Main Counseling Methods

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

8 min



Main Counseling Methods

Nowadays, people have become more aware of mental health problems. The mindfulness of humanity is constantly increasing, and psychotherapy has entrenched itself as one of the most efficient ways to support one’s well-being.

Where there is demand, there is supply. Specialists work with numerous counseling approaches to make the problem-solving process comfortable and effective for every patient. Thus, one can deal with a wide spectrum of mental illnesses ranging from addictions, particular thought patterns to desensitization, traumas, difficulties in relationships.

A psychiatrist can also offer patients various types of therapy. As a rule, the format includes individual counseling, group therapy, or couples therapy. The format of the counseling should meet the requirements of psychotherapy tasks and purposes. In this article, we are going to discuss the main counseling theories and methods.

What Are the Main Counseling Methods?

As we have already mentioned, today, a lot of different approaches exist. All of them were developed at different times, but they are very accurate today. Of course, specialists continue the investigation of mental health issues. The fundamental elements of different theories are steadfast. To mention the most common of them:

  • Psychodynamic Counseling
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Client-Centered Therapy
  • Existential Therapy
  • Transactional Evaluation
  • Creative Therapy

In fact, these counseling techniques might have some overlap, as they are similar models of therapeutic relations. However, we are going to discuss two main counseling theories, which differ significantly.

Transactional Evaluation vs. Cognitive Behaviour Remedy

We would like to focus on TA and CBT because these theories have fundamentally different bases and principles. That is why it is interesting to investigate these particular counseling techniques.

TA was created by American psychologist and psychiatrist Eric Berne in the late 1950s. TA is a holistic concept; it touches on psychodynamic therapy, integrative and humanistic themes. It helps to improve personal growth, solve problems with family members and gestalt issues. TA overlaps significantly with another American psychologist, Carl Rogers’s, views. Carl Rogers was one of the founders of humanistic theory. It leads to the fact that TA concentrates on an individual as well.

At the same time, CBT demonstrates another lead-up. It stems from the works of American psychiatrist Aaron Beck, whose investigations took place in the 1960s. CBT has become very common among clinicians all over the world. Cognitive behavior therapy is effective in curing depression, anxiety disorder, and other mental illnesses. CBT mainly takes into account the peculiarities of the individual’s state of mind and their life experiences, which are under the influence of external factors.

Transactional Evaluation (TA) Eric Berne Vs. Cognitive Behaviour Remedy (CBT) Aaron T Beck

What follows is a comprehensive comparison of two major counseling techniques.

Transactional Evaluation (TA)

To understand the difference between these two counseling approaches, one should simply figure out its key principles.

TA also arrives from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis method. TA is based on the three ego-states theory. Ego-states are the parts of your personality. They reflect your thoughts, body language, and feelings. These three ego-states are:

  • Parent. Its origins lie in the past. Your family system and important people influence some of your views, thoughts, and reactions. For example, you often shout at your partner when fighting because it used to be the problem-solving pattern in your family.
  • Adult. It seems to be the most rational part of your personality. It is your actualization of “here and now” situations. You act and react due to your rational thinking. The purpose of TA is to make your adult ego-state the strongest.
  • Child. This ego-state is in charge of emotions, creation, and intimacy. For instance, you used to start crying when you were reprimanded as a child. So, you might show the same reaction as an adult at work.

The key problem is that there is a life we want to live, and there is a life we are programmed to live. The purpose of humanistic therapy is to turn this potential life we want into our reality. In order to achieve that results, we have to destroy old patterns and old settings.

Cognitive Behaviour Remedy (CBT)

CBT shapes different therapeutic relationships. This technique is generally aimed to assuage overwhelming negative thoughts that might affect your emotional and psychological state. Let us say, if you live in a big city (such as New-York), you often feel stressed and depressed, and one day you are no longer able to control your own life.

There are a few counseling approaches of CBT:

  • Cognitive Therapy. It is aimed at finding and changing destructive thought patterns, behavior models, and emotional responses.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is aimed at dealing with your thought models with the help of particular strategies such as mindfulness and unconditional positive regard.
  • Multimodal Therapy. Psychotherapy should work with seven connected modalities. They are sensation, behavior, affect biological consideration, interpersonal factors, imagery, and cognition.
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. It is aimed at finding your irrational beliefs, learning them, recognizing them, and, finally, replacing them with new ones.

The importance of this counseling method is undoubted. The ability to identify your negative thoughts and patterns will ease your life significantly. On top of that, you will develop the ability to set new goals and overcome life troubles, even living in New York.

Pros and Cons

Transactional Evaluation (TA) Pros

  • TA helps people learn more about their personalities. They find out how to identify various aspects of their characters.
  • TA creates a reliable basis for family therapy. You get a chance to reset your relationships with your family, friends, and partners.
  • TA teaches you to face responsibility for your actions and thoughts.
  • TA can be applied in very different situations. The spectrum of problems it might solve is great.
  • It has quite successful statistics. It means that expectations from the therapy meet it results in reality.

Transactional Evaluation (TA) Cons

  • The analysis is based mostly on one’s life experiences. Thus, it cannot be tested; it is rather theoretical and subjective.
  • The method itself puts a patient into stressful situations. For a lot of people, it may be difficult to look back on their childhood.
  • It often solves confusing situations but not the problem itself.
  • It lacks one central hypothesis.
  • It often ignores social components of an individual’s life, imagination, fantasy, and other important factors. These factors, however, influence a person dramatically.

Cognitive Behaviour Remedy (CBT) Pros

  • It is an efficient method in psychotherapy. As long as many people worldwide suffer from different mental health issues, CBT allows patients to fight against grave diagnoses.
  • This method is short-term in comparison with other types of talk therapy. One session lasts 30 minutes, and then it gradually increases up to 60 minutes. The whole series of sessions can last from 5 to 20 weeks. Different approaches can take years to complete.
  • It deals with five main problem areas: thoughts, physical feelings, emotions, actions, situations. It helps to find where exactly the problems of a patient appear and work with this particular area.
  • Clinicians use varied tools such as talking sessions, video, books, computer programs.
  • The skills you get from your counselor will be really useful in your life after therapy. You will be able to predict problematic situations and solve them beforehand.
  • It is compliant with medications.
  • This method is helpful for people of various ages and sexes. Thus, it is a cross-functional way to help people.

Cognitive Behaviour Remedy (CBT) Cons

  • Its efficiency depends a lot on the will of a patient to solve the problem. It requires joint efforts both from a specialist and a patient.
  • You will have to complete the homework. And its meaning for therapy is crucial.
  • This format is not the choice for people with learning difficulties.
  • If a person has too complex mental problems, cognitive behavioral therapy will not be beneficial either.
  • It also puts a person into a stressful situation. Before feeling better, you might start feeling worse. However, this effect is rather common for different counseling approaches.


To sum it up, it should be noted that we are all human beings. We are under the constant influence and pressure of living conditions, working environment, family systems, and partner relationships. It is not surprising that sometimes we are not able to deal with these issues alone. That is why counseling therapy is so important.

Mental health should not be a taboo topic. We should not be scared to admit that we are going through some mental struggles. We must ask for professional help on time and support our beloved people who apply for counseling help.

The sphere of psychotherapy is already very developed, and it continues progressing all the time. It means that all people with various types of problems and mental issues can get corresponding treatment. Of course, it often requires huge efforts from a patient as well. However, if you are eager to overcome life difficulties, then do not be afraid to face your negative thoughts and problems. The results from therapy will help you to finally create the real life you want.

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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