Magdalena Ratajczyk - psychoterapeuta, pedagog

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Which type of psychotherapy to choose?

Choosing a form of psychotherapy can sometimes be a difficult task. If you are looking for answers to what psychotherapy streams are and how to choose the best one for you, you have come to the right place. Put simply, a psychotherapy stream is the path a psychotherapist follows. The signs along it are the scientific theories that lead to the appropriate techniques for working with the patient. The 6 main psychotherapeutic streams are

  1. Psychoanalytic - focuses on getting to know oneself by interpreting free associations and becoming aware of the existence of past patterns in the individual’s present functioning.

    What to expect: Sessions will take place more than once a week. The therapy will be in-depth but quite long (several years). The therapist will give you a lot of space to talk, probably a lot of silence, and will interpret your free associations.

  2. Psychodynamic - exploring unconscious mental processes and the influence of past experiences on current problems.

    What to expect: This is a deep psychotherapy, usually lasting a year or more. The therapist will look for references to your childhood and interpret your words.

  3. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - focuses on changing the thoughts and behaviours that lead to emotional problems

    What to expect: There will be lots of specifics and home exercises/experiments to do outside of the session. This is a great therapy for dealing with e.g. anxiety, depression. The work is based on specific cues, but this therapy may not be enough if you want to get to the root of the problem.

  4. Humanistic-existential - the basis of the work is the here and now, while the past allows you to understand the present situation; the basis of psychological difficulties is the inner conflict created by confronting the person with the basics of existence.

    What to expect: The psychotherapist will try to bring out existential conflicts. He or she may also give personal examples or shrug in response to your story.

  5. Systemic - focuses on relationships between people and their impact on our lives

    What to expect: Work on the system or family. Great therapy for difficulties arising from family relationships. To be used in joint sessions with your loved ones.

  6. Integrative - combines the tools of all the other strands depending on the client’s needs.

    What to expect: All of the above 😊 The therapist will choose working techniques to suit your difficulties. In this type of therapy there may be elements of each strand, although usually 1 or 2 specific strands are closer to the therapist. It is worth asking during your appointment.

Psychotherapy typeSuitable for
PsychoanalyticSuitable for
PsychodynamicThose who are ready for several sessions per week and deep, long-term work (several years).
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)People who want to improve their knowledge of themselves and get to the root of their problems.
Humanistic-existencialImpatient ones who want to get rid of symptoms quickly and like to work with houseworks
SystemicThose struggling with existential challenges
IntegrativeFamilies who need to work together
Popular and not mentioned aboveThose who want to use several strands in one therapy and are not afraid to combine different working techniques.
GestaltSuitable for
Schema therapyThose who are not frightened by the therapist's tears in session and like the therapist's reactions.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)Those who want to discover and change the patterns that govern them.