Which type of therapist should you seek out?

One of the best ways to handle the inner damage that is done when you are involved in an abusive situation or when coming out of one, is to find a qualified therapist. But which one? There are many types of therapists to choose from (in a previous article we described different types of therapies) and this can, understandably, feel overwhelming to someone who is already going through a difficult time. Below we have outlined the most common kinds of therapists that you are likely to encounter; however, if you would like more information on any of them or are perhaps looking for someone that would help a particular issue you are having, it can be helpful to do a simple search online.

Integrated Approach Therapists

The majority of therapists out there use an integrated approach to treating patients. A dash of this, a little of that, blending with some spice and there you have it. However, most Integrated Approach therapists usually have a specialization in one or more approaches that may be good to know when looking for the right one.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapists

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy therapists focus on what is currently happening to the individual without spending as much time on delving into a person’s past experiences. They use CBT as a primary approach. This type of therapist is great for many types of disorders, particularly relating to anxiety or depression.

Dialectical Behavior Therapist

Dialectical Behavior Therapy therapists usually deal with people who have severe conditions such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and similar. This specialty is less common than those who use CBT, and will be more difficult to find.


A therapist whose primary approach is psychoanalysis will be delving deeply into the subconscious of their patient to find out how the past has affected the present state of mind. Psychoanalysis is often used in conjunction with CBT and can be helpful to those who have experienced trauma in their past that they are unable to cope with. Many patients would be unaware of how the past trauma is affecting them and cannot pinpoint what has caused their current state. The psychoanalyst uses specific methods to dig into the mind and unravel these traumatic events and guide the patient to the correct treatment.

Specific Area Therapists

These therapists are trained in very specific fields and do not usually handle topics outside of these realms. For instance, one may deal only with addiction, one with sex issues, one for family issues, another with relationship issues, and so on. Although the majority of therapists will discuss any of these subjects, sometimes it is best to find someone who deals solely with these issues as they have had more in depth experience with unique circumstances and solutions.

    Alongside specializations are the levels at which each therapist has trained and what sort of certification they have acquired. Certain levels of education cannot prescribe medication for instance and may only be able to administer cognitive treatment or counseling.

    • A Licensed Social Worker (Clinical, Master, or Independent) will work primarily in schools, offices, hospitals, or rehabilitation institutions. They are typically more affordable than traditional therapists and usually give more in the line of guidance than full-spectrum treatment.
    • A Licensed Mental Health Counselor (Clinical or Professional) are similar to a Licensed Social Worker except that they are able to perform assessments to help identify primary issues that someone is experiencing, especially regarding children and disabilities. They primarily work in a patient’s home, offices, hospitals, and even in the court room.
    • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists primarily deal with families and couples who are having trouble and need a bit of extra help and guidance to sort them out. They often do not handle long term care or severe disorders. They can work with individuals as well and usually have their own office that a patient will travel to.
    • Doctor in Psychology Therapists have a high level of specialized education in the Psychology field and usually specialize in a specific area, along with seeing a broad range of patients with a variety of disorders. They are more equipped to handle severe disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar patients. However, they usually do cost more than those previously listed. They primarily practice out of their own office, however, some will make house calls.
    • Psychiatrists have a medical degree in which they have studied in depth both the psychological aspects of the human mind, as well as the physical interactions of medicine on certain areas of the brain and the impact these have on certain disorders. Psychiatrists often work hand in hand with Psychologists and other therapists to find the correct medications for their patients. They can be found both in private offices as well as hospitals and similar institutions.

    There are a number of less common licenses, approaches, and specializations, and if you find yourself dealing with an uncommon issue or situation, it might be a good idea to talk to a therapist in your area who may be able to recommend someone that can help in that specific circumstance. Finding a therapist can be done by doing a search online, by going through the phonebook, by asking a helpline, or even doing a search in Psychology Today’s Directory. If you feel you are in need of help, reach out. There are many people willing to guide you in where and how you can find the right person to support you and the correct treatment approach for your particular situation.

    When overcoming an abusive situation, it may be difficult to think clearly and come up with a solution to remedy the abuse, while trying to implement it may feel almost impossible. However, given the right tools and the will power to create change, it most certainly is possible, even more so– it is probable. Many may feel overwhelmed and may not know where to start, but it is important to start somewhere.

    Please continue to check in with us each week for a new post about abusive behavior and how it can affect your life and the lives of those around you. There is always that first action to helping someone you care about. Let this be it!


    Author Bio - Anna Czarska is a writer and actor who has 15+ years of experience dealing with various situations of abuse. She has pursued business ventures and creative pursuits as well as spending time to study psychology in both formal and personal education. For more information, you may find her Linkedin profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kasiakraut/

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