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The Evolution of Therapy Approaches: Trends in MA Psychology Programs

February 20th, 2024: 5 mins

This Article Explores: 

  • Introduction
  • Understanding Psychotherapy: A Brief Overview
  • Therapy Approaches Evolution: Earliest origins
  • New therapy techniques today
  • Advancements in Therapy Techniques
    • AEDP
    • Somatic Therapy
    • Brainspotting
    • Expressive Arts Therapy

Did you know that mental health issues are one of the top causes of disability not only in our nation but worldwide, too? In India, as much as 15% of the population suffers from some mental health issue, from anxiety disorder or chronic depression. Stats also claim women in India are more prone to mental health disorders, accounting for 39% of stress and 30% of anxiety disorders.


People often tend to perceive mental health issues as a trivial concern; however, it is far from reality. Just like an injury on your knee can trouble you for years, so does trauma for your mental health. Physical injuries are visible and thus can be treated easily. But what about mental injuries? 


These invisible injuries are treated by professional therapists adept in the field of Psychology. Licensed psychologists are in tune with current counseling techniques and behavioral therapy advancements, ensuring a thriving mental well-being for everyone. 


Let’s navigate some of the advanced psychotherapy techniques that licensed psychologists have unlocked to promote mental wellness. Along with advancements, we’ll also navigate the history of these approaches that are usually navigated by integrative psychotherapy MA degrees.

Understanding Psychotherapy: A Brief Overview

Understanding Psychotherapy: A Brief Overview

Psychotherapy is a form of professional treatment for mental health-related issues under the guidance of licensed psychologists, counselors, and therapists. Much like a dentist who treats dental issues, a psychotherapist or counselor looks after mental health issues. The spectrum of mental illness can vary from anxiety disorders and panic attacks to phobias, traumas, and even OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Therapy Approaches Evolution: Earliest Origins

Psychology goes back centuries when written language was not available. Back then, psychology was not perceived as a proper field of study but rather a tradition where people shared stories with each other. While such sessions were wisdom for many, they were informal therapy sessions for others.


Let’s navigate through a brief timeline of events that transformed psychology and fueled the evolution of therapy approaches.


➨ Psychotherapy, as a formal term, was coined in the 1880s by Franz Mesmer. 


➨ In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt, a renowned German psychologist, opened his first-ever psychologist lab and began practicing a therapy called introspection. As the word indicates, introspection deals with ‘looking inward’ or examining one’s own emotions and thoughts.


➨ Drawing inspiration from the origins of psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud propounded psychoanalysis, a branch of therapy exploring how certain urges and thoughts affect human behavior.


➨ Psychoanalysis was often considered dramatic in nature, and as its countermeasure, modern therapy techniques like Behaviorism were devised. Behaviorism was a popular therapy approach that developed in the mid-1900s. It stressed that healthy human behaviors can enhance mental health, where behavior can be shaped through external conditioning. 


➨ In the 1930s, client-centered theory was put forward by Carl Rogers. He deduced that the key to psychotherapy is the heartfelt connection between a psychotherapist and their client. To ensure the ideal mental health of the client, the practitioner must be a good listener and be non-judgmental. 


➨ 1962 saw the emergence of CBT or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This therapy aims at changing the innate negative thought patterns of a person, which ultimately results in better mental health. 


➨ CBT therapy first came with Albert Ellis, and later, Aaron Beck worked on it to create a new metric: the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventory. This new metric helped the practitioners to judge the severity of an individual’s mental health issue.


New Therapy Techniques Today

New Therapy Techniques Today

Psychological therapy has moved a long way– from simple talk sessions toward more intricate usage of metrics. Some modern therapy techniques used by practitioners include:


Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, or AEDP, is inspired by traditional talk therapy. This approach emerged in the early 2000s and targets the innate coping mechanisms of a person to overcome their emotional baggage like trauma. 

Somatic therapy

Although this therapy technique first came in 1977, it was fine-tuned in 2010. This therapy partners psychology with physical therapy and uses body-mind exercises like meditation or yoga. This ensures a person’s emotional as well as physical well-being. It caters to a range of issues like anxiety, grief, addiction, etc.


An innovative therapy, Brainspotting believes that specific eye positions give away specific emotions of an individual. Thus, this therapy helps in evoking particular ‘brain spots’ which are a storehouse of traumatic events. It helps a person overcome their negative emotions and trauma.

Expressive Arts Therapy

This therapy approach pairs up psychology and creative arts and was popularized in the year 2005. It includes music, art, dance, drama, and even writing within its therapy domain. It helps a person find meaning in their life and broadens their emotional space.

Advancements in Therapy Techniques

Psychotherapy is a field that still embeds advancements every day; thus, practitioners must ensure that their therapy techniques are up-to-date.


Some unique therapy techniques are:


  • 'Voice dialogue' where practitioners bring out their client's inner child and alternate selves. This helps a person adopt a more manageable way of life.
  • 'Hunger illusion', is a technique that a practitioner uses to make the client aware of their automatic actions and unconscious motivations.
  • The 'empty chair' therapy approach brings a person’s abstract thinking to the forefront. Thus, it helps people balance a healthy mental state by vocalizing their abstract thoughts.

Concluding Thoughts

Psychological theories have evolved over time, nurturing open-mindedness, technology, empathy-based practices, and tolerance in the communities. The future holds further discoveries in the field, and whether you're a budding therapist or someone simply intrigued by the fascinating world of psychology, the possibilities for your growth are endless!

To understand how this complex yet rewarding domain works, check out online MA degrees like MA in Psychology to upskill and seek excellence in the novel field of psychology.