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  • Therapy Approaches
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    Therapy Approaches - Course Map and Recommended Resources


    How to Use this Guide

    This guide provides information and resources for teaching Therapy Approaches in an Introduction to Psychology course. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System (LMS) via the hyperlinks.  


    This section will provide an overview of different approaches to therapy, compare and contrast psychosocial therapies and biological therapies, and discuss the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist.

    Learning Objectives

    1. Define psychotherapy

    2. Distinguish between a psychologist and psychiatrist

    3. Compare and contrast different approaches to therapy including psychoanalysis, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), humanistic therapy, and integrative/eclectic therapy.

    4. Understand biological therapies including psychotropic medications (antianxiety, antidepressant, mood stabilizer, antipsychotic) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

    5. Discuss cultural competence and how it relates to therapy

    Cross Cutting Themes


    1. Discuss why confidentiality between a therapist and client is so important. What would happen if confidentiality did not exist? Discuss situations in which a therapist is ethically allowed to break confidentiality.


    1. Compare and contrast psychologists and psychiatrists related to their education and training and treatment approaches.

    2. Discuss pros and cons to therapists providing psychotherapy online.

    Variations in Human Functioning

    1. Discuss reasons why a client may prefer psychotherapy for treatment vs. psychotropic medications for treatment.

    Cultural and Social Diversity

    1. Discuss how a therapist’s culture, race, ethnicity, etc could impact therapy with a client.

    2. Discuss the importance of cultural competence related to treatment.

    Recommended Resources

    Types of Treatment – OpenStax

    This section of Chapter 16: Therapy and Treatment Module 16.2 in Open Stax defines psychotherapy and biomedical therapy, provides descriptions of various psychotherapy approaches including psychoanalysis, play therapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, and provides descriptions and examples of biomedical therapies including medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

    Therapeutic Orientations – NOBA

    This module on Therapeutic Orientations is from the Noba Project. It provides an overview of the most common approaches to psychotherapy including psychoanalysis, humanistic and person-centered therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and mindfulness-based approaches, and integrative and eclectic psychotherapy. At the end of the module, there are a few relevant videos on person centered therapy, CBT.

    The Sociocultural Model and Therapy Utilization – OpenStax 

    This section of Chapter 16: Therapy and Treatment Module 16.5 in Open Stax discusses the sociocultural perspective and cultural competence. It also discusses barriers to treatment across ethnic minorities.

    Careers in Psychology – OpenStax

    This section of Chapter 1: Careers in Psychology Module 1.4 in Open Stax provides information about various careers in psychology and specifically discusses various options for those interested in becoming a practicing clinician including the difference between a psychologist and psychiatrist.

    Supplemental Resources

    Psychopharmacology – NOBA

    This module on Psychopharmacology is from the Noba Project. It provides additional information on psychotropic medications and psychological disorders.

    Mental Health Treatment & Services

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website has a lot of information and fact sheets about various treatment options including specific types of psychotherapy, types of mental health professions, medications for mental health problems, and other biological therapies including ECT.

    What is CBT? Making Sense of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Video)

    Here is a video explaining cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) called “What is CBT? Making Sense of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.”

    Getting Help - Psychotherapy (Video)

    Here is a Crash Course Psychology #35 video about “Getting Help – Psychotherapy.”

    Biomedical Treatments (Video)

    Here is a Crash Course Psychology #36 video about on Biomedical Treatments.