Do you want to become a psychotherapist? This blog will provide you with 40+ therapeutic modalities to help you decide which training to participate in. Some are standalone in-depth psychotherapy trainings, others are techniques that are included in core psychotherapy courses OR available as continued professional development (CPD) to add to your existing psychotherapy discipline.
Choosing to become a psychotherapist is no small decision. It’s a path that requires a significant investment of time (anywhere between 4-8 years depending on how long it takes you to complete your client hours), emotional and mental energy, and money. Yet, it’s not just a career; it’s a calling, a vocation that goes beyond a job. The journey to become a psychotherapist is deeply rooted in a passion for helping others navigate deep relationship with self and others, and the intricate labyrinth of the human body, feelings, mind and soul.
As you embark on the transformative journey that is a psychotherapy training, the first and most crucial step is selecting the therapeutic modality that resonates with you. The world of psychotherapy offers a rich tapestry of therapeutic approaches, each with its unique philosophy, techniques, and methodologies. These therapeutic modalities serve as your guiding light, shaping your practice, and allowing you to make a profound impact not only on the lives of your clients but on your own life (as a psychotherapy training will require you to significantly participate in your own therapy. If you are adverse to participating in your own psychotherapy, it is probably not the right career for you).
In this blog post, I’ve compiled a list of 40+ therapeutic modalities to help you explore and discover some different styles of therapy/and or therapeutic techniques. Some of these modalities are stand alone as complete psychotherapy trainings, while others are techniques to enhance a foundational degree in counselling, psychotherapy, a combined counselling and psychotherapy degree or as continued professional development for all professionals.
Increasingly, practitioners are coming to the field of psychotherapy from diverse educational backgrounds, for example, social work or psychology. I encourage anyone considering pursuing psychotherapy training to explore a Degree in Psychotherapy (AQF7), a Graduate Diploma of Psychotherapy (AQF8), or a Master’s of Psychotherapy (AQF9) in your chosen modality, if it is available. You can find the full list of AQF qualification explanations here. My reasoning for this is that the Australian Government has suggested to PACFA and ACA 3 years ago, that they see AQF7 and above as the minimum standard. For more information on this, you can watch Johanna de Wever discuss here.
The title of ‘Psychotherapist’, can be used by anyone in Australia, so to gain your Registered Clinical Psychotherapist®️ status, which is a trademarked title by The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, your course will need to meet the PACFA College of Psychotherapy RCP Application Guidelines. There is a list of PACFA accredited specialist courses on their website, however, other non-accredited courses might also be approved as long as you meet all of the College requirements.
Your journey to becoming a psychotherapist is as unique as the clients you will serve. Let this list of therapeutic modalities be your compass as you navigate the vast and rewarding landscape of psychotherapy. Which one is calling you?
Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)
Diana Fosha developed Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) as a therapeutic approach that promotes emotional transformation through harnessing the power of positive emotional experiences. AEDP focuses on exploring and processing deep-seated emotions, including trauma and attachment wounds, while cultivating emotional resilience and well-being. This modality is effective for individuals who seek a transformative and growth-oriented therapeutic experience. This training is typically taken by qualified psychotherapists as continued professional development (CPD).
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, developed from elements of Psychosynthesis by Steven C. Hayes, that combines mindfulness and behavioral approaches to promote psychological flexibility and acceptance. ACT emphasises accepting one’s thoughts and emotions rather than struggling against them. It encourages individuals to identify their values and commit to taking action in line with those values, even in the presence of discomfort. ACT is especially effective for those struggling with anxiety, depression, and trauma, as it helps individuals become more open, aware, and engaged with their emotions and experiences. This training is typically provided as continued professional development (CPD) to psychotherapists and my preferred training is with Russ Harris.
Therapists like Boris Levinson introduced animal-assisted therapy, which leverages the calming presence of animals to aid individuals in therapy. This modality often involves interactions with trained therapy animals, such as dogs or horses, to promote emotional healing and well-being. Animal-assisted therapy is particularly beneficial for individuals who may feel more comfortable and supported in the presence of animals and those dealing with emotional issues, including trauma, anxiety, and depression. This training can be a stand alone psychotherapy training, such as the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy accredited by PACFA or as continued professional development (CPD) for psychotherapists.
Art therapy, introduced by pioneers such as Adrian Hill, Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer, uses artistic expression to facilitate healing, self-discovery, and emotional release. Art therapy doesn’t require artistic skill; instead, it focuses on the process of creation and the emotions and thoughts that emerge during the art-making process.
Creative Arts Therapists are mental health professionals who use art, media and the creative process (drawing, writing, sculpting, drama, clay, sand, dance and movement) to facilitate the exploration of feelings, improve self-awareness and reduce anxiety for clients. Creative processes can be a way for clients to explore and express feelings that may be hard to put into words and to find new pathways to healing. A Creative Arts Therapy session is therefore quite different to an art class or lesson. ANZACATA has a range of courses in Art Therapy and Creative Art Therapies, including Master’s level training.
Art Therapy training can be a stand alone psychotherapy training or as continued professional development (CPD). Note that if you are not formally training in a classic art therapy psychotherapy training, you cannot call yourself an Art Therapist.
Informed by John Bowlby’s attachment theory, attachment-based therapy explores the impact of early relationships on an individual’s emotional health and well-being. This approach focuses on understanding and improving attachment patterns, whether they are secure, anxious, or avoidant. By recognising how attachment styles influence relationships and emotional responses, individuals can work toward more secure and satisfying connections with others. Attachment-Based Therapy tends to be included in stand alone depth-psychotherapy trainings such as Psychosynthesis, Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic but can also be delivered as continued professional development (CPD) to psychotherapists of other disciplines.
Bibliotherapy is a unique form of therapy that uses literature as a means to promote self-reflection, understanding, and emotional healing. This therapeutic approach allows individuals to engage with written works, such as novels, poetry, or self-help books, to gain insights and perspective on their own life experiences. Bibliotherapy encourages individuals to explore and process their emotions through reading. It is particularly useful for those who find comfort and resonance in books, literature, and the power of storytelling. Anyone can train in Bibliotherapy so these trainings are delivered as CPD to already trained psychotherapists.
Developed by David Grand, Brainspotting is an innovative technique that focuses on eye positions to identify and process trauma and emotional blockages. It posits that eye movements are connected to the brain’s processing of traumatic memories. By guiding individuals to focus on specific eye positions while recalling traumatic experiences, Brainspotting helps access and heal deep emotional wounds. Brainspotting is particularly effective for trauma survivors with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related conditions. Brainspotting is offered by CPD to already trained psychotherapists.
Buddhist psychotherapy is a holistic and contemplative approach to mental health and well-being that draws wisdom from Buddhist philosophy and psychology. Rooted in the principles of mindfulness, compassion, and interconnectedness, this modality seeks to alleviate suffering by addressing the root causes of emotional distress and mental imbalances. It emphasises the cultivation of self-awareness, insight, and acceptance, enabling individuals to better understand their thoughts and emotions. The integration of Buddhist practices, such as meditation and mindfulness, with Western psychological techniques, offers a unique and effective method for managing stress, anxiety, and emotional pain. Buddhist psychotherapy encourages individuals to explore the nature of suffering and the impermanence of life, guiding them toward a path of self-discovery, resilience, and inner peace. This training is offered as a standalone, such as through the AABCAP, accredited by PACFA and via continued professional development evenings for psychotherapists wishing to incorporate Buddhist thought and techniques.
Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Child psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a specialised form of therapy that focuses on understanding and treating psychological issues in children. This approach delves into the child’s inner world and seeks to uncover unconscious thoughts and emotions that may be influencing their behavior and emotional well-being. Pioneers like Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, and Anna Freud have shaped the way we approach child therapy and have provided valuable insights into the development and treatment of children’s emotional and psychological challenges. Their work has had a profound impact on the practice of child psychoanalytic psychotherapy and continues to influence the field today. The Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association of Australia and the Institute for Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy have trainings available in Australia.
Cinema therapy, also known as movie therapy, uses films and discussions to explore emotions, thoughts, and life challenges. This therapeutic approach allows individuals to engage with films that resonate with their experiences, providing a unique perspective on their own emotions and situations. Cinema therapy encourages individuals to explore and process their emotions through the lens of storytelling and cinematic art. It can be highly effective for those who find solace and insight in the narratives and characters of movies. Anyone can train in Cinema Therapy so these trainings are delivered as CPD to enhance your existing discipline.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, founded by Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis, is a widely practiced therapeutic technique that focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns. CBT helps individuals change their behaviors and improve their mental health by addressing and modifying dysfunctional beliefs and cognitive distortions. CBT is evidence-based and effective for various mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It equips individuals with practical skills to manage their emotions and thoughts, making it one of the most well-established and versatile therapeutic modalities. Most psychology degrees include modules on CBT and there are many CPD offerings for psychotherapists.
Paul Gilbert introduced Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), which emphasises the cultivation of self-compassion to alleviate suffering and foster emotional well-being. CFT recognises that self-criticism and a lack of self-compassion can contribute to emotional distress. This therapy helps individuals develop self-compassion and engage with their emotions and experiences from a place of kindness and understanding. It is particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with self-judgment and self-criticism. Compassion Focused Therapy is often included in Psychospiritual and Buddhist psychotherapy trainings and as CPD.
Culturally Informed Trauma Integrated Healing Approach
A Culturally Informed, Trauma Integrated Healing Approach (CITIHA) is a strengths-based service delivery model that is rooted in an understanding of, and responsiveness to the impact of trauma on culture and community that emphasises physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both the clients and therapists. This training is offered as continued professional development for those already trained in psychotherapy. We-Al Li offers programs that are informed by the stories of Aboriginal Australians and utilise traditional Indigenous healing work combined with a western trauma informed and trauma specific approach to individual, family and community recovery.
Marian Chace and Mary Whitehouse were influential in the development of dance/movement therapy, a holistic approach that utilises movement and dance to promote emotional and psychological well-being. This modality recognises the profound connection between the body and mind, allowing individuals to access and express deep-seated emotions and experiences through movement. Dance/movement therapy is particularly useful for those who find it challenging to express themselves verbally and benefit from a more somatic approach to therapy. The Dance Movement Therapy Association has more information on training levels and offerings.
Ecotherapy, sometimes referred to as nature therapy or green therapy, connects individuals with nature to improve mental health. Ecotherapy recognises the healing power of the natural world and encourages individuals to engage in outdoor activities, mindfulness in natural settings, and other nature-based practices. This approach is highly beneficial for individuals who find solace, inspiration, and healing in the great outdoors and wish to foster a deeper connection with nature as a source of emotional well-being. Although ecotherapy does not have a single founder, Howard Clinebell is a notable figure associated with the field. Anyone can train in Ecotherapy, such as park rangers, environmentalists, and therapists, so these trainings are delivered as CPD.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotionally Focused Therapy, developed by Sue Johnson, is a structured approach to couples and family therapy. It is grounded in attachment theory and seeks to improve emotional bonds within relationships. EFT focuses on helping individuals understand their attachment needs and how unmet emotional needs can lead to relationship conflicts. By identifying and addressing attachment patterns, EFT can heal and strengthen relationships, making it a powerful modality for couples and families facing challenges such as communication issues, infidelity, and emotional distance. This training is run as CPD.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Gary Craig popularised Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a therapeutic method that combines elements of acupressure and psychology. EFT involves tapping on specific points on the body while focusing on emotional issues and thoughts to alleviate emotional distress. This modality can be highly effective for individuals who seek a practical and self-help-oriented approach to managing and relieving emotional issues. EFT is offered as continued professional development for existing psychotherapists.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR):
EMDR is a technique developed in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro. It employs a unique approach involving bilateral stimulation to help individuals process traumatic memories. EMDR’s eight-phase process guides individuals through reprocessing distressing experiences, making it particularly effective in treating PTSD and other conditions like anxiety, depression, and phobias. This therapy promotes healing and empowerment by desensitising and reprocessing the emotional impact of trauma. This technique is not a psychotherapy training, rather, a technique offered as continued professional development to therapists.
Existential therapy, associated with Viktor Frankl, Rollo May and Irvin D. Yalom, explores fundamental aspects of human existence, such as purpose, meaning, freedom, and responsibility. It encourages individuals to confront existential issues and life’s uncertainties while finding their unique path to meaning and fulfillment. Existential therapy doesn’t provide ready-made answers but empowers individuals to make choices and live authentically. It’s particularly beneficial for those who seek to explore their life’s purpose and embrace their individuality in the face of existential concerns. The Centre for Existential Practice runs standalone psychotherapy trainings and CPD workshops.
Bert Hellinger developed family constellations, a therapeutic approach that uncovers family dynamics and their influence on an individual’s life. This technique often involves participants setting up physical representations of family members to explore and address unresolved issues, conflicts, and entanglements within family systems. Family constellations are particularly beneficial for individuals looking to better understand and heal from familial issues and traumas. Family Constellations is offered as continued professional development for psychotherapists. Maria Dolenc runs CPD trainings throughout the year.
Gestalt therapy, pioneered by Fritz and Laura Perls, is an experiential and humanistic approach to therapy. It focuses on personal responsibility, self-awareness, and the integration of the whole self. The term “Gestalt” means “whole” or “pattern,” emphasising the importance of understanding how our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors fit together in a coherent and holistic manner. In Gestalt therapy, clients are encouraged to explore their present experiences and emotions, seeking resolution and acceptance. This modality can be especially effective for individuals looking to understand and embrace their feelings and needs in the present moment. Gestalt psychotherapy is a standalone training such as the Relational Gestalt offering accredited by PACFA.
Ron Kurtz founded Hakomi therapy, a body-centered approach that blends mindfulness with experiential techniques to facilitate emotional healing and self-awareness. Hakomi therapy explores the body’s physical and emotional sensations to access deeply held beliefs and experiences. It is particularly effective for individuals seeking a holistic approach that integrates the body and mind in their healing process. Hakomi psychotherapy training is offered here.
Heart-centered therapy is a broad therapeutic approach that focuses on fostering love, compassion, and heart-based healing. This modality encourages individuals to connect with their hearts and explore their feelings and emotions from a place of love and empathy. Heart-centered therapy is beneficial for those who seek to enhance their emotional well-being by embracing their hearts as a source of healing and connection. This training is offered to already trained psychotherapists as CPD.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
Developed by Myrna Weissman and Gerald Klerman, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited, evidence-based therapy that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and addressing mood disorders. IPT recognises the impact of life events, including grief, role transitions, interpersonal disputes, and interpersonal deficits, on an individual’s emotional well-being. By examining and improving these areas, IPT helps individuals alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, making it a highly effective treatment for those seeking to enhance their interpersonal skills and emotional health. IPT is offered as a module in many psychology degrees and as continued professional development for all therapists.
Integrative therapy is an approach that combines various therapeutic techniques and modalities to tailor treatment to the individual’s unique needs. Therapists who practice integrative therapy draw from a range of theoretical perspectives and methods to create a customised and comprehensive treatment plan. This modality is particularly useful for individuals with complex or multifaceted concerns that may benefit from a blend of therapeutic approaches. Integrative Psychotherapy training is widely offered overseas as a complete psychotherapy training. As therapists add 20 hours of CPD a year, many describe themselves as Integrative. Some generalist psychotherapy trainings in Australia also describe themselves as Integrative. There are many overseas psychotherapy training specifically in Integrative Psychotherapy.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
Internal Family Systems (IFS) , a model rooted in Psychosynthesis subpersonalities, Jungian Archetypes, Subselves and Ego-States, and further developed into IFS by Richard C. Schwartz, explores the internal dynamics of the psyche. It posits that the human mind is composed of different “parts,” each with its own perspective and role. IFS focuses on understanding and harmonising these parts to alleviate emotional conflicts and promote inner balance. By identifying, communicating with, and integrating these internal parts, individuals can gain a greater understanding of their inner world and work toward emotional healing and self-acceptance. IFS is not a psychotherapy on its own, it is a therapeutic technique and can be taken as continued professional development. Parts theories and practices are typically ‘part’ of a depth psychotherapy training such as Transactional Analysis, Psychosynthesis and Jungian psychotherapy.
Jungian analysis, based on Carl Jung’s analytical psychology, delves into the deep and often unconscious aspects of the psyche. It explores the significance of dreams, archetypes, and the collective unconscious in understanding one’s inner world. A key concept in Jungian therapy is individuation, which involves embracing and integrating different aspects of the self. This therapy seeks to bring the unconscious into consciousness, facilitating personal growth, self-awareness, and a more profound connection with the collective human experience. Jungian psychotherapy is particularly beneficial for individuals interested in exploring the symbolic and mythic dimensions of their lives. For a standalone depth-psychotherapy training- you can reach out to ANZSJA for Australia & NZ offerings. Training centres such as The Marion Woodman Foundation provide CPD in Post-Jungian Marion Woodman’s Body/Soul Rhythms for example.
Pioneers like Juliette Alvin have contributed to the field of music therapy, which harnesses the power of music to address emotional and psychological issues. Music therapy is highly versatile, using various musical elements, such as rhythm, melody, and lyrics, to evoke emotions, improve mood, and promote healing. It’s effective for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, especially those who respond strongly to music or have difficulty expressing themselves through other means. The Australian Music Therapy Association has information on training.
Michael White and David Epston popularised narrative therapy, which helps individuals reframe their life stories and regain control over their narratives. Narrative therapy explores how personal narratives, stories, and language shape our experiences and emotions. It encourages individuals to reauthor their stories and shift from a perspective of problem-saturated narratives to those of resilience and empowerment. Narrative therapy is highly effective for individuals seeking to change their life narratives and adopt more empowering and positive self-narratives. Narrative Therapy is offered as a stand alone psychotherapy training and is available at continued professional development. The Dulwich Centre is an innovative home for narrative therapy, community work, training and publishing. They are also a hub for a growing community of international practitioners. They run one week, one year and Masters in Narrative Therapy trainings as well as a free Indigenous healing course.
Object Relations Therapy
Object Relations Therapy, influenced by Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott, delves into early object relationships and their impact on an individual’s life. This approach explores how early attachments, particularly with caregivers, shape an individual’s inner world and relationships. Object Relations Therapy helps individuals understand and heal from relational wounds and unresolved emotions rooted in early childhood experiences. It is particularly beneficial for those who want to address attachment issues and the impact of early relationships on their emotional well-being. Object Relations Therapy tends to be included in standalone psychotherapy trainings such as Psychosynthesis, Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic but can also be delivered as continued professional development (CPD). The Trauma Informed Psychotherapy Masters at the University of Sydney includes Object Relations training.
Person-Centered Therapy (Rogerian)
Person-Centered Therapy, introduced by Carl Rogers, centers on the principles of empathy, non-judgment, and unconditional positive regard. It fosters an environment where individuals feel understood, accepted, and free to explore their own feelings and experiences. This client-centered approach emphasises the importance of self-actualisation and personal growth, allowing individuals to work towards a more authentic and fulfilling life. Person-Centered Therapy is particularly suitable for those who wish to engage in a therapeutic relationship based on empathy and unconditional support. Most in-depth psychotherapy trainings teach person-centred psychotherapy as a core component.
Play therapy, developed by Virginia Axline, is a therapeutic approach designed specifically for children. It uses play as a medium for children to express their feelings and thoughts. Play therapy can help children cope with a range of issues, including trauma, behavioral problems, anxiety, and family conflicts. By engaging in play, children can communicate their emotions and experiences, fostering understanding and healing. The Australian Play Therapists Association have a list of courses ranging from certificates to a Master of Play Therapy.
Positive Psychotherapy, pioneered by Abraham Maslow and developed by Martin Seligman, is a therapeutic approach that emphasises the positive aspects of one’s life to promote emotional well-being. This modality seeks to build on an individual’s strengths, resilience, and positive emotions, rather than focusing solely on problems or deficits. Positive Psychotherapy aims to help individuals lead fulfilling and meaningful lives, with a strong focus on promoting optimism, gratitude, and positivity. This training is often included in transpersonal and psychospiritual in-depth psychotherapy trainings as well as offered by CPD.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy, developed by Sigmund Freud, delves deep into the unconscious mind. It places a strong emphasis on childhood experiences and the role they play in shaping one’s personality, relationships, and emotional well-being. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory explores the id, ego, and superego, which are fundamental to understanding human behavior. Over the years, psychoanalytic therapy has evolved and branched into various schools of thought, such as relational psychoanalyses and it remains an insightful approach for those interested in exploring the hidden motivations that drive their thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is a standalone depth-psychotherapy training. You will find many analysts offering CPD for those therapists wishing to add to their therapeutic toolbox. The Trauma Informed Psychotherapy Masters at the University of Sydney provides components of Psychoanalytic theory and practice.
J.L. Moreno pioneered psychodrama, a therapeutic technique that uses role-playing and dramatic techniques to explore and heal psychological issues. In psychodrama, participants enact various roles, express emotions, and gain insight into their interpersonal dynamics. This approach is especially beneficial for individuals who respond well to active and experiential methods of therapy. This is a standalone training (this one is accredited by PACFA) or available as CPD.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy, is a broad approach that includes other theorists alongside Freud and focuses on uncovering unconscious conflicts and unresolved emotions that may influence an individual’s thoughts and behaviors. By exploring early life experiences and the dynamics of the unconscious mind, psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to increase self-awareness and address deep-seated emotional issues. It is particularly useful for those seeking insight into how their past experiences continue to shape their present thoughts and actions. Notable proponents of psychodynamic therapy include Erik Erikson and Anna Freud. This is a standalone depth psychotherapy training and many depth-psychotherapists provide CPD workshops for those who wish to add to their therapeutic toolbox. The Trauma Informed Psychotherapy Masters at the University of Sydney provides training in psychodynamics.
Psychosynthesis psychotherapy, developed by Roberto Assagioli, is a spiritual, transpersonal and holistic approach to healing and self-realisation. It seeks to integrate various psychological and spiritual aspects of the self, promoting personal growth, self-actualisation and self-realisation. Psychosynthesis acknowledges that each individual has a unique path to inner healing and that the human psyche consists of multiple aspects. This therapy encourages self-awareness, self-acceptance, and the exploration of one’s lower unconscious (the past), middle unconscious (the present) and higher consciousness (the future). It emphasises the importance of understanding and harmonising the various ‘parts’ such as subpersonalities, the inner child and body, feelings and mind to alleviate emotional conflicts and promote inner harmony and balance. Psychosynthesis psychotherapy ultimately aims for activation of love and will and provides a deeper sense of value, meaning and purpose in life. Standalone depth psychotherapy trainings (4-8 years) are only available overseas, however, I (and other practitioners) offer Psychosynthesis workshops for CPD.
Developed by Arnold Mindell, process-oriented therapy is an innovative therapeutic approach that focuses on the wisdom contained within dreams, body symptoms, and daily life experiences. This approach recognises that every symptom, emotion, and experience has a unique purpose and message. Process-oriented therapy encourages individuals to explore the deeper meaning and significance of their inner processes, ultimately leading to emotional healing and self-discovery. It is well-suited for those who seek to delve into the wisdom contained within their experiences and symptoms. Psychotherapy programs and CPD are offered at Australia and New Zealand Process Orientated Psychology.
Jeffrey E. Young developed schema therapy, an integrative therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and healing deep-seated emotional patterns and unmet needs. Schema therapy addresses early maladaptive schemas that can lead to long-standing emotional issues and relationship difficulties. By understanding and modifying these schemas (parts), individuals can break free from recurring patterns of unhappiness and enhance their emotional well-being. This training is most commonly offered as part of a psychology degree and as CPD for counsellors and psychotherapists.
Self-psychology, is a a psychoanalytic theory, and emphasises the importance of the self in understanding human psychological development. Founded by Heinz Kohut, this approach shifts the focus from instincts and drives to the exploration of the self’s structures and functions. The self’s development is shaped through interpersonal relationships, particularly the parent-child relationship, with a focus on empathy and mirroring experiences. While Kohut is the central figure, notable contributors like Arnold Goldberg and Ernest Wolf have further refined this approach, making it a significant branch of psychoanalysis. Self-psychology continues to provide insights into narcissism, empathy, and the therapeutic process. You will find Self-Psychology prominent in Psychosynthesis, Psychodynamic and Psychoanlytic depth psychotherapy trainings such as the Trauma Informed Psychotherapy Masters at the University of Sydney.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer pioneered Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, a time-limited technique that focuses on finding practical solutions to problems rather than dwelling on the issues themselves. This therapy is goal-oriented, emphasising clients’ strengths, resources, and their capacity to create change. Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is particularly effective for individuals seeking quick and pragmatic solutions to specific challenges or issues. This training is sometimes offered as a module in psychology, counselling and psychotherapy degrees and also as CPD.
Somatic psychotherapy recognises the intricate connection between the mind and body. It encompasses various techniques that involve exploring physical sensations, bodily awareness, and movement to heal emotional and psychological issues. Somatic Experiencing, developed by Peter A. Levine, is one such approach that focuses on discharging stored energy from trauma and restoring the body’s natural equilibrium. Somatic psychotherapy is valuable for individuals who seek to connect with their bodies, heal from trauma, and address psychosomatic concerns. Pat Ogden’s Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is another branch of somatic therapy. There are numerous AQF7 and above somatic psychotherapy trainings as well as a variety of CPD options.
Soul-centered therapy explores the deeper aspects of one’s existence and connection with the soul. This therapeutic approach recognises the soul as a source of wisdom, purpose, and guidance. It encourages individuals to connect with their innermost selves and embrace their soul’s unique journey and expression. Soul-centered psychotherapy is valuable for those interested in spiritual exploration and personal growth on a soul level. There is an in-depth psychotherapy training at the Kairos Centre in Melbourne.
Systemic Family Therapy
Systemic family therapy, pioneered by Salvador Minuchin and Virginia Satir, explores the family as a system and the dynamics within it. This approach examines how family members’ interactions, roles, and communication patterns influence individual well-being and mental health. Systemic family therapy aims to improve familial relationships, addressing issues such as conflict, boundary violations, and miscommunication. It is highly effective for families struggling with a range of challenges, including addiction, eating disorders, behavioral issues, and relationship conflicts. This modality can be taken as a module in a psychotherapy training, as CPD and as a standalone psychotherapy training. The Australian Association of Family Therapy has courses listed here.
Transactional Analysis (TA) is a psychoanalytic theory and therapeutic approach developed by Eric Berne. It focuses on understanding human personality and relationships by analysing social transactions. TA identifies three ego states within each individual: Parent, Adult, and Child, each associated with specific patterns of behavior and communication (parts). The theory explores how people interact with each other based on these ego states and aims to improve communication, relationships, and personal growth. Berne’s work in Transactional Analysis has laid the foundation for the development of numerous psychotherapeutic techniques (such as IFS) and has contributed significantly to the field of counselling and psychotherapy. Elements of TA are often included in Psychosynthesis, Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic depth psychotherapy trainings. You can also find the latest information about training in Australia here.
Transpersonal therapy, associated with Stanislav Grof, Roberto Assagioli, and Ken Wilber, explores the spiritual and transcendent dimensions of human experience. It goes beyond the individual self, aiming to connect individuals with their spiritual Self, higher consciousness and a greater sense of value, meaning and purpose. Transpersonal therapy recognises that humans have the capacity to transcend the ego (personality) and access altered states of consciousness, leading to profound spiritual insights and personal growth. This approach is well-suited for those interested in exploring the depths of their own spirituality, consciousness, and interconnectedness with the universe. Dan Siegel’s latest book speaks of the spiritual and transpersonal and talks about the ‘Mwe’ (Me+We). Transpersonal training can be taken as a full psychotherapy training or via CPD. Transpersonal psychotherapy training is widely offered overseas, however, this course is mentioned often in Australia: Advanced Diploma of Transpersonal Therapy.
Therapeutic Modalities and The Psycho-Therapeutic Relationship
Psychotherapy is a diverse and multifaceted field, offering numerous therapeutic modalities tailored to individual needs and preferences. Famous therapists and innovators have contributed to these approaches, each providing unique insights, techniques, and methods to support emotional well-being and personal growth. However, it’s important to note that it is not techniques but the psycho-therapeutic relationship and the way that this relationship is utilised that makes someone a psychotherapist. Hence the need to follow the College of Psychotherapy guidelines when choosing a course if you would like to become a Registered Clinical Psychotherapist®️. SCOPED in the UK have clear expectations also around the use of the psycho-therapeutic relationship.
Overall, the key to a successful therapy training is finding the modality that resonates with you and aligns with the clients and concerns that you are called to work with. This alignment ensures that you can create a strong and supportive psycho-therapeutic alliance, which is fundamental to the healing process.