Types of therapy and how they can help you


There are many types of therapy to address a variety of issues, but which one is right for us? We outline types of talking therapies and how they can help you

Shot of an attractive young woman sitting and talking to her psychologist during a consultation

We’ve all heard the adage ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. It’s no surprise, then, that speaking to someone is a key part of most therapy sessions.

Despite being a practice since the 1940s, psychotherapy is still deemed to be one of the most beneficial and rewarding ways to deal with what life throws at us, whether that’s trauma, stress or mental illness.

Sadly, the need for such treatments has been steadily rising in the UK, with some 1.2 million people in the UK accessing a mental health service – and Vitality data is showing a similar trend.

Demand for our Talking Therapies service has increased five-fold per member since 2015 [1]. That being said, our members are reaping the benefits of these sessions.

Our research found that 99% of members who accessed the service did not require further treatment within a three-month period [2].

If you think you might benefit from mental health support or speaking to a professional, it’s helpful to know more about some of the types of therapy that are on offer. 

We explore some of these below.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) “focuses on helping people with triggers in the here and now,” says Jess.  

This type of therapy helps you explore the ways you think, feel and be have, with the aim of identifying any unhelpful patterns. The idea is by changing these automatic negative patterns, you can manage your problems better.  

Suitable for: depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders. 

Somatic therapy

Somatic therapy aims to ease feelings of being trapped by physical and emotional stress through mind-body exercises. 

It focuses on noticing physical sensations in the body alongside talking, and can incorporate elements like meditation and breathwork. In particular, it’s believed to release repressed trauma.

Suitable for: trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, grief, abuse, relationship problems. 

Psychodynamic therapy

Derived from psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy is a process that emphasises the link between past experience and current behaviour.

It looks at tenets from childhood and past relationships and how we project those onto our present-day life. 

However, it can fall short in helping us develop strategies for proactive change, so it is often combined with CBT.

Suitable for: depression, anxiety, relationship problems. 

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) involves becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings as they happen, using mindfulness techniques like meditation and breathing exercises alongside cognitive therapy.

Here, people can learn to tolerate the intensity of their emotions, anxiety or depression, rather than react to them, then brings in aspects of CBT for the action part.

Suitable for: depression, anxiety, stress, mood disorders. 

Systemic therapy

Sometimes used as a generic term for family or couples therapy, systemic therapies explore ‘transactional’ patterns in relationships. 

It helps people understand how they operate within their family systems, and how the patterns they learnt in past family dynamics can be projected onto the present.

Suitable for: family issues, relationships, couples, business counselling

Humanistic therapy

Humanistic therapies encourage self-reflection and taking responsibility for your own thoughts and actions, so you can move towards reaching your full potential. 

Approaches include: Gestalt therapy (where you focus on your immediate thoughts and feelings to understand how you relate to others), person-centred therapy (where a counsellor offers empathy and acceptance to help you become your ‘true self’), and transactional analysis (which explores our common patterns of communication).

Suitable for: anxiety, depression, stress, addiction, self-esteem, relationship problems, trauma. 

Integrative therapy

Integrative psychotherapy is an integration of many therapeutic approaches. 

Your therapist will ideally have experience and training in a range of therapies and can create a tailored treatment plan for you, drawing from various aspects. 

When therapists are integrated, they can provide a range of approaches, and the client often receives better overall treatment.

Suitable for: depression, post-partum depression, social anxiety disorders. 

Vitality members with health insurance can access eight online or face-to-face Talking Therapies sessions per plan year.

Talking Therapies include counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Book your virtual or in-person Talking Therapies appointment through Care Hub or via the Vitality GP app.

Life members that notify us of a mental health-related claim can also get access to Talking Therapies through the Recovery Benefit as part of Income Protection. Terms and conditions apply.

You can also access everything you need to know about your plan via Member Zone or in the Vitality Member app.

[1] Vitality Health Claims Insights Report 2023

[2] Vitality Health Claims Insights Report 2023

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