What Are the Different Types of Clinical Therapy?

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  • Written By: Glyn Sinclair
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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Clinical refers to diagnosis and treatment involving a direct and real time observation of a patient, usually in a clinic or medical environment. Therapy is a form of treatment that seeks to heal and relieve symptoms for a variety of disorders. There are a number of different types of clinical therapy. Some of these can include physical therapy, psychological therapy and pharmaceutical therapy. Clinical therapists treat disorders of the mind and emotions, whereas physical therapists will tend to a patient’s physical ailments.

Psychological therapy can cover a range of maladies, such as stress, substance abuse, emotional trauma and even interpersonal relationships. The sessions can take place strictly between the patient and therapist, or in group environments. The therapist will often work with medical doctors and specialists to maximize the patient’s healing. Clinical therapy also encompasses relaxation exercises and sessions where patients are counseled by a group of their peers. Biofeedback can also be employed to help in managing a patient’s disorder.


Clinical therapy can also include physical therapy. This field endeavors to help people that are suffering through some kind of physical disorder, such as arthritis, back pain and injuries that limit their physical range of movement. Physical therapists will also counsel people on how to prevent future injury by creating a fitness and strength training program for them. This form of clinical therapy uses manual manipulation of muscles and joints to expand the range of a patient’s movements and reduce chronic pain. Electrotherapy to stimulate muscles and nerves may sometimes be used as well.

Although psychological therapists do not typically prescribe medications for psychological dilemmas, there is a form of therapy known as pharmaceutical therapy, or drug therapy. This therapy treats conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and schizophrenia. These are debilitating disorders and they are usually treated by a medical doctor. Some of the drugs employed for pharmaceutical therapy include antipsychotic drugs such as thioridazine, and fluoxetine (Prozac®), which is used for depression. Drug therapy is often most effective when used in conjunction with psychological therapy.

It is quite common to find a degree of cross over between the different types of clinical therapy, with psychological, physical and pharmaceutical therapies all engaged as a means of promoting the maximum wellness for patients. Pharmaceuticals are often prescribed as a last resort, yet sometimes they are the key to patients being able to function normally.


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