The clinician’s theoretical perspective will influence the approach he or she chooses for psychotherapy. Clinicians who focus on cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, are practical and may ask you to try things at home to help you develop insight into “triggers” and help develop coping skills. Journaling, homework, logging reactions, and trying new things between sessions are common requests.

On the other hand, clinicians who are psychoanalytic, person centered, and/or humanistic will focus more on discussion, connecting with emotion, and attending to the actual process of therapy instead of completing homework. These sessions will focus on discussion of current and early experiences to identify sources of stress or other negative emotions. Some clinicians may use a combination of psychotherapy styles to create an individualized treatment plan. This is sometimes referred to as an eclectic or integrative approach.