All You Need to Know About Insight Therapy

Phi Atratus
  • Apr 05, 2022
  • 5 min read
student studying in park

Insight is the ability to acquire information or new awareness about a thing or person. An example is when you’re working on a problem, and you suddenly arrive at the solution for it. 

Insight therapy, like other forms of therapy, provides a safe, non-judgmental space for you to reflect, explore, and gain insight into the distressing areas in your life that you’re currently struggling with. The newer forms of insight therapy also help you discover inner strengths that can enhance your well-being.

Insight therapy aims to create connections between new information generated in therapy and your present circumstances. It is not one but rather a group of therapies that promote your mental health by generating an awareness of your conflicts and problems. 

Insight therapy helps address two major questions; the first is what are the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs causing the negative behaviors, and the second is why you behave in this way.

Once you become aware of the what and why of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior, you are more likely to make changes to enhance your well-being.

Types of Insight Therapy


One of the primary reasons therapy might fail is that you may have no insight into your problem. The gaining of insight is a critical component of psychoanalysis. Most often, actions, thoughts, and feelings are expressed deliberately by you, but there are also some which are uttered without deliberate thought.

Every day, your deliberate and non-deliberate thoughts may be in constant conflict. The goal of psychoanalysis is to balance the two and help you discover the roots of your problems. This therapy also helps establish a balance between your pleasure needs, your reality, and your morality. 

In one of the techniques, the therapist encourages you to say whatever comes to your mind without censoring to further understand the cause of the conflict or anxiety.

Humanistic therapy

Humanistic therapy emphasizes your capacity to grow and change. For example, the therapist provides you with empathy and emotional support to understand the roots of your problem. Unlike psychoanalysis, where the therapist takes the lead, you are the one leading the conversation in this therapy.

A technique primarily used in humanistic therapy is active listening, where the therapist reflects your feelings by mirroring statements and body language. This helps the therapist understand your unique view of the world.

Gestalt therapy

In this therapy, the therapist encourages you to focus on what’s presently occurring in your life without focusing on past events in order to improve self-awareness. For example, a therapist may role-play a previously upsetting experience with you and then discuss how the experience makes you feel right now. You can then understand how your reactions shape what happens to you.

Compared to psychoanalysis and humanistic therapy, Gestalt therapy uses more active exercises rather than focusing solely on the talk itself.

Integrative therapy

Sometimes, your counselor may choose several models of counseling and psychotherapy together. An integrative therapist might use a person-centered approach to build a trusting and safe relationship. 

After significant rapport has been established with you, the therapist may switch to cognitive behavioral therapy and may attempt to challenge your irrational thoughts. A blend of appropriate techniques and approaches can provide you with the necessary support and guidance to overcome your problems.

The advantage of integrative therapy is that you may benefit from a combination of approaches compared to only one form of therapy. Therefore, the counselor tailors the therapeutic process to you.

How Does Insight Therapy Work?

Insight-oriented therapies tend to revolve around the idea that changing your understanding of yourself and your actions will promote positive change in your life. For example, let’s say you see a therapist to overcome your persistent feelings of sadness

Over the course of several sessions, you realize that you always feel worse at work than anywhere else. Empowered by this realization, you decide to find a new job, and your sadness gradually diminishes.

Cognitive behavioral therapies tend to be less concerned with meaning or insight and more oriented toward the beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors that are present in the moment. In the sessions, you may find out about some deeply negative beliefs about your ability to perform well in a job you like. 

The therapist may then try challenging those beliefs rationally in online therapy, then test them in the real world by way of a hobby or volunteer activity you enjoy, then encourage you to try filling out an application or resume for a new job.

Insight Therapy Techniques

All insight therapy techniques aim to help you obtain some form of insight. Depending on their specialization, the therapist may use different techniques in insight therapy.

Dream analysis in psychoanalysis

The psychoanalyst uncovers unconscious content (information that is outside of your awareness) by interpreting the symbols within your dreams. These symbols are interpreted on the basis of a set standard. As the dreams are interpreted, the therapist helps you develop insight into the causes of your problems. 

Humanistic therapy techniques

Humanistic therapy is based more on a way of being rather than a therapy technique. It focuses on understanding and caring instead of diagnosis and advice. The therapist helps you work on incongruence in your life and does this by being genuine and empathetic and providing you with unconditional positive regard.

Empty chair technique in Gestalt therapy

This is a role-playing exercise that allows you to imagine and participate in a conversation with another person or another part of yourself. Sitting across from an empty chair, you enter into dialogue as if you were speaking with that other person or part of yourself. 

This exercise can be very helpful in drawing out important perceptions, meanings, and other information that can help you become more aware of your emotional experience and how to start healing.

It’s important to remember that no technique is one-size-fits-all. If something works for you, it may not work for someone else. You and your therapist can discover what works best for you as the therapy progresses.

Is Insight Therapy Effective?

A study was conducted to see the difference in the long-term effectiveness of insight and non-insight therapies. It was found that people who entered insight therapy had greater psychological sophistication and felt better compared to their counterparts who entered non-insight therapy. Online therapy has been found to be as effective as in-person therapy, and it offers a number of advantages:

  • No traveling needed: The thought of traveling from one place to another can be exhausting in and by itself. Online counseling provides a quick way to get in touch with your therapist from the comfort of your home.
  • Privacy and anonymity: A lot of people opt for online counseling because they have the option to keep their cameras off and their identity hidden. Eventually, most of them become comfortable enough to open up, but doing so at their own pace makes them feel more secure.
  • Ease of scheduling: Scheduling is simply more convenient with more options at your disposal. Selecting a particular type of therapy and therapist is only a few clicks away.
  • Your mode of communication: Comfort and convenience are a highlight of insight therapy. Whether it’s on a phone call, voice or text chat, you choose how your therapy happens. 

What’s the Bottom Line?

A variety of factors lead people to encounter extremely difficult periods in their lives, leaving them with overwhelming feelings of distress, hopelessness, and frustration. Many people find therapy to be a tremendous asset in managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family conflicts, and the hassles of daily life. At DoMental, we make this service accessible to you and help you enhance your mental health.

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