There are numerous theoretical orientations ranging from psychodynamic to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as a hodgepodge of modern theories that have been popping up all over the internet. On determining the right therapist for you, it is also important to find a theoretical orientation that you feel comfortable with. Plus, we will also cover how important or, in some cases, unimportant a theoretical orientation can be.
A theoretical orientation is a fancy way of saying the manner in which therapy is done. For many, when they think of therapy, they think of what is traditionally depicted in movies and T.V. A client lays down on a sofa and talks about whatever comes to mind as the therapist takes notes and offers insight. While this representation does not do justice to what accurately occurs during the session, it is meant to depict traditional psychodynamic therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on the present as well as the clients interpretation of the problem. CBT uses homework assignments and teaches the client to take on a collaborative role in the therapeutic process. CBT has been shown through research to be the most effective theoretical orientation and is generally a preferred method in the treatment of first responders.
As I wrote before, there are numerous theoretical orientations out there that focus on individuals, couples, families and children. When talking to a new therapist for the first time, feel free to ask them about the theoretical orientations that they use and why. A therapist does not have to use a theoretical orientation in order to be successful in what they do. In fact, research suggests that the relationship between the therapist and the client has a greater impact on the clients level of success than a theoretical orientation alone.
In conclusion, feel free to explore theoretical orientations online (youtube is a great source) and if you find one that calls to you, ask your therapist about it.