Chapter Summary

A psychological intervention is an interaction between a therapist and a patient that aims to elicit changes in the patient’s behaviour, cognition or emotion. This chapter has explored some of the widely used psychological interventions, specifically psychodynamic, cognitive–behavioural, person-centred, motivational interviewing, as well as biological and pharmacological approaches. We have spent time looking at the theory behind each intervention, what they aim to do and how they work. We have also looked at the methods used by each intervention and whether they are effective and with whom.

There is a broad selection of psychological interventions that come from different perspectives and use different methods. All of these psychological interventions have been shown to be effective in relieving issues, and they are pretty similar in how effective they are. Some interventions have been shown to be better than others for specific issues, with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) used for depression and anxiety disorders, motivational interviewing for substance misuse and biological (drug) treatments for schizophrenia. Many interventions now integrate aspects from other approaches to maximize their effectiveness, with therapeutic alliance (from person-centred therapy), transference and countertransference (from psychodynamic therapy) and ‘rolling with resistance’ (from motivational interviewing) often seen in counselling sessions.