Couple during couple therapy session sitting on the couch in front of therapist

What Types of Therapy Are There?

Written by Valentina Dragomir, Psychotherapist | Fact Checked | See our editorial process

What types of therapy are there?

If you are wondering what types of therapy are there, there isn’t a fixed amount of types of therapy. It depends on the client (adult, individual, couple, etc.) and the approach in therapy (psychodinamic, behavioral, etc.).

Before we learn about these types, let’s define what psychotherapy is.

Psychotherapy is a mental and emotional health process in which the client and psychotherapist work together for the benefit of the client. The purpose of psychotherapy is to facilitate the well-being of the client and to improve the quality of his life.

Psychotherapy starts under a mutual agreement on the objectives, duration and frequency of the sessions, depending on patient’s needs. The frequency and duration of sessions depend on the patient’s needs, goals and progress of therapy.

Integrative psychotherapy is recommended in a wide range of difficulties such as

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Behavioral and relationship
  • And other problems that negatively impact the normal course of daily life.

The psychotherapy treatment is performed in individual or group sessions, for couples or families.

In this post you will learn about how many types of therapy there are based on the client. We will study the types of therapy based on the approach in another post.

How many types of therapy there are based on the client:

Individual psychotherapy

Therapist comforting her client with a touch on their shoulder.
Individual psychotherapy can help adults and children overcome their difficulties, treat most of their disorders and improve their quality of life.

Individual psychotherapy is the type of psychotherapy in which only one person is the client. The client can be an adult or a child.

Individual psychotherapy can take place in the office or online.  Individual psychotherapy is recommended for people who suffer from a wide variety of difficulties and mental health disorders, for example:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Loss of food appetite
  • Stress
  • Phobias
  • Panic attacks
  • Excessive eating
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Repeating dreams
  • Low self-confidence or self esteem
  • Communication and behavioral difficulties
  • Difficulty to adapt to life changes
  • Difficulty to adjust to daily activities
  • And other psychological disorders.

Couples psychotherapy

Couple hugging
It is known that very few couples cannot be helped by couple psychotherapy. This means that most couples can really benefit from couples counselling, one of the most popular types of psychotherapy.

Another type of psychotherapy based on the client is couples psychotherapy, also called relationship therapy. The client is the relationship and not the individuals. The psychotherapist is focused on the relationship and helps the couple find their own solutions to the problems they encounter.

People who can opt for couples psychotherapy can be married or unmarried couples, without discrimination against their sexual orientation.

Couples psychotherapy is recommended for many relationship or marital problems, for example:

  • Repeating conflicts
  • Difficulty managing their emotions
  • Low communication
  • Low boundaries of the couple
  • Not having their needs met
  • The addiction or illness of one of the partners

Therapy also helps couples in which one partner is facing a health problem or addiction that affects the relationship, or who exhibit a behavior that interferes with his ability to have a healthy relationship with his partner. In this case it is recommended that the partner who has the behavior problem to see a therapist individually, in parallel with couples therapy.

Family psychotherapy

Family with children looking up at their kite flying in the sky
Family therapy is known to help resolve problems that disrupt family dynamics, improve relationships between family members and increase the well-being of each family member who attends sessions.

Family psychotherapy is the type of psychotherapy in which a person and at least one family member meets the therapist. Family therapy purpose is to help improve the relationships and communication between family members, create a safer environment, mitigate effects of stressful family events.

Family psychotherapy is recommended for problems such as:

  • Misunderstandings
  • Problems with communication
  • Children having problems at school
  • Behavior problems of children or adolescents
  • Bereavement
  • Illness or addiction of a family member
  • Stressful family events: death, birth of a child, divorce

Child and adolescent psychotherapy

teenager sitting on a chair making gum bubbles
Both children and adolescents can benefit from therapy sessions. Their world is very different from that of adults and therefore therapeutic interventions are tailored to their needs.

Child and adolescent psychotherapy is the type of psychotherapy in which the client is the child or adolescent. Both parents (if both alive) or the tutor must consent for psychotherapy, otherwise the child cannot go in therapy. The parent is also involved in the child psychotherapy process by participating in monthly sessions about the progress of the treatment or other issues. Sometimes child psychotherapy can turn into family psychotherapy if necessary. Therefore, as a parent be prepared to participate in your child’s treatment.

Psychotherapy for children and adolescents is useful for numerous issues, for example:

  • Does not make friends or does not integrate at kindergarten or at school
  • Has learning difficulties
  • Has conflicts at school
  • Behavior problems
  • Is angry or easily irritable
  • Is victim of bullying or is a bully
  • Lost one or both parents
  • Uses drugs or alcohol
  • Suffered loss or grief, traumatic events or accidents
  • There are stressful events in the family: death, birth of a sister/brother, moving out, etc
  • Other behavior problems and mental health disorders

Therapy groups and support groups

a group of people hug and give eachother support
Group therapy or support groups are extremely beneficial for people in many areas of life. The most common support/therapy groups are Alcoholics Anonymous, but there are also groups focused on grief, depression, anxiety and more.

Group psychotherapy and support groups are another type of psychotherapy in which the client is the group. The groups can have many participants, for example from at least 3 to 10, or more participant. In a group psychotherapy the confidentiality and a safe environment are very important for the process.

Groups allow people who have similar problems or difficulties gather together, and under the guidance of one or more psychotherapists, learn from each other and support each other.

The topics for group psychotherapy are extremely various, for example:

  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Parents who have ill children
  • Victims of abuse
  • People who share a common experience or illness


In this post you learn what types of therapy there are based on the client:

  • Individual psychotherapy in which the client is one person (child or adult).
  • Couple psychotherapy in which the client is the couple relationship.
  • Family psychotherapy in which the client is the family or at least two members of the same family.
  • Group psychotherapy in which the client is the group.


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