3 Types of Therapy and Which One Right For You

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a style of therapy in which the therapist highlights how an individual’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings interact to produce certain outcomes. CBT tends to be an effective, research-backed, short-term treatment for mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. 

Questions the Therapist Might Ask

  • What are thoughts you have when your anxiety is high?
  • How do you respond to them?
  • What are the feelings you notice?

The main goal of CBT is to address unhealthy thoughts and behaviors in order to promote growth and self-awareness. Typically, there are certain thoughts, such as “I’m not good enough,” which fuel behaviors and feelings. CBT is ideal for individuals who struggle with specific phobias, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, issues with self-esteem, etc.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

What is SFBT?

The central focus of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is to identify what is going on in an individual’s life that promotes fulfillment of goals and to change the behaviors that do not. This style of therapy is intended to be brief (3 to 5 sessions on average) and change occurs quickly–usually within six sessions. The solution becomes the problem in SFBT, as the underlying assumption is that the individual is capable of behaving in ways that decrease the problem.

Questions the Therapist Might Ask

  • What do you want to change?
  • What led you to make an appointment now?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is your anxiety today? 1 being the absolute worst, and 10 being where you’d like to be when you no longer have to see me anymore.

SFBT in Action

The therapist begins by identifying the individual’s complaint (e.g. “I want to learn to cope with my anxiety”). SFBT encourages the individual to consider the behaviors that decreased symptoms: What improved your symptoms of anxiety in the past? 

As the individual begins to change behaviors, the therapist continues to encourage reflection on what works and what doesn’t work. The idea is that the therapist guides the individual in identifying how he or she affected the outcome, such as presence of symptoms of anxiety.

Throughout the process, SFBT therapists serve as a cheerleader to the individuals they see–embracing efforts and successes. Therefore, SFBT is a strengths-based style of therapy. Through SFBT, individuals increase confidence, self-reliance, and capability to solve future difficulties on their own.


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of meditation and acceptance in order to increase the ability to be present. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, focus on helping the client identify emotions, thoughts, and sensations in the here and now. Many therapists use guided imagery and breathing exercises to encourage mindfulness.

Questions the Therapist Might Ask

  • What thoughts do you notice passing through your mind?
  • What is happening in your body–in regards to breathing, heart rate, etc.?

Various styles of therapy incorporate mindfulness techniques, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Somatic Experiencing Therapy (SE). 

Do you struggle to identify emotions and sensations in the body? Mindfulness is ideal for individuals who struggle with a lack of connection to their experience–mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Determining the right style of therapy for you means figuring out what you want from the therapy process. We have therapists who use the mentioned therapy styles at Kaleidoscope Counseling. If interested, contact us at 980-237-7732 or mail@kaleidoscopecounselingpllc.com and set up an appointment today.


By: Ashlyn Boredolon, Counseling Intern at Winthrop University