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Thames Valley Psychology 


Some descriptions of helpful psychological therapies available:

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)


CBT is a broad term to describe a range of psychotherapeutic approaches (talking therapy) that helps people change how they think (cognitive), feel emotionally and how they act (behaviour), in the context of understanding why difficulties have developed and are maintained.

It can help make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable ones using a goal-oriented and systematic approach.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends CBT as the treatment of choice for a number of common mental health difficulties. Please see their website for further details ( www.nice.org.uk ). 

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT):

ACT is a form of behavioural analysis that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies, together with an understanding of fixed patterns of thinking and relating, to help increase psychological flexibility. It is considered helpful in the treatment of depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT):

Cognitive analytic therapy brings together ideas from both cognitive therapy and analytic psychology into one integrative model. It can help you understand patterns in relationships, emotional responding and behaviour, based on experiences in your childhood and later life. Through this understanding, you can then work on making changes that are helpful to you. 

Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a technique that originated from Buddhist meditation, but is now also used in an entirely secular (non-religious) way as a psychotherapeutic technique. It helps people to focus on the present to gain greater awareness of their emotions and improve general well-being. Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based therapies are becoming popular tools to help those with depression, anxiety and other common mental health problems. It can also be very helpful for psychological wellbeing more generally and in managing the stresses of day-to-day life. 

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): 

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of talking therapy based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, but has been adapted to meet the particular needs of people who experience emotions very intensely.

It is mainly used to treat problems associated with a condition described as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), or sometimes called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, such as:

  • repeated self-harming
  • attempting or threatening suicide
  • using alcohol or drugs to control unpleasant emotion
  • emotional states that range from overwhelmingly intense and intolerable to chronic feelings of emptiness
  • unstable but intense relationships


It involves learning helpful skills to address these difficulties and working with your therapist on agreed target areas. 

As this is an approach which requires group therapy and a team of clinicians, it cannot be offered on an individual basis. There are, however, helpful ways to integrate some of these approaches into other therapies. 


Positive Psychology:

This is an area of psychological therapy which focuses on our ability to thrive, be happy and well, develop resilience and inner strength, and live as functionally able as we can. The emphasis is less on problem areas and difficulties and a greater focus on how to work towards the sort of life you want to live. Such approaches are much more common today in the concept of recovery from common mental health problems.