Psychotherapy is currently one of the most reliable ways to treat mental disorders, and its importance remains high. Our World In Data reported that more than 10% of the world population suffered from mental illnesses by 2017. But what’s even more alarming is that those numbers were expected to rise.
By definition, mental illness is simply any condition that affects an individual’s behavior, mood, or thought patterns. These conditions are often chronic and have an impact on one’s ability to perform daily activities and relate with others. The most common mental disorders are:
- Bipolar disorder
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
In this no-holds-barred contest of life and death, mental illness has humanity in a chokehold, and, even worse, it keeps getting tighter. However, not all hope is lost — psychotherapy is on the rescue! Stick around as we break down the popular types of mental health therapy.
Professionals at EZCare Clinic offer different kinds of psychotherapy. Find the approach that suits you best.
What Is Psychotherapy?
In the fight against mental disorders, there are two major weapons in our arsenal, including biomedical treatment and psychotherapy. Generally, reliable research projects show that psychotherapy, also referred to as mental therapy, is currently in the lead. So, what is therapy in mental health anyway? To be precise, psychotherapy is categorized as a form of talk therapy. Patients who have a mental illness seek help from mental health experts for this kind of treatment. The process involves oral communication between the patient and the professional in a safe, confidential space. The patients explain their thoughts, feelings, and actions to the medical practitioner, who then provides them with effective and healthy coping mechanisms. The therapist leads the treatment session and may inquire about past or current experiences, occurrences, or relationships. Such information helps a professional to connect the dots and provide befitting insight. Therapy treatment comes in many forms, depending on the patient’s condition. Let’s break down five different types of mental health therapy.
Common Types of Psychotherapy Explained
Treatment of mental health disorders does not conform to a one-size-fits-all approach. Different individuals express mental illnesses differently; thus, they all require a personalized treatment scheme. Over the years, five types of therapy for depression and other disorders have proved the most useful. Here is an in-depth analysis of each.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy intently focuses on a person’s relationships through analyzing and modifying their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Therapists begin by finding unhealthy patterns that often point towards self-destructive beliefs and behavior that greatly reduce one’s quality of life. A patient can nullify these patterns with a therapist and replace them with positive ones that create a healthy belief system and constructive behavior. For example, if you suffer from low self-esteem, the doctor will help you replace thoughts like “I am not good enough” with productive ones like “I am well capable, based on my own previous experiences.”
In this type of psychotherapy, a therapist often assigns the patient some tasks that they should perform outside therapy. A popular technique is whereby one is asked to journal all their negative thoughts, which helps to notice the self-destructive patterns, ensuring a faster recovery. Consequently, patients are encouraged to start changing negative thoughts with more realistic ones based on tangible evidence in their lives.
American author and a recognized psychologist Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D., claims that there is documented evidence showing the effectiveness of psychodynamic therapy for anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and stress-related disorders. This type of psychotherapy seeks to rectify the core of one’s emotional suffering, which often results from inner contradictions, emotional blind spots, and relationship patterns. In this treatment, the therapist looks into the patient’s past and maps out behaviors and patterns that they might not be aware of, to begin with. Great emphasis is focused on family, relationships, and the responses a person adopted during childhood that is still controlling their subconscious. Traumatic experiences like parents’ divorce, alcoholism, chronic illness, bullying, and many more trigger unhealthy response mechanisms during childhood. Their effects are evident in adult life, mostly through behavior and thought patterns.
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Dialectical therapy is derived from cognitive-behavioral therapy, and thus, they share a few basic principles. It was originally used to treat patients with predominantly suicidal thoughts and borderline personality disorder. The crux of this type of psychotherapy is to help the patient to accept uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, and behavior rather than struggle with them until they realize that they can overcome that. Primarily, a therapist helps to find the balance between accepting the mental condition and working to change the aspects that one finds undesirable. They also teach patients how to practice mindfulness and administer exercises to practice outside of therapy. Such include the adoption of new behavioral and thought patterns. Dialectical therapy applies positive reinforcement to trigger constructive change. It also improves mental strengths, reduces lethargy, and eliminates self-destructive spirals.
Interpersonal therapy is a majorly introspective treatment. A person needs to work closely with a therapist, as that relationship is their greatest tool. It proves instrumental if the patient is trying to work on their current relationships with a sibling, spouse, friend, or parent. However, for such therapy to work, there’s a catch. A therapist should exhibit an unconditional positive attitude towards the patient, should be genuinely interested in their wellbeing, and avoid being judgmental at all costs. Such a rapport enables the patient to express their thought process confidently and without fear so as to modify their unhealthy patterns and mend their relationships.
Exposure therapy is primarily used to treat phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders. The therapist helps the patient find out what triggers their anxiety and takes them through the various techniques to help them avoid becoming anxious when faced with these stimuli. In this case, the patients are encouraged to confront their triggers in a controlled environment, and they can safely practice the previously learned techniques to overcome their anxiety.
Exposure therapy is administered in two main ways. First, the stimuli are presented in little quantities that gradually increase as the patient masters their reaction towards them. Alternatively, flooding could be applied. In this technique, a person is exposed to many of their stimuli all at once, and they have to use the right strategies to overcome their fear.
Choosing the Most Suitable Psychotherapy for You
Psychotherapy produces varied results for different people. Therefore, you shouldn’t take a rigid approach towards it but rather evaluate yourself before making up your mind. Here are a few useful questions you could ask yourself to find out the type of psychotherapy that suits you best:
- What end goal are you interested in achieving?
- Do you want to attend therapy independently, or would you prefer group counseling? If you were not comfortable with the group, would you rather have a family member, friend, or spouse accompany you?
- Do you suppose you need to take medication alongside psychotherapy? Book an appointment with a psychiatrist to get a personalized treatment plan and to administer your prescription if the doctor finds it imperative.
After establishing these facts, you should get a licensed psychotherapist you can count on to define the best treatment approach. However, you might need to try out a few approaches before settling for the one that appears to work for you. Quick tip? If you have difficulty connecting with your psychotherapist, consider trying out others until you find one with whom you are comfortable.
Mental illness is real, and it could happen to anyone. Do not shy away if you need help. Keep in mind that there are different types of psychotherapy that produce quantifiable results.
So, take your time, find the one that best suits you, and discuss it with a qualified talk therapist. They care about your well-being, and so should you!