Psychodynamic counseling is one of the most well-known approaches to counseling. It is based on the belief that behavior is learned and can be changed through conditioning. Classical conditioning, developed by Ivan Pavlov, is a type of behavioral therapy that focuses on the effects of a learned response. Cognitive theory, developed by Aaron Beck in the 1960s, focuses on how people's thinking can change feelings and behaviors.
Cognitive and behavioral therapy are often combined as a form of counseling. Research has found that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps with a range of mental illnesses. Adlerian therapy, originated by Alfred Adler, is also called individual psychology and focuses on creating a cooperative, encouraging and practical therapeutic relationship. It helps clients analyze their lifestyle and personal values to understand and question their usual behavioral patterns and hidden goals.
Cognitive, constructionist and systemic methods are also commonly used by counselors. Cognitive therapy focuses on the current situation and distorted thinking of clients rather than their past. Constructionist therapy encourages clients to harness their own capacity to develop the skills needed to change destructive behavioral patterns. Systemic therapy examines how a patient experiences life events and how those experiences make them feel.
Counselors usually focus on one of these methods, but sometimes they combine different aspects of several methods to develop the most effective therapies. It has been effective for stress-related ailments, phobias, obsessions, eating disorders and major depression. A counselor has the ability to choose the method that best suits their personal vision and style, as well as the one that best suits their client population.