Therapy Glossary

Therapy Glossary

Find out about different types of therapies below, using our helpful glossary:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

An approach highlighting acceptance, rather than avoidance, of negative emotions. Places value on commitment to healthy, positive choices that endorse value systems. Co-developed by Dr Steven C. Hayes.

Behaviour Therapy

Using the principles of social learning theory, desirable behaviour is reinforced through structured reward programmes and undesirable behaviour is reduced through either the absence of a desired response or the presence of an undesired consequence. Often used for behavioural difficulties. Linked with Skinner, Watson and Pavlov.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

Time-limited integrative therapy looking at how past learned beliefs and behaviour influence relationship patterns and individual thoughts. Founded by Anthony Ryle.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Thoughts, emotions and actions are linked and negative thoughts/emotions can get stuck. Challenging thought patterns can transform emotions and behaviour. Helpful for anxiety and depression. Founded by Aaron T. Beck.

Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT)

Using a mindful approach, practising self-compassion, negative feelings such as shame and self-criticism can be transformed to self-acceptance. Founded by Professor Paul Gilbert.

Dialectical Behaviour (informed) Therapy (DBT)

Evidence-based therapy that works with “dialectics,” i.e. contradictions such as love/hate within a person’s interpersonal functioning. Integrates core skills such as emotional regulation and distress tolerance. Founded by Marsha M.Linehan.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)

Attachment and family-focussed therapy using affective-reflective dialogue to explore past and present relationships. Using the tenets of Playful, Accepting, Curious and Empathic (PACE), children and/or their families begin healing from developmental trauma. Founded by Daniel A. Hughes.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Complex and single event trauma can be trapped in the brain and body. By focussing on the memory & using bilateral stimulation, thoughts, feelings and body sensations become more adaptive and less distressing. Founded by Francine Shapiro.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Emphasis on the origin of emotional difficulties – using self-reflection and self-analysis, often drawing on the unconscious self. Founded by Sigmund Freud.

Schema Therapy

Integrative approach to address maladaptive, behaviour thoughts and behaviour. Schemas such as abandonment, failure and emotional deprivation can paralyse self-development. Recognising and processing the origins of schemas through the therapeutic relationship can foster adaptive, healthy adult coping strategies. Founded by Jeffrey E.Young.

Solution-Focused (Brief) Therapy (SFT/SFBT)

Constructive therapy based on finding solutions rather than solving problems. With the premise that people are “meaning makers,” and in control of their own lives. Focus on current situations and future aspirations not past experiences. Founded by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg.

Systemic Therapy

An approach which seeks to understand the individual within the context of relationships such as a couple, family or community. Facilitates awareness of self and others to understand negative dynamics within these relationships.


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