As a counselor the variety of approaches to helping people function and feel better is almost dizzying. This article on GoodTherapy.org lists somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 different types. For someone seeking a therapist, how does a client figure out which approach is best?
The client coming to therapy usually doesn't have a concern about what approach is being used, but she does care about the general philosophy of how an improvement in functioning will take place. For instance, does the therapist believe insight about childhood experiences and their connection to poor current functioning will lead to better functioning? Or, does the therapist believe negative self-talk is the cause? Ultimately, the client wants to feel that he can make improvements through his work with the therapist and is only going to follow that therapist's lead if he believes in that therapist's competency. A certain type of therapy can be nice guidelines for a therapist, but, ultimately, the therapist's ability to connect with the client and effectively convey the principles of change to the client are the more important factors. Most of the therapies out there can be learned about through books, articles, vidoes, etc., but, for many people, the added human touch of a therapist is a key addition that helps the client apply the principles and not give up on that process of change.