Psychotherapy, talk therapy or counseling can help people overcome mental health problems. It can be delivered by psychologists, psychiatrists and other licensed mental health professionals.

If you’re struggling to cope with a problem and have been using unhealthy or dangerous coping mechanisms, it could be time to seek help.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

The main goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to teach you how to recognize unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It also helps you understand how past experiences may influence your reactions. It teaches you how to change these unhelpful thoughts and behaviors and can help you cope better with distressing events.

You and your therapist will work together to set goals and practice new strategies for changing unhelpful responses. For example, your therapist might suggest keeping an activity diary to help you understand what triggers your reactions. Practice coping techniques, such as role-playing difficult social situations or using realistic self-talk to replace negative thoughts.

Getting the most out of Toronto psychotherapy requires being open and honest about your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Attending sessions regularly and practicing the coping skills you learn are also important. If you have health insurance, determine the coverage and discuss treatment costs with your therapist.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

This short-term therapy, usually 12-16 one-hour weekly sessions, focuses on the impact of the patient’s relationships and interactions with others. It is based on the theory that mood disorders often arise from the loss of a significant connection or a change in the quality of those relationships. It draws on Bowlby’s research into attachment patterns and early learned behaviors about relating to others.

Like motivational interviewing, IPT aims to help patients recognize that their symptoms are not their fault and that there are strategies they can use to improve their relationships and increase their emotional well-being. It also encourages a collaborative therapeutic relationship that can reduce shame, blame and defensiveness and provides validation of the ambivalent feelings many patients experience. Sessions can be one-on-one or in a group, and the treatment is time-limited to encourage rapid action. This helps to reduce the likelihood of forming a dependency on a therapist. It can be delivered online or in person.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

This non-confrontational approach puts the client at the center of the conversation and is designed to encourage them to say why they want to change. It’s also useful for resolving ambivalence about treatment and can help clients discover intrinsic motivation to move forward when they’re in the early stages of therapy or have plateaued.

The goal is to help clients understand that their current behavior may not align with their values and could cause problems. A key element of MI is reflective listening, which allows the therapist to show that they are listening and understanding their client’s point of view. Using open-ended questions that allow for a fuller response is important, and your therapist will pay attention to ‘change talk,’ which is the language a client uses when discussing their desire to change.

The four key processes of MI are engaging, focusing, evoking and planning. These are similar to other counseling or therapy approaches, but what makes them unique is the spirit of collaboration and honoring of patient autonomy that underpins them.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

Solution-focused brief therapy is one of the world’s most popular and effective forms of therapy. It focuses on finding solutions in the present rather than analyzing past life experiences and aims to achieve results quickly. It’s a collaborative approach that recognizes what you need to improve and allows therapists to support you in finding the best possible outcome.

The therapist uses tools such as miracle and exception questions, scaling questions (using numbers to identify times when things were better or less difficult), compliments, empathic support and other positive language to help the client recognize that they have strength, wisdom, experience and resilience. They can then use those strengths to build hope and confidence that they can change.

It is also a relatively short-term approach, with most people achieving their desired changes within four to eight sessions. This means that you can benefit from the powerful effects of SFBT faster than other types of psychotherapy.