Approaches to Therapy
in Calgary & Alberta
Each therapist has a unique process of building a relationship and helping you. At Therapy Alberta, we know you have different experiences, preferences, and needs. Our team draws on the following types of therapy to meet you where you are at and guide your healing journey:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a powerful therapeutic approach that focuses on accepting your thoughts and feelings rather than trying to change or avoid them. ACT teaches you to cultivate mindfulness and develop a greater awareness of your internal experiences. By learning to observe and accept your thoughts and emotions without judgment, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and make conscious choices aligned with your values. ACT also emphasizes the importance of committed action, encouraging you to take steps towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
Affirming Therapy (Affirmative Therapy)
Affirming Therapy, also known as Affirmative Therapy, recognizes and supports the unique experiences and identities of individuals who belong to marginalized or stigmatized communities, including the LGBTQ+ community. This therapeutic approach fosters an affirming and inclusive environment where clients feel safe to explore their authentic selves. Affirming therapists are knowledgeable about diverse cultures, genders, sexual orientations, and intersections of identity. They work collaboratively with you, honoring your experiences and helping you navigate the challenges you may face in a world that may not fully understand or accept you.
Attachment theory explains how early relationships influence the way you relate to yourself, your caregivers, other people, and the world. Attachment therapy considers the impact of your patterns in relationships on how you connect to people, things, and problems. We can help you better understand yourself and build a secure therapeutic relationship based on trust. Therapists can use the relationship to help create a safe place for clients to explore, experiment, and establish new patterns.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapeutic approach that focuses on the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT helps you identify and challenge negative or distorted thinking patterns that contribute to emotional distress and unhealthy behaviors. Through a collaborative process, CBT therapists assist you in developing healthier and more adaptive thought patterns, which in turn can lead to positive changes in emotions and behaviors. CBT also incorporates behavioral techniques to reinforce new patterns of behavior and promote lasting change.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is a therapeutic approach rooted in the cultivation of self-compassion and compassion toward others. CFT recognizes that many individuals struggle with self-criticism and feelings of shame and inadequacy. By fostering a compassionate mindset, CFT therapists help you develop a kinder and more understanding relationship with yourself. This approach incorporates mindfulness and visualization exercises to promote emotional regulation and empathy. Through the cultivation of self-compassion, you can learn to embrace your vulnerabilities and foster a sense of self acceptance.
Culturally Sensitive Therapy (Multicultural Therapy)
Culturally Sensitive Therapy, also known as Multicultural Therapy, recognizes the importance of cultural factors in shaping an individual's worldview, experiences, and challenges. Multicultural therapists respectfully engage with clients from diverse backgrounds, honoring their cultural values, beliefs, and traditions. They strive to create an inclusive and culturally sensitive therapeutic space where you can freely explore your unique experiences. Multicultural therapy promotes cultural humility and self-awareness.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based approach originally developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder. DBT combines elements of cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. This therapeutic approach focuses on building skills in four key areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT helps you develop strategies to manage intense emotions, improve interpersonal relationships, and cultivate a greater sense of self-acceptance and balance. It provides practical tools for navigating challenging situations and fostering personal growth.
When memories and feelings seem cut up in pieces and messy, it is possible to make sense of them and reorganize them in your brain. EMDR is a mind-body therapy that targets past experiences and negative beliefs through the stimulation of both sides of the brain and body. What began as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has evolved to include tapping, sound, lights, and other techniques. EMDR therapists can help you contain, regulate, and reprocess memories and feelings to gain awareness, understanding, capacity, and trust in self.
Emotions are not good or bad, though you may have been taught to avoid them. Every emotion shows up in the body as a sensation asking for something - all emotions just want to be felt and heard. There’s a difference between talking about your feelings and feeling your feelings- therapy can help you tune into and feel these sensations and hear the message your emotion is trying to communicate. Every emotion is valid, a reaction to an action, yet sometimes they are based on old beliefs or patterns of response. Emotion-focused therapy helps you accept, identify, tolerate, and regulate any emotion long enough to express it in a healthy way and release it or find the unmet need.
Existential Therapy is a philosophical approach that explores the fundamental questions of human existence, such as the meaning and purpose of life, freedom, responsibility, and the inevitability of death. Existential therapists help clients explore their subjective experiences and the choices they make in navigating life's challenges. This therapeutic approach encourages self-reflection, personal responsibility, and the exploration of your values and beliefs. By examining the existential concerns that arise, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and find a greater sense of meaning and purpose in your life.
Expressive & Creative Art Therapy
Art Therapy is a powerful therapeutic modality catering to both youth and adults, providing a non-verbal outlet for emotional expression and self-discovery. Through various artistic mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, and other creative endeavors, you can explore and communicate complex emotions that might be challenging to articulate verbally. This approach allows you to tap into your creative instincts, fostering a deeper understanding of yourself and your experiences. Whether through the stroke of a brush or the molding of clay, expressive art therapy becomes a transformative process, aiding in emotional release, self-reflection, and coping strategies.
Family Systems Approach
The Family Systems Approach recognizes that individuals are deeply interconnected with their family and social systems. This therapeutic approach views the family as an interconnected unit where each member's behavior and emotions affect the overall family dynamic. Family Systems therapists help you identify patterns of communication, roles, and interactions within your family system. By exploring and understanding these patterns, therapists can assist families in creating healthier and more functional relationships. This approach emphasizes the importance of addressing systemic issues rather than focusing solely on individual symptoms.
Feminist Therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on empowering individuals by examining and challenging societal norms, power structures, and gender roles. Feminist therapists recognize the impact of patriarchy and social injustice on individuals' mental health and well-being. They work collaboratively with you to explore the intersections of gender, race, class, and other identities, promoting self-empowerment and social change. Feminist Therapy aims to validate and value diverse experiences, promote equality, and help you develop a more authentic and liberated sense of self.
Gottman Couples Therapy
Gottman Couples Therapy is a research-based approach developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman to strengthen and repair relationships. This therapeutic method is grounded in extensive empirical research and focuses on enhancing communication, understanding, and intimacy between partners. You learn practical skills to manage conflict, improve emotional connection, and build a foundation of shared meaning, fostering long-term relationship success. By emphasizing friendship, managing conflict constructively, and creating shared goals, this approach aims to not only resolve immediate concerns but also build resilience and a deeper connection for the future.
Hakomi Therapy is a mindfulness-based approach that combines elements of Eastern philosophy, body-centered techniques, and psychotherapy. This therapeutic approach focuses on the mind-body connection and the ways in which past experiences shape present behaviors and beliefs. Hakomi therapists use gentle, non-invasive techniques to access and explore unconscious patterns and beliefs held in the body. Through mindfulness, therapists assist you in discovering and transforming core beliefs, resolving past traumas, and fostering greater self-awareness and compassion.
Mindfulness is more than just meditation. Mindfulness is a process of becoming aware of the self here and now in this moment- mind, body, and emotion. When you can accept the present experience without judgment, you can tolerate whatever shows up, understanding it’s there for a reason. By learning to regulate, you can tune in to any thought, feeling, or emotion to hear any unmet needs and express yourself in healthier ways. Mindfulness in therapy allows you to connect to your own inner experience, accept all parts of yourself, meet your unmet needs, and release what is no longer adaptive or helpful.
Narrative Therapy is a collaborative and empowering approach that views individuals as the authors of their own life stories. This therapeutic method recognizes that people construct meaning through the stories they tell about themselves and their experiences. You work with the therapist to reframe and reconstruct your narratives, highlighting strengths, resilience, and alternative perspectives. By externalizing problems and exploring the influence of societal and cultural narratives, you can redefine your identities and relationships. This process not only encourages self-reflection but also promotes a sense of agency and the ability to rewrite your life story in a way that aligns with personal values and aspirations.
Play Therapy is a dynamic therapeutic approach that can be tailored for teens and adults, offering a unique space for expression, exploration, and understanding of emotions through creative activities, imaginative exercises, and play. While typically associated with children, this versatile method can help adolescents and adults communicate complex feelings that might be challenging to express verbally. Play Therapy encompasses diverse activities aligned with individual preferences, fostering self-expression, self-discovery and emotional release.
Person-Centered Therapy is a client-focused approach that emphasizes the importance of creating a safe and empathetic therapeutic relationship. This approach believes in the innate capacity of individuals to move towards personal growth and self-actualization. The therapist provides an accepting and non-judgmental environment where you are empowered to explore your feelings, thoughts, and experiences at your own pace. The therapeutic process is led by your agenda, allowing you to set the course of your self-exploration. Through reflective listening, empathy, and unconditional positive regard, person-centered therapy fosters a deeper understanding of oneself, promoting self-acceptance and facilitating positive change.
All humans are social creatures with innate and instinctual needs for connection and belonging. Sadly, most harm happens relationally and can suppress these instincts, so most healing needs to happen relationally too. Therapists can build secure, professional relationships with you that model respect, acceptance, and dignity. Within a secure and healthy relationship, you can create safety, explore vulnerability, release harm, and form new patterns of thinking, feeling, sensing, behaving, and relating. Relational therapists also understand going to therapy is a really hard thing to do - they’ve probably been there too.
Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT)
Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT) is a collaborative and goal-oriented therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and amplifying your existing strengths, values and resources to effect positive change in your life. Solution-focused therapists work with you to envision a future where your concerns have improved, encouraging you to set specific, achievable goals and take steps toward positive transformation. By emphasizing resiliency, problem-solving, possibilities, and your capacity for change, Solution-Focused Therapy empowers you to shape your desired outcomes and celebrate your successes.
Somatic therapists embrace the relationship between mind and body and practice from a whole-person approach to therapy. Your experiences affect both your mental and physical self and your nervous system, which controls your breath, digestion, and heart. Somatic therapists incorporate both talk therapy (mind down) and body therapy (body up) to help you understand what your body and mind are doing and why, how to regulate, and how to change. Bridging the connection between mind and body can help you feel and sense, learn to trust your body, protect yourself, and improve your mental, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health.
Strength-Based Therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on individuals' inherent strengths, abilities, and resources rather than solely on challenges or deficits. This empowering method recognizes that everyone possesses unique qualities that can be harnessed for personal growth and resilience. In strength-based therapy, therapists collaborate with you to identify and build upon your strengths, fostering a positive outlook. By emphasizing personal resources, achievements, and capacities, this approach not only enhances self-esteem but also cultivates a sense of agency and control in navigating life's challenges and healing.
You can't just talk your way out of trauma. Abuse, neglect, grief, pain, and injury impact your brain and body in ways that can linger for decades. A trauma-sensitive therapist understands the impact of trauma, recognizes different signs, knows how to facilitate recovery, and practices in a way that reduces the likelihood of causing further harm. Trauma-sensitive therapy centers around compassionate care with empathy and non-judgment, creating a safe space for discovery and expression. We can help you integrate mind, body, and emotion so you can feel and heal your way forward.
These are just a few examples of the diverse approaches to therapy available. Each therapeutic approach has its own unique focus and techniques, and finding the right fit for you is essential. At Therapy Alberta, our team of skilled therapists is trained in various approaches and is dedicated to providing individualized care that meets your specific needs and goals. Contact us to explore how therapy can support your healing journey.