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Therapeutic Definitions

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

a form of psychotherapy that integrates theories of cognition and learning with treatment techniques derived from cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. CBT assumes that cognitive, emotional, and behavioral variables are functionally interrelated. Treatment is aimed at identifying and modifying the client’s maladaptive thought processes and problematic behaviors through cognitive restructuring and behavioral techniques to achieve change.

Existential Psychotherapy

a form of psychotherapy that deals with the here and now of the client’s total situation rather than with his or her past or underlying dynamics. It emphasizes the exploration and development of meaning in life, focuses on emotional experiences and decision making, and stresses a person’s responsibility for his or her own existence.

Person-Centered Therapy

orderly process of client self-discovery and actualization occurs in response to the therapist’s consistent empathic understanding of, acceptance of, and respect for the client’s frame. The therapist sets the stage for personality growth by reflecting and clarifying the ideas of the client, who is able to see himself or herself more clearly and come into closer touch with his or her real self.


As therapy progresses, the client resolves conflicts, reorganizes values and approaches to life, and learns how to interpret his or her thoughts and feelings, consequently changing behavior that he or she considers problematic. 

Harm Reduction

an approach designed to reduce the adverse effects of risky behaviors (e.g., alcohol use, drug use), rather than to eliminate the behaviors altogether. Programs focused on alcohol use, for example, do not advocate abstinence but attempt instead to teach people to anticipate the hazards of heavy drinking and learn to drink safely.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a type of therapy born from the union of cognitive therapy and meditative principles.

  • Cognitive therapy aims to help clients grow and find relief from symptoms of mental illness through the modification of dysfunctional thinking (Beck Institute, 2016).

  • Mindfulness can be summed up as the practice and state of being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a continuous basis (Greater Good Science Center, 2017). Mindfulness also contributes to an acceptance of the self as it is, without attaching value judgments to our thoughts.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a therapeutic technique in which an instructor guides participants in weekly practices like meditation and yoga in order to reduce stress levels. MBSR is a popular method to help those with anxietydepressionchronic painaddiction, immune disorders, high blood pressure, and more.


The goal of MBSR is to bring people into the present moment so they can experience their thoughts and feelings non-judgmentally and deter worrying about the past or future.

Positive Psychotherapy

Positive psychotherapy is one such therapeutic model that has aimed to reorient the therapeutic approach to be more focused on supporting clients to use their inner resources to overcome challenges, understand and recognize areas of growth, and focus instead on working toward resilience and a greater sense of wellbeing.

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