7 Unique Therapies – UConn Center for Career Development

When you hear the word “therapy”, do you imagine someone lying on a sofa talking while the therapist makes notes in the corner? Certain types of therapy embody this image of counseling, such as psychodynamic therapy, in which the patient talks about his or her feelings, problems, and thoughts and the therapist responds. However, there are many unique types of treatment that you have probably never heard of which take different forms. This article will dive in depth and discuss various applications and benefits.

1. Animal-assisted care

Animal Care (AAT) is something UCon offers here on campus in the form of pet care! In this type of counseling, the patient interacts with an animal, usually a dog or horse, while talking to the caregiver. AAT has been shown to reduce stress levels as well as anger and aggression; Reduce hostility towards oneself and towards others; Improve social interactions; Increase self-esteem, patience and confidence; And provide a sense of empowerment. Physically, patients experience a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure along with an increase in endorphins. The combination of these benefits leads to an overall improvement in mood and at least anxiety. Human patients are not the only ones who benefit – the treatment animals enjoy the attention and also have a positive experience.

2. Art therapy

For those who enjoy being creative, art therapy may be helpful. In this type of counseling, patients are able to create using different mediums and may also analyze works of art of others. Common art forms include painting, drawing, sculpture, carving, pottery making and collage making. Art therapy is beneficial for a wide range of topics, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, diseases like cancer or heart disease, eating disorders and family conflicts and relationships. Art therapy is helpful for those who may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally – in fact, this type of counseling works very well for non-verbal patients.

3. Hypnotherapy

A more controversial form of treatment is known as hypnosis, in which hypnosis is used to make patients more sensitive to the discussion of memories, thoughts, and behaviors. The therapist uses perceptual cues, including auditory and visual cues, to evoke the hypnotic state. There is some debate about the effectiveness of this form of counseling, but proponents argue that hypnotherapy is helpful in treating phobias, addictions, and harmful habits.

4. Cinema therapy

In film therapy, also known as cinema therapy, patients watch movies for therapeutic purposes. Proponents of this treatment believe that personal reflection is expressed in patients when they experience the sensations created by music, dialogue, lighting and other thematic aspects. Film therapy is used in many types of counseling, such as family, individual and group, but has been shown to be particularly helpful for couples. Therapists hand out a film to clients and discuss how to watch it consciously. The reactions to the film are discussed in the follow-up meeting, which can reassure those who are experiencing difficulties in opening up. They can relate their experiences to the character in the film, so it may be easier to share.

5. Music therapy

People use music for a variety of things – to feel calm, to relate to words, to have something to listen to while cleaning or doing homework – and music therapy uses music to improve and maintain the overall well-being of customers. This form of treatment uses both active and receptive forms. Active forms say that the person creates music, whether by singing, humming, using musical instruments, etc. Absorption forms mean that the person is listening to music and can include it in the word analysis. Music therapy has been shown to help clients relax as well as improve their mental functioning, especially for those with Alzheimer’s. Music therapy has also been used to help produce speech among stroke victims, improve fine motor skills for people with disabilities and help autistic children strengthen their emotional intelligence.

6. Handling a sand tray

Sand Tray Handling uses sand to allow the client to build his inner world through which he can express himself. Often, this type of treatment is used for children, but can also be used for teens and adults, especially trauma victims who may have difficulty with voice. There are usually miniatures, figurines and different colors of sand to allow people to build scenes from their lives and play different scenarios or recreate events that happened. Therapists often guide and encourage expression and can incorporate other therapeutic aspects, such as music, to help create a relaxed environment.

7. Desert care

The last type of unique treatment we will engage in is desert care. This type of counseling is primarily for adolescents to help them change behavior patterns or negative thinking patterns. Desert care encourages self-discovery and includes trips to wildlife areas, skills training and team building activities. The treatment is designed to mimic the challenges found in the world in order to help prepare the participants for life after the end of the trip. Adolescents learn how to develop healthy boundaries and form positive relationships, as well as how to take feedback and criticism into account. Overall, desert care helps participants gain self-confidence, confidence and communication skills.

For more information on each of these treatments (and more!), Visit goodtherapy.org.


GoodTherapy editorial team. “Animal-assisted psychotherapy.” Types of treatment, GoodTherapy, January 8, 2019, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/animal-assisted-therapy.

GoodTherapy editorial team. “Art therapy.” Types of treatment, GoodTherapy, April 18, 2016, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/art-therapy.

GoodTherapy editorial team. “Hypnotherapy.” Types of treatment, GoodTherapy, February 12, 2015, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/hypnotherapy.

GoodTherapy editorial team. “Handling Movies.” Types of treatment, GoodTherapy, 23 November 2015, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/movie-therapy.

GoodTherapy editorial team. “Music Therapy.” Types of treatment, GoodTherapy, December 22, 2015, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/music-therapy.

GoodTherapy editorial team. “Handling sand trays.” Types of treatment, GoodTherapy, May 3, 2020, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/sand-tray-sand-play-therapy.

GoodTherapy editorial team. “Desert Care.” Types of treatment, GoodTherapy, March 1, 2016, https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/wilderness-therapy.


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