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Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP)

What kind of therapy is it?

FAP is part of the “third wave” of behavioural therapies - those that focus less on the content of your thoughts and feelings than on how you respond to them.

What problems can it help with?

FAP aims to help with a wide range of problems such as depression and anxiety, and is particularly helpful for managing relationship and interpersonal difficulties.

How does it work?

FAP sees relationships as centrally important to wellbeing, and uses the relationship between therapist and client to improve the quality of the client’s relationships in the wider world. The client and therapist explore how the client’s behaviour helps or harms relationships, and work together to strengthen the helpful forms of behaviour. The aim is for the client to develop greater awareness of their and others’ needs, more openness with others, and the ability to respond positively and courageously to their and others’ vulnerability.

What is a typical session like?

FAP therapists will first ask you to think about what it is that you want from life, and then will think with you about which of your behaviours might be holding you back, and which new behaviours might move you forward. FAP therapists will engage with you in a way that is direct and authentic, providing “live” feedback on your way of relating to others. The result should be an experience of real connection, in the interests of improving your capacity to connect with others in your life.

What’s the evidence?

Evidence has not yet been collected on the effectiveness of FAP, but it is currently undergoing evaluation in a number of clinical trials.

Further reading:
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy


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