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Psychological therapy

Psychological therapy is a process of exploring and changing one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours to achieve personal growth and wellbeing. It can help people cope with various mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and addiction. However, psychological therapy can also offer more than symptom relief. It can also facilitate self-transcendence, which is the ability to go beyond one’s ego and connect with something greater than oneself. self-transcendence can enhance one’s sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfilment in life. In this article, we will discuss how psychological therapy can foster self-transcendence and what benefits it can bring to individuals and society.

What is therapy?

Psychological therapy is a form of treatment that aims to help people cope with emotional, behavioural, or mental health problems. The process of psychological therapy varies depending on the type of therapy, the goals of the client, and the therapist’s approach. However, some common steps are:

  • Assessment: The therapist evaluates the client’s situation, needs, and strengths. They may use interviews, questionnaires, tests, or observations to gather information.
  • Goal-setting: The therapist and the client agree on specific and realistic goals for therapy. They may also discuss the duration, frequency, and expectations of therapy sessions.
  • Intervention: The therapist applies various techniques and strategies to help the client achieve their goals. They may use methods such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or humanistic therapy. The therapist also provides feedback, support, and guidance to the client throughout the process.
  • Evaluation: The therapist and the client review the progress and outcomes of therapy. They may use measures such as self-reports, ratings, or behavioural changes to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy. They may also decide to modify or terminate therapy based on the results.
Types of psychological therapy

Here is a reasonably comprehensive list of the types of psychological therapy available:

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  • Transcendence Therapy: This is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help clients achieve a higher state of consciousness and well-being. It is based on the premise that human beings have a natural potential for transcendence, which is the ability to go beyond the limitations of the ego and connect with a deeper reality. Transcendence therapy uses various techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, and spiritual practices, to facilitate this process of self-discovery and transformation.
  • Jungian-based transcendence therapy: Produced by self-transcendence Research, we have compiled our knowledge into a psychotherapeutic model based on Jungian psychology. This model is generic and could be applied to anyone seeking to achieve self-transcendent personal individuation. Our comprehensive guide to Jungian-based transcendence therapy fully documents the themes, methods and implementation of this transcendence therapy, allowing any individual or therapist to begin working on their self-transcendence via Jung’s individuation model.
  • cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): This therapy aims to help people change their thoughts and behaviours that are causing them distress. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, emotions, and actions are interconnected and can be modified to improve our wellbeing. CBT can help with various mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, phobias, ocd, and PTSD.
  • trauma focussed cognitive-behavioural therapy: trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) is a type of talking therapy that helps people who have experienced a traumatic event, such as sexual or physical abuse, violence, or natural disaster. TF-CBT helps people cope with the negative thoughts and feelings that may result from the trauma, and learn new skills to manage stress and anxiety.
  • NeuroAffective Relational Therapy (NART): This is a cutting-edge method of psychotherapy that addresses the impact of attachment, relational and developmental trauma, also known as complex trauma. complex trauma can result from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that disrupt the normal development of the self and impair the capacity for connection and regulation. NARM integrates neuroscientific, somatic and relational perspectives to help clients heal from complex trauma and reclaim their authentic identity.
  • Psychodynamic therapy: This therapy explores the unconscious influences of the past on the present. Psychodynamic therapy helps people understand their personality, emotions, and relationships better. It can also help them resolve inner conflicts and cope with trauma.
  • Humanistic therapy: This therapy focuses on the person’s potential for growth and Self-actualization. Humanistic therapy emphasizes the importance of empathy, acceptance, and genuineness in the therapeutic relationship. It can help people develop a more positive self-image, express their feelings, and find meaning in life.
  • Transcending-self therapy (TST): This is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help clients overcome their ego-based limitations and access their higher-self.
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): This is a type of psychotherapy that helps people cope with emotional distress and strengthen their interpersonal skills. DBT is based on the idea that some people have difficulty regulating their emotions and tend to react in extreme or impulsive ways. DBT teaches skills in four areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): This is a form of psychotherapy that helps people cope with psychological distress and live more meaningful lives. ACT focuses on accepting what is out of one’s control, such as thoughts and feelings, and committing to actions that align with one’s values. ACT aims to increase psychological flexibility, which is the ability to adapt to changing situations and pursue goals that matter.
  • integrative-cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT): This is a form of psychotherapy that uses online platforms to deliver structured and interactive sessions. ICBT can help people cope with various mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and stress.
  • Psychoanalytic therapy: This therapy is based on the theories of Freud and his followers. Psychoanalytic therapy aims to uncover the hidden meanings and motivations behind the person’s symptoms and behaviours. It can help people gain insight into their unconscious desires, fears, and conflicts.
  • Frankl’s logotherapy: logotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people find personal meaning in life. It was developed by Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and neurologist who survived Nazi concentration camps. He believed that humans have a “will to meaning”, which is the desire to find a purpose in life, even in the most difficult situations. logotherapy uses three techniques to help people discover their meaning: dereflection, paradoxical intention, and Socratic dialogue. logotherapy is based on the idea that meaning can be found by creating a work, loving someone, or adopting a positive attitude toward suffering.
  • integrative or holistic therapy: This therapy combines elements from different therapeutic approaches to suit the needs and preferences of the individual. integrative or holistic therapy recognizes that each person is unique and complex, and that no single approach can address all aspects of their situation. It can help people achieve a balance between their physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing.
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): This is a type of psychotherapy that helps people heal from trauma and other distressing life experiences. EMDR involves recalling a traumatic event while moving the eyes back and forth, following the therapist’s finger or a light. This is thought to stimulate the brain’s natural processing system and reduce the emotional impact of the memory.
  • interpersonal therapy (IPT): This is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on improving the quality of relationships and social functioning of individuals. IPT helps people identify and resolve interpersonal problems that may contribute to their emotional distress, such as conflicts, role transitions, grief, or isolation. IPT is based on the premise that interpersonal factors can have a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing.
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT): This therapy helps stabilize daily routines and improve relationships with others.
  • Family-focused therapy (FFT): This therapy involves family members and helps you enhance communication, problem-solving, and coping skills within the family system.
  • Prolonged exposure therapy (PE): This therapy helps people gradually confront and reduce their fear of trauma-related memories, situations, or triggers.
  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP): This therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to your feared situations or objects and resisting the urge to perform your compulsive rituals.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT): This therapy helps you accept your unwanted thoughts and feelings without judging them or trying to get rid of them, and focus on living according to your values and goals.
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT): This therapy combines mindfulness techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises with CBT to help people become more aware of their present moment experience and reduce their negative reactions to your ocd triggers.
  • trauma-focused cognitive processing therapy (CPT): This therapy is similar to CBT but focuses more on how the person makes sense of their trauma and how it affects their self-image and relationships. It helps the person modify their beliefs and emotions about the trauma and themselves.
  • Exposure therapy: This therapy involves gradually facing the situations or objects that trigger anxiety and learning to cope with them.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): This therapy teaches people how to use meditation and breathing techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): This is a procedure that involves sending electric currents through the brain to induce a brief seizure. ECT can be an effective treatment for severe depression that does not respond to other interventions. However, ECT may also cause memory loss and other cognitive impairments.
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): This is a newer technique that uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific areas of the brain that are involved in mood regulation. TMS can be an alternative option for people who cannot tolerate or benefit from antidepressants or ECT. TMS is generally safe and well-tolerated, but it may cause headaches or scalp discomfort.
  • Contingency management (CM): This therapy uses positive reinforcement, such as vouchers or prizes, to reward people with addiction for staying abstinent and engaging in treatment. CM can increase motivation and adherence to recovery goals.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI): This therapy helps people with addiction resolve their ambivalence and enhance their intrinsic motivation to change. MI uses a collaborative and empathic approach that respects the person’s autonomy and values.
  • Emotion-focussed therapy (EFT): This is a type of therapy that helps people understand and use their emotions in a healthy way. EFT is based on the idea that emotions are important for identity, choice, and decision-making. EFT helps people become more aware of their emotions, express them, regulate them, and transform them when needed. It can be used for individuals, couples, or families who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, or relationship problems.
  • Art therapy: Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses visual and tactile media as a means of self-expression and communication. It is an established form of psychological therapy delivered by trained art therapists / art psychotherapists. It’s designed to help anyone, including those whose life has been affected by adverse experiences, illness or disability, by supporting their social, emotional and mental health needs.
  • Music therapy: Music therapy is a form of expressive arts therapy that uses music as a medium to promote physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. It can involve listening to music, playing musical instruments, singing, composing, improvising, or moving to music. Music therapists are trained professionals who use music interventions to address the specific needs and goals of their clients.
  • Gestalt therapy: This is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the present moment and the individual’s experience of it. It is based on the idea that people are capable of self-regulation and growth, and that they can become more aware of their needs, feelings, and choices through the therapeutic relationship. It aims to help clients increase their awareness of how they interact with their environment, and how they can change their patterns of behaviour that are causing them distress. Gestalt therapy also emphasizes the importance of creativity, experimentation, and authenticity in the therapeutic process.
  • Transactional analysis: Transactional analysis is a psychological theory and method of therapy that aims to understand and improve human communication and relationships. It is based on the idea that we have three ego states: parent, adult, and child, and that these influence how we interact with others. Transactional analysis can help people identify and change unhealthy patterns of behaviour, emotions, and thoughts, and develop more positive and authentic ways of living.
  • Schema therapy: Schema therapy is a form of psychotherapy that integrates elements from cognitive-behavioural, attachment, and emotion-focused therapies. It aims to help clients identify and modify their maladaptive schemas, which are enduring and self-defeating patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that originate from unmet needs in childhood. Schema therapy can be used to treat various psychological problems, such as personality disorders, chronic depression, anxiety, and interpersonal difficulties.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves one or more therapists working with several people at the same time. It is usually focused on a specific topic or issue, such as anxiety, depression, or addiction. Group therapy can help participants gain insight, support, and feedback from others who share similar experiences or challenges. Group therapy can also provide a safe and confidential space to practice new skills and behaviours.
  • Functional analytic psychotherapy: Functional analytic psychotherapy (FAP) is a psychotherapeutic approach based on clinical behaviour analysis (CBA) that focuses on the therapeutic relationship to maximize client change. FAP suggests that in-session contingent responding to client target behaviours leads to significant therapeutic improvements. FAP therapists use five rules to identify, evoke, reinforce, and generalize client behaviours that are relevant to their interpersonal problems and goals. FAP is a contextual, ideographic, and relational therapy that aims to enhance awareness, courage, and love in clients and therapists.
  • Mentalization-based therapy: Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help people who struggle with regulating their emotions and maintaining stable relationships. MBT is based on the idea that mentalizing, or the ability to understand oneself and others in terms of mental states, is essential for healthy functioning and well-being. MBT helps clients to improve their mentalizing skills through a combination of individual and group sessions, where they explore their feelings, thoughts, beliefs, desires, and intentions in a safe and supportive environment. MBT has been shown to be effective for treating borderline personality disorder, as well as other conditions such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and eating disorders.
  • Self psychology is a branch of psychoanalysis that focuses on the self as the central organizing principle of human experience. It was developed by Heinz Kohut in the 1970s and 1980s, and it emphasizes the role of empathy, selfobject relations, and optimal frustration in the development and maintenance of a healthy self. Self psychology aims to understand and treat psychological disorders that result from disturbances in the self, such as narcissism, borderline personality disorder, and depression. In this article, we will introduce the main concepts and applications of self psychology, as well as its strengths and limitations.
  • Internal family systems (IFS) is a therapeutic approach that views the human psyche as a complex system of interacting parts, each with its own characteristics, motivations, and roles. IFS aims to help clients understand and harmonize their inner family of parts, as well as heal the wounds and traumas that have caused some parts to become extreme or dysfunctional.
  • The three-phase model of trauma treatment is one of the most widely used and evidence-based approaches to trauma-informed care. This model provides a comprehensive and flexible framework for addressing the diverse and complex needs of trauma survivors.
  • Existential-humanistic therapy, which integrates existential and humanistic approaches and emphasizes human capacities and aspirations as well as human limitations (GoodTherapy, 2019).
  • Existential-integrative therapy, which combines existential and relational perspectives and focuses on the therapeutic relationship as a vehicle for change (Psychology Today, n.d.).
  • Existential-positive therapy, which applies existential concepts and techniques to positive psychology interventions and aims to enhance well-being and meaning in life (PositivePsychology, n.d.).
  • Daseinsanalysis explores the fundamental structures of human existence and the modes of being-in-the-world. (Oxford Bibliographies, n.d.).
  • somatic therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the mind-body connection and how it affects our wellbeing. According to Baker (2023), “somatic therapies posit that our body holds and expresses experiences and emotions, and traumatic events or unresolved emotional issues can become ‘trapped’ inside” (p. 12).
How does an individual choose the right form of therapy?

Clearly, there is a wide range of therapies available. Each has its own spectrum of applicability, depending on the desired therapeutic outcome and preferences of the individual in question. Here is a general approach which may help individuals choose the right therapy for them.

  • Identify the main problem or issue that needs to be addressed. For example, anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship difficulties, etc.
  • Research the different types of therapy that are available and suitable for the problem or issue. For example, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, etc.
  • Consider the accessibility, cost, duration, and mode of delivery of the therapy. For example, online or in-person, individual or group, short-term or long-term, etc.
  • Find a therapist who has experience and expertise in the type of therapy and the problem or issue that needs to be addressed. For example, look for credentials, reviews, testimonials, etc.
  • Evaluate the comfort level and rapport with the therapist. For example, ask questions, express concerns, provide feedback, etc.
What is the right approach when choosing a therapy for self-transcendence?
  • Define self-transcendence as a shift from egocentric focus to caring for others or something greater than oneself.
  • Review the literature on self-transcendence theory and its benefits for well-being, wisdom, and adaptation in later life.
  • Compare different types of therapies that aim to facilitate self-transcendence, such as Transcending Self Therapy (TST), integrative-cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT), and spiritual practices.
  • Evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of each therapy in promoting self-transcendence and reducing mental health problems, such as substance abuse and depression.
  • Consider the personal and contextual factors that influence self-transcendence, such as vulnerability, nursing interventions, and connectedness with past and future generations.
  • Choose a therapy that best suits your needs, values, and goals, and that is supported by empirical research and professional guidance.
Further reading

Here is a list of links that discuss psychological therapy and its ability to promote self-transcendence:

Transpersonal Therapy | Psychology Today: This weblink explains what transpersonal therapy is and how it can help patients transcend their current view of themselves and open their minds to new ways of approaching the challenges in their lives. The URL is

What is Self-Transcendence? Definition and 6 Examples (+PDF) | Positive Psychology: This weblink provides a comprehensive definition of self-transcendence and its components and characteristics. It also gives six examples of how self-transcendence can be achieved in different domains of life. The URL is

The Soul of Therapy: The Therapist’s Use of Self in the Therapeutic Relationship | SpringerLink: This weblink discusses the importance of the therapist’s use of self in establishing an effective therapeutic relationship. It also describes a training model for therapists to develop their skills in using their personal selves consciously and purposefully in therapy. The URL is

Meaning-Seeking, Self-Transcendence, and Well-Being | Dr. Paul Wong: This weblink explores the relationship between meaning-seeking, self-transcendence, and wellbeing. It also presents Frankl’s model of logotherapy as a way of helping people find meaning and transcendence in their lives. The URL is

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Self-transcendence as a measurable transpersonal construct | ResearchGate: This weblink reviews the literature on self-transcendence as a transpersonal construct and presents a scale for measuring it. It also discusses the implications of self-transcendence for health and well-being. The URL is

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