Acquisition: This is the phase where behavioral dimension of your life enters. In this phase the therapist would help you to acquire healthy behavior patterns so that you can deal effectively with your potential problems and symptoms. In this phase many symptoms also fade off.
  • Skills Consolidation and Application Training: After you have acquired all the necessary skills, it is important to put them in a definite framework for you, otherwise everything may just spill off. This phase imparts a definite shape and stability to your newly acquired skills.
  • Maintenance: Once skills are refined, developed and shaped maintaining them is also very necessary. If you won’t keep on practicing the acquired skills then everything you have learned in CBT sessions may just fade off. For long term stable effects of therapies it is very important that everything you learn in the CBT sessions are practiced and persevered.
  • Follow up: Even after your CBT sessions are over, usually your therapist won’t leave you alone. Follow ups are a regular routine to keep you intact and in touch with the therapies, to ensure your well-being and sound health.