The controlled act of psychotherapy relates to what we do, not how we talk about what we do.  And, according to psychologists and psychotherapists, virtually every type of treatment, and even commonplace conversation approaches, including reflective and active listening, make use of psychotherapy techniques.  Essentially, all possible human interactions are covered by one of the approaches listed below.

1. The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology, 2015
Note:  this Dictionary is considered the most authoritative reference dictionary for the profession.

According to it, the definition of psychotherapy is: “The treatment of mental disorders and allied problems by psychological methods.

Therefore, under this definition, the following  approaches are considered ‘psychotherapy’ approaches, with each approach having several to many ‘psychotherapy techniques’.  Altogether there are potentially many hundreds of individual techniques involved in these approaches:

Art Therapy
Assertive Therapy
Assertiveness Training
Autogenic Training,
Behavior Therapy
Body Therapies
Brief Psychotherapy
Client-Centered Therapy
Cognitive-analytic Therapy
Cognitive Behavior Modification
Cognitive Therapy
Conjoint Therapy
Couples Therapy
Crisis Intervention
Dance Therapy
Dream Therapy/Dream Works
Drama therapy
Existential Therapy
Experiential Therapy
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Facilitated Communication (FC)
Family Therapy
Fixed-Role Therapy
Focal Therapy
Gestalt Therapy
Group Therapy
Hypnotherapy/Hypnosis/Progressive Relaxation
Marital Therapy
Milieu Therapy
Morita Therapy for Hypochondria
Multimodal Therapy
Music Therapy
Online Therapy
Orgone Therapy
Paradoxical Therapy
Personal Construct Therapy
Play Therapy
Primal Therapy
Progressive Relaxation
Sex Therapy
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Will Therapy

2. APA Dictionary of Clinical Psychology (1st edition, 2013)

Psychotherapy:  any psychological service provided by a trained professional that primarily uses forms of communication and interaction to assess, diagnose, and treat dysfunctional emotional reactions, ways of thinking, and behavior patterns of an individual, family (see family therapy), or group (see group therapy). There are many types of psychotherapy, but generally they fall into four major categories:  psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive therapy or behavior therapy, humanistic therapy, and integrative psychotherapy.

Psychotherapist: an individual who has been professionally trained and licensed (in the United States by a state board) to treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders by psychological means. He or she may be a clinical psychologist (see clinical psychology), psychiatrist, counselor (see counseling psychology), social worker, or psychiatric nurse.

This dictionary, at pages 634-636, lists over 300 “psychotherapy approaches”, including the following:

Zen Therapy (includes using intuition and meditation)
Exercise Therapy (includes exercise for prevention)
Holistic Education
Vitamin and Mineral Therapy
Transcendence Therapy
Light Therapy
Dance Therapy
Art Therapy
Music Therapy
Click here for the entire list

3. APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2006 (pages 1022-1024) and APA Dictionary of Clinical Psychology, 2013 (pages 634-636)

Anger Control Therapy
Animal-assisted Therapy
Art Therapy
Aversion Therapy
Behavioral Relaxation Training
Behavioral Weight Control Therapy
Behavior Modification Therapy
Client-Centered Therapy
Coping Skills Training
Couples Therapy
Creative Arts Therapy
Crisis Intervention
Dance/Drama Therapy
Emotion-focused Therapy
Ericksonian Therapy
Holistic Education
Hypnosis/hypnotherapy suggests
Horticultural Therapy
Light Therapy
Megavitamin therapy
Metaphor therapy
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
Movement Therapy
Music Therapy
Pastoral Counseling
Persuasion Therapy
Phototherapy, including Infrared for SAD)
Play Therapy
Poetry Therapy
Puppetry Therapy
Recreational Therapy
Release Therapy
Reminiscence Therapy
Self-instructional Therapy
Self-imagery Therapy
Suggestion Therapy
Systematic Desensitization
Transcendence Therapy
Vitamin Therapy
Work Therapy
Click here for the entire APA Dictionary of Clinical Psychology, 2013 list

4.  Dictionary of Psychology, J. Singh, 2013

Assertion Training
Autogenic Training (teaching muscular relaxation and self-suggestion)
Aversion Therapy (avoidance therapy)
Biofeedback Training
Cognitive Therapy
Community Psychology
Comparative Psychology
Depth Interview (interviewing to reveal deep-seated emotions)
Directive Counseling (therapist imposed advice)
Divorce Counseling
Dream Suggestion (involving hypnosis)
Drug Education
Dual-Transference Therapy (involves 2 therapists)
Eclectic Counseling (combines doctrines from many beliefs)
Economic Psychology
Educational Therapist
Escape Training
Expressive Therapy (talk out feelings)
Focal Psychotherapy (attempting to relieve one symptom at a time)
Follow-up counseling (looking after a new issue)
Food Therapy (food is used as a reinforcement)
Gestalt Therapy
Goal-limited therapy (short term emotional issue)
Graphic Arts Therapy
Group Therapy (people come together to share an activity/therapy)
Historical Method (study of client’s history)
Holistic Psychology
Hypnosigenesis (induction of hypnosis)
Hypnosuggestion (application of direct hypnotic suggestion)
Hypnotherapy (hypnosis in therapeutic applications)
Implosion Therapy (flooding of fear stimulus)
Implosive Therapy (imagining of anxiety-provoking issue)
Individual Therapy (one-on-one treatment)
Interview Therapy (conversation to uncover root issues)
Mirror Technique (imitation of individual’s behavior)
Movement Therapy (encouragement to move, express emotions)
Music Therapy
Non-directive Play Therapy
Non-directive Therapy
Organized Play
Orgone Therapy
Parent Counseling
Pastoral Psychiatry (offering relief from grief, shame)
Persuasion Therapy
Projective Psychotherapy
Reconstructive Therapy (extensive modification of character)
Reinforcement Counseling
Relearning Method
Release Therapy (playing out issues)
Religious Therapy
Sector Therapy (using chains of association to break up emotions)
Structural Therapy (structured environment)
Work Therapy

5. Dictionary of Psychology, R. Corsini, 2002 (pages 1099-1101):

Body Therapies: Trager, Rolfing, Relaxation, Massage, Breathing Exercises
Client-Centred Therapy
Eclectic Counseling
Encouragement Therapy
Ericksonian Therapy
Holistic Therapy
Imagery Therapy
Pet and Animal Assisted Therapy
Play Therapy
Suggestion Therapy with Hypnosis

6. Dictionary of Psychology, J.P. Chaplin, Ph.D, 2nd edition, 1985

Behavior Therapy
Adjustment Method
Assignment Therapy
Aversive Therapy
Biographical Method
Client-Centered Therapy
Complete-Learning Method
Conjunctive Reinforcement
Convulsive Therapy
Covert Conditioning
Covert Extinction
Crisis Intervention
Differential Reinforcement
Directive Counseling
Dream Interpretation
Emotive Imagery
Evocative Therapy
Fixed-Role Therapy
Gestalt Therapy
Graphic Method
Group Therapy
Historical/Ahistorical Method
Hypnosis Treatment/Hypnotherapy
Insulin Shock Therapy
Interpretive Therapy
Milieu Therapy
Occupational Therapy
Play Therapy
Rational Emotive Therapy
Relationship Therapy
Replication Therapy
Semantic Therapy
Supportive Therapy

7.  Sources of Definition for Energy Work

1) Energy work is part of the Spiritual Psychotherapy program offered by Toronto’s Transformational Arts College and regulated by the Province of Ontario.

…Somatic and Energetic Approaches – Body and Chakra Psychotherapy

2) The Ontario Society of Psychotherapists recently (March and July 2015) offered training in energy treatments (both the original and cached webpages have been removed from the Internet, so see our screenshot here).

Energy Diagnostic & Treatment Methods (EdxTM) … (also known as Advanced Energy Psychology)

3) The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) discussed the field of Energy Psychology:​

Modern psychotherapy’s enfant terrible, Energy Psychology…  The term energy psychology describes a new field of innovative interventions that balance, restore, and enhance human functioning by stimulating the human subtle energy system… EP modalities combine intentionality with imaginal exposure and energetic stimulation, energetic balancing, or both.

4) The International Center for Reiki Training uses the term “Psychotherapeutic Reiki” in describing

“…a technique that blends Eastern energy concepts and Western psychological perspectives.”

8.  APA Dictionary of Psychology definitions, 2006

Counseling: professional assistance in coping with personal problems, including emotional, behavioral, vocational, marital, educational, rehabilitation, and life-stage (e.g. retirement) problems.  The counselor makes use of such techniques as active listening, guidance, advice, discussion, clarification, and the administration of tests.

Counselor an individual professionally trained in counseling, psychology, social work, or nursing that specializes in one or more counseling areas, such as vocational, rehabilitation, educational, substance abuse, marriage, relationship, or family counseling.  A counselor provides professional evaluations, information, and suggestions designed to enhance the client’s ability to solve problems, make decisions, and effect desired changes in attitude and behavior.

Counseling Process:  the interpersonal process engaged in by counselor and client as they attempt to define, address, and resolve specific problems of the client in face-to-face interviews.  See also COUNSELING.

Counseling Relationship the interaction between counselor and client in which the relationship is professional yet also characterized by empathic warmth and authenticity, with the counselor bringing professional training, experience, and personal insight to bear on the problems revealed by the client.  Their relationship is considered be of central importance in bringing about desired change.

Holistic Education is a form of psychotherapy, derived from the approach of holistic medicine, in which the therapist serves as a teacher and the client as student. The therapist aims to create conditions within which the student may choose to learn.  For maximum growth, all aspects of the client’s physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual life should be explored and enveloped.

9.  APA College Dictionary of Psychology, 2012

Please note that this dictionary is specifically referred to as a ‘reference’ work.

Psychotherapist an individual who has been professional trained and licensed to treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders by psychological means.

Definition of Psychotherapy:  any psychological service provided by a trained professional that primarily uses forms of communication and interaction to assess, diagnose, and treat dysfunctional emotional reactions, ways f thinking, and behavior patterns of an individual, family or group.  There are many types of psychology, but generally they fall into four major categories:

(a)  Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: defn.  those forms of psychotherapy, falling within or deriving from the psychoanalytic tradition, that view individuals as reacting to unconscious forces (eg motivation, drive), that focus on processes of change and development and that place a premium on self-understanding and making meaning of what is unconscious.  Most psychodynamic approaches share common features, such as emphasis on dealing with the unconscious in treatment, emphasis on the role of analyzing transference, and the use of dream analysis and interpretation.

(b)  Cognitive Therapy or Behavioral Therapy: defn.

Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that applies the principles of operant conditioning and Pavlovian conditioning to eliminate symptoms and modify ineffective or maladaptive patters of behavior.  The focus of theis therapy is upon the behavior itself and the contingencies and environmental factors that reinforce it, rather than exploration of the underlying psychological causes of the behavior.  A wide variety of techniques are used, such s Biofeedback, modeling and systematic desensitization.

Cognitive Therapy (CT) is a form of psychotherapy based on the concept that emotional and behavioral problems in an individual are, at least in part, the result of maladaptive or faulty ways of thinking and distorted attitudes toward oneself and others.  The objective of the therapy is to identify these faulty cognitions and replace them with more adaptive ones, a process known as cognitive restructuring.  The therapist takes the role of an active guide who attempts to make the client aware of these distorted thinking patterns and who helps the client correct and revise his or her perceptions and attitudes by citing evidence to the contrary or by eliciting it from the client.

(c)  Humanistic Therapy, defn.  any of a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches that seek to foster personal growth through direct experience and focus on the development of human potential, the here and now, concrete personality change, responsibility for oneself, and trust in natural process and spontaneous feeling.  Some examples of humanistic therapy are Client-centered Therapy, Gestalt Therapy and Existential Psychotherapy.

(d)  Integrative Psychotherapy, defn.  psychotherapy that selects models or techniques from various therapeutic schools to suit the client’s particular problems.

10.  Therapeutic Relationship:  Due to the definitions in the various professional Dictionaries, if you are interacting with any individual for the purpose of assisting him/her with any of the whole range of possible human issues listed in the legislation, whether on a fee-based or pro bono basis, using verbal or non-verbal means, your relationship is considered a ‘therapeutic relationship’.


Please see our Controlled Act of Psychotherapy page for more information about other key terms.

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