Types of therapies: Postmodernism

Welcome to #TheoryThursdays!

Continuing with my long-awaited series on theoretical orientations, I wanted to follow up with some generalizations about what is considered postmodern theories of psychotherapy.



I believe that essentially all that came after humanism is considered postmodern, although the approaches may differ greatly from one another and shouldn’t be put together (as I am about to do now).

On the field of psychology, someone’s perspective was starting to be considered more important, creating the notion of social constructionism. Even some humanist approaches, where starting to show postmodern signs on their development.

Thus, having the person (or the community) es the center, these theories base the therapeutic work on the client, and not on the knowledge of the therapist. Some will do that by listening to a client’s storytelling (Narrative therapy); others will try to work with what the individual has done great so far, and try to use that to their advantage (Solution Focused Therapy); while others will focus on the understanding of societal gender roles and racial discrimination (Feminist Therapy).


The therapist usually works from an informed-not-knowing perspective. This means that therapist will be trained and informed about human nature, but will enter the therapeutic relationship with the curiosity needed to learn from the client.

The therapist strives to create a collaborative relationship in which therapeutic knowledge, positivity, and curiosity guide, but don’t conduct, the therapeutic journey.


The client is, as I described with human theories, the one with the knowledge and power to create change.

The client is co-facilitator of their own therapy. This perspective wholeheartedly believes that clients can be trusted in their own recovery and that they have the capacity for healthy development.


Overall, I have greatly benefited from these approaches both as a therapist and as a client. Do you have any experience with a postmodern therapist? Please, I am eager to know! 🙂




Corey, G. (2017). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.



Safety Plans

Through my work as a therapist, I have often encountered the need to discuss and develop safety plans with my clients. Safety plans are more commonly used with people that have suicidal ideation, self-harm behaviors, or thoughts related to harming others.

A safety plan is a guide for yourself to have whenever you are not feeling so well. By creating this guide while you have more energy or are more stable, you are making it easier to have some go-to options for when you are not doing so great. A safety plan generally includes different sections that will help you explore what emotions you are dealing with, how to distract yourself or cope and options for you to talk to others.

They can be done by anyone, and often created within a therapeutic setting. While mostly used for the cases mentioned above, I believe they do no harm to people dealing with less severe emotional difficulties.

I have created some documents for you all to download:

Download: Blank Safety Plan

Download: Pocket safety plan an abbreviated smaller version to keep in your wallet or pocket.

Let me know what you think!


Disclaimer: These materials and article are not substitutes for medical care. If you are having any suicidal thoughts, talk to your therapist, call the national suicide helpline or go to your nearest emergency room.

On Staying Grounded

Lately, I’ve been finding it harder to be present. When stress hits me, my tendency is to stay in the past or the future.

I get stuck in the past by overthinking what I have done recently, these past days, or previously on the day. I ruminate on difficulties or mistakes and I replay different scenes in my head.

I get stuck in the future by thinking about what I would want to change, what could be different, and how fast I want to get there.

In either one of those situations, I completely forget to be present. I go through my day without enjoying myself, without really BEING there. 

Some years ago, I used a mindfulness bell app that helped me check with myself every so often. I would take a deep breath, reflect on how my body was feeling, and what sort of emotions were more active. Very often I would find myself clenching my teeth, being completely tense, or experiencing some sort of emotion without being aware.

This kind of bell is currently not so attractive to me, mostly because of the difficulties to have something like that at work added to an important layer of cultural appropriation of which I was not so aware some time ago. 

Now, what can we use to keep ourselves grounded? It’s much more difficult to stay present when we have to do it consciously. Whether you do it with an app or try to do it regularly here are some ideas:

Stay connected to your external senses. A classic grounding exercise would be to try to find 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you touch, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. This simple exercise will quickly bring you back to the present, as the mind is not able to focus on these external cues while worrying.

Listen to your body needs. Am I hungry? Do I need to sleep? Am I thirsty? Do I need to use the bathroom? When we are not grounded we forget about some of this internal signals. Try to consciously check with yourself. It may be more difficult than expected, especially if you are recovering from an eating disorder or addiction, as this connection to your needs may have been erased by other urges and behaviors. Don’t worry, one step at a time.

Literally feel the ground. Without wanting to reduce this notion to a new-age kind of solution, there is some benefit in connecting our physical bodies to the ground. Like in mountain pose in yoga, by standing tall and trying to connect your feet to the ground you may find your inner ground-ness increase.

Move your body. If you have difficulties with connecting to your physical body, try using your body for movement. You can try to go to the gym, practice yoga, go dancing, or stretch at the office among others. If you have mobility difficulties, you can try moving any part of your body, by doing it very consciously. How does it feel? How are you experiencing those body parts after they move? Are you more aware of them than before?


Do you all have any ideas to stay grounded that may be helpful for others? I want to hear them! 🙂






Types of therapies: Humanism

It has taken me some time to continue this mini-series about counseling or psychology theories, but here I am, back with a new post, this time about Humanism. If you are new to the blog or can’t remember, part of the objective I have is to close the gap between therapy and people.

I believe therapy should be for everyone, and I think by talking about it openly we can reduce the stigma around it. In this series of posts, I try to summarize my perspective in different counseling theories, so that people can choose and know a little more when choosing a therapist.

So…as I did with Psychodynamic theories, my aim here is not to do an academic review of this orientation, which can be found anywhere else, but to give an idea of what you can find on a Humanist therapist and therapeutic setting.


As a response to their predecessors, humanists wanted to, very simply, humanize the therapeutic setting. The psychoanalyst methods were too solemn and serious for some, and argued that it did not take into account the personal perspective, as it was based on the therapist’s interpretation and ideas of determinism.

Humanism escapes from that by acknowledging the uniqueness of each person, which would make this approach phenomenological. It is the person who is in possession of the truth, and therefore, of the solution, and not the therapist.

Predecessors of this orientation are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, who worked towards the creation of a new style that would differ in techniques and understanding of therapy.

The therapist

The humanist therapist will not always be identified as such because of the many directions that humanism has taken along the years. Other orientations encompassed on Humanism could be: Person Centered therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Existenitalism, Gestalt or Positive psychology, among others. Although they may all fall under the category of humanism, they may differ greatly from one another.

Some general ideas of the humanist therapist:

  • Therapist focuses on quality of therapeutic relationship
  • Therapist is genuine, integrated, and authentic
  • Therapist openly expresses feelings and attitudes present in relationship with the client
  • Therapist does not use techniques designed to get the client to do something (this is more of a person centered approach)
  • There are no roles in relationship
  • Empathetic, understanding, non-judgmental

The Client

The client will be expected to work towards a desired goal. The client is mostly understood from a here-and-now perspective, which differs from other theories that focus more on the past experiences. From this idea, the client will talk about current life, life goals, and ideas of self and self-improvement.

Since the expertise is put on the client, it will be them who are responsible for deciding what they need, and may expect to have autonomy over deciding on scheduling, the issues to work on and style. However, as previously said, this may vary when working with a Gestalt therapist, or a Person Centered one, for example.


The Association for Humanistic Psychology https://www.ahpweb.org/

Corey, G. (2017). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Find a therapist with a humanist approach.


Anything you want to add? Comment bellow!

If you would like to contact me, do it through this form.


Types of therapies: Psychoanalysis

In the last post I was telling you about the mini series of posts that I am creating. For the first post of the series, I have decided to write about psychoanalysis, as it is probably the oldest theory in psychotherapy, and the most known.

It is, however, very misunderstood by the lay people, because of the multiple references to it in pop culture and movies.


Sigmund Freud is known as the founder of this theoretical orientation, and he developed it partly practicing with himself. He is most known for his psychosexual development theories, that were, and still are, controversial for many people. However, he did contribute many things to the field of psychology, creating a shift towards therapy that wasn’t so focused on the brain and the science behind our behavior.

I believe one of the most important contributions of psychoanalytic theories was the introduction of the unconscious. The unconscious would be a part of ourselves that we do not know, but that impacts greatly in the way we feel, think and behave. Through analysis, Freud believed, we can start to unwrap some of the mysteries of the unconscious, and create change by learning the truth of ourselves.

He also created the theory of personality, which you have probably heard or read about: the id, ego and superego (click here for extended info).

He and his followers also believed in the importance of childhood and parents. Thus, analysis would focus most of its time in learning about past experiences that might have created problems for our present self.

From Clínica Picazo

If you are thinking about engaging in this kind of therapy you should know that this is generally a long term therapy, with usual meeting sessions every week or twice weekly.


The classical psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapists are trained to be a blank slate and to not self disclose anything. This might come off as coldness, but they believe that by being completely blank, the client will project their own life’s characteristics and problems into the therapist.


What the therapist wants from the client is for them to talk openly all the time. By talking without any context or questions, the client engages in a process of free association, which psychoanalysts believe is important to obtain the information that the unconscious is trying to hide.

*Modern approaches- psychodynamic orientations

After Freudian psychoanalysis, there were many other theories that evolved from it like attachment theories or object relationship theories. The more modern approaches of the practice are not as orthodox regarding self disclosure or being completely blank. What’s more, many therapists of other orientations use psychodynamic understandings for their practice.


American Psychoanalytic Association

For more info on the theory: APsA.

To find a therapist: find help.

If you have any questions, as always, contact me.



Mini series: types of therapy and therapists

Este post en Español

Hello everyone!

Wow, it’s been a long time! If you are wondering why it took me so long to write more, the reason is, I am in a master’s degree and that is taking so much time! Related to that, now you can check the about page, where you will find general information about this blog and about myself.

That said, today I am bringing some fresh ideas. It occurred to me- better said, to my partner- that there was a real need for people who decide to go to therapy and don’t know what kind of therapist they should search for. Based on that, I would like to create a series of posts that will mainly concentrate in the style of therapy that each theories have. Today I am going to talk about why having this information is important-at least to me.

Why is it important to choose a (good) therapist

The truth is, it might not be so important to you. If you think you could get along with any kind of person, or if you are very open to try different styles, or if you have the security that any person with good will is able to help you, then you don’t need anything else!

However, many people who go to therapy end up not liking their therapist, or the style of therapy, and stop going to therapy and never try again. The reasons can be several, but in many cases I will dare to say that the connection between therapist and client wasn’t working. Therapist and client need to connect, in my opinion, as friends, classmates, partners or coworkers do.

But the truth is, you are not going to know your therapist before the first session. In fact, even after many time you may not know your therapist at all. So how are we suppose to choose with which therapy to go? Here is where knowing his or her theoretical orientation will help. Theoretical orientation is the base in which therapist base our treatments and actions. When we subscribe to a theory, the theory guides us in how to treat the client, the treatments to follow, techniques to use etc.

How the mini series will contribute

I am not going to mention every kind of therapy (there are around 300 different therapies out there) but the most relevant ones or the ones that are gonna make a difference in how the session is held. However, if there is any therapy that you heard about and you would like to learn more about just let me know, I will be glad to help.

My idea is that knowing the theory will let you know a lot about how things might be in session.

What if I don’t know the theoretical orientation?

Many therapists will not disclose this information. Well this might be a bit controversial, but they have to tell you. There is no possible good way of working in therapy without having a theoretical orientation. It is where we base not only treatment but also ethics.

It might happen that the therapist says he is integrative. Many professionals integrate more than one theory to they work, that is usual and completely fine. They will still probably subscribe to one theory, if you have any doubts, just ask them.

Other things to take into consideration

I am not going to be a snob and say that theory is everything and that you should be only guided by that. There are plenty reasons to choose a therapist. For example, she lives near you, she is a woman, he is black, he is older than you are, has cheap sessions or can conduct therapy through Skype. If any of these reasons or others are good enough for you to choose a therapist, just do it!

Before the first session you are going to be able to collect some information. Call this person, take a look at their website if they have one, ask them all the questions you need before the first day. I think that therapist fail to share this information in a way that is understandable and transparent.

After having this information you will be able to know more or less if this is the right therapy for you, or not. The truth is that not every therapy is for everyone, and you don’t have to like every therapist either.

In the next post I will talk about Psychoanalytic therapy, subscribe to receive the post as soon as it’s published!

Thanks for reading!