So Many Choices! Finding the Right Therapy Approach
CBT, DBT, SFBT—the world of psychotherapy is filled with many models and approaches. Making it even more bewildering is the use of acronyms and special vocabulary each model seems to have. For someone new to therapy, or trying to make sense of the different resources, it can be tricky, if not overwhelming.
There are over 125 models or approaches to psychotherapy listed on Wikipedia alone, from Adlerian to Wilderness Therapy. Many therapists are trained in a number of models. Some use a blend of approaches that they feel work, while others have one favourite model that they always use.
Certain models have developed a high profile and have been the focus of lots of research that verifies their effectiveness. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which focuses on helping people change their thinking (cognitions) and reactions (behaviours), is one of those, and as a result is often recommended by doctors and others making referrals to counselling. Other models such as Narrative Therapy appear to be similarly effective, but are harder to use in larger settings such as hospitals and instead tend to be used in agency settings, resulting in less research about them.
At times, people will go to counselling because their doctor referred them for CBT only to find that their therapist prefers to use Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) or another model. Should they continue with that therapist or find a different one who does CBT?
Sometimes people try counselling but don’t find it helpful and give up, not realizing that it might be the model that isn’t a good fit rather than therapy itself.
A Courageous Witness
On February 21, 2018, the American evangelist Billy Graham died at the age of 99. A great deal has been published in the media since about his life, his ministry and his work.
No doubt Graham leaves a mixed legacy, both positive and negative. To his credit, it is clear that he himself evolved. For example, he once held the position that AIDS was due to the judgment of God—a damning position that he later apologized for and changed.
In my reading, however, not one of the tributes or critiques offered about Billy Graham’s life has mentioned a significant transformation that occurred for him at a crucial point in his career. It didn’t get much mention when it occurred. It has gotten no mention now. Sadly, I don’t believe that that is an accident.
In 1978 Graham publicly condemned the nuclear arms race. This was at the height of the Cold War. From that point forward, he consistently publicly opposed the effort by both the United States and the Soviet Union to “defend” their countries with weapons that would destroy the world many times over.
In 1978, when visiting Auschwitz, Graham declared, “The present insanity of the global arms race, if continued, will lead inevitably to a conflagration so great that Auschwitz will seem like a minor rehearsal.” Remarkably, these comments were not reported anywhere in the US media.