People with mental health problems have access to various treatment and support services. Psychotherapy, sometimes known as “talk therapy,” is used to help people with mental health issues.
Starting therapy early helps to improve the outcome so find a therapist or doctor as soon as possible if you see mental health related warning signs. With proper care, patients can recover or find relief from their symptoms to have a fulfilling life.
TherapyRoute is a reliable tool for locating local mental health professionals like therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, and mental health clinics. Equipping yourself with knowledge can help you to reach out confidently, hence this article discusses therapeutic approaches for a range of mental health disorders.
Major Psychotherapeutic Treatments for Mental Health Issues
There are six main types of psychotherapy used by mental health professionals and which are:
Behavioral therapy aims to help the patient replace behaviors such as reliance and poor frustration tolerance with more desirable ones through interventions. One type of behavioral therapy commonly used to alleviate phobias is exposure therapy which aims to help patients overcome their fears by gradually exposing them to their triggers in a controlled setting. It helps alleviate anxiety and teaches people to confront their fears rather than run away.
There is a connection between cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy (thoughts are a kind of behavior). Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a hybrid approach combining elements of both therapy types. Behavioral therapy is based on the idea of learning, which proposes that irregular behaviors are the outcome of unsuccessful learning. Relearning, for example, through exposure, helps alleviate the trouble.
Cognitive therapy aids patients in recognizing cognitive biases and learning how thought processes contribute to emotional and behavioral difficulties. Some people, for instance, think that if they don’t attain perfect success, they are entirely failures.
The idea is that what happens to a person emotionally and behaviorally depends on how they perceive the events. Symptoms can be reduced, and progress can be made in behavior and emotion by identifying underlying beliefs and assumptions.
This kind of therapy has proven effective and especially efficient in targeting symptoms that are paired with conscious thought processes, like anxiety (people are judging me), low mood (life is pointless and I am useless), or compulsive rituals (my family will die if I dont tap this ten times).
Interpersonal therapy examines how you act and interact with your close personal relationships, such as family and friends. During this therapy, you will work to enhance your interpersonal communication skills and boost your confidence.
Treatment is effective for depression brought on by grief, strained relationships, life changes, or feeling isolated, typically lasting between three and four months. Mental health issues can be resolved with interpersonal therapy if they stem from the following:
- Sadness or interpersonal loss
- Disagreements in relationships
- Difficulties with intimacy and connection
- Feelings of isolation, rejection, or not belonging
- Adjusting to new roles in life, such as parenthood or caregiving
Psychoanalysis, created by Sigmund Freud in the early 20th century, is the original and oldest type of psychotherapy. It involves free association therapy, whereby the patient reclines on a couch four or five times a week in the therapist’s office and tries to express whatever thoughts or feelings come to mind.
The emphasis is on illuminating the individual’s current internal dynamics and relationship patterns in the context of their past experiences. A critical aspect of this emphasis is an analysis of the therapeutic bond between patient and therapist. When people reflect on their history and see how it influences their present, they can learn to adapt and grow as social and professional beings. Psychoanalysis is most appropriate in cases where symptoms are less specific (e.g. fear of flying) and appear as patterns that are unconsciously replicated through life (e.g. sabotaging success). It is also appropriate when a person stands to benefit from deepening their insight into themselves and how they relate to their lives, drives/wishes, and loved ones.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy draws on the same knowledge base as psychoanalysis but is applied in a more practical way. The process is also introspective rather than instructive, but it is typically less intensive and more interactive.
Like in psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to shed light on the underlying forces at play in a person’s current state of mind, behavior, and relationship patterns. However, just one to three sessions per week are required, and the patient is usually required to sit upright rather than lie on a couch. There is also a diminished focus on free association.
Being easier to research than psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy has a greater evidence base and is effective for depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorder, and interpersonal difficulties. Symptom reduction can take longer than with cognitive behavioral therapies, but some evidence suggest the changes achieved are broader and longer lasting.
Supportive psychotherapy is the most prevalent, and it centers on developing a mutually beneficial therapeutic alliance between the patient and the therapist. It’s a safe space for processing emotions, and the therapist is there to offer guidance through any issues that may arise. As a general approach, supportive psychotherapy is less focused on change and may not be rooted in any one protocol, treatment, approach, or evidence base. Hence, the quality and effectiveness of the therapy will depend much more on the talents and capacities of the therapist.
Keep in mind that your engagement in the therapy is essential to its success. Psychotherapy doesn’t happen to you. It demands consistency, hard work, and time. The more effort you put in, the faster the healing process will be. The power to take charge of your life and enjoy what life holds lies within you, but you might need help to find it.