Everyone needs medical attention at some time in their lives. If you were injured and have a mobility problem, your healthcare provider may recommend physical or occupational therapy. But if you’re having trouble coping with emotions or complex relationships, different kinds of psychotherapy or other therapy may be helpful.
What Is Psychotherapy?
For mental health issues, someone may talk to a healthcare professional about psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”). But what is it? The term refers to various treatment methods to help someone in distress recognize and alter problematic emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Most talk therapy sessions occur under the guidance of a licensed, trained mental healthcare professional who runs a patient meeting with one person or with more than one in a group setting.
A Few of the More Common Types of Therapy
Depending on your mental health condition, especially its symptoms and frequency, your overall health, and other factors, you and your healthcare provider may discuss treatment options. There are many kinds of therapy to choose from, but, ultimately, the decision is yours.
A mental health specialist may try this approach to help someone recognize unconscious beliefs which could affect their mood and behavior, often due to something that happened during their childhood. For example, if you were disciplined when you were a child because you weren’t an A-grade student, you might have an unconscious notion that you’ll be punished for anything that isn’t perfect.
Rather than the approach used in psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapy zeros in on current events in your life. Why a behavior started isn’t the focus, it’s more concerned with the barriers to altering it and why such behavior gets rewarded.
There are subsets of behavioral therapy worth exploring, including:
- Systematic desensitization gradually introduces exposure to something you could fear, like bees.
- Aversion therapy focuses on creating consequences for behaviors you’d instead stop doing, like biting your nails.
- A more direct approach to dealing with phobias, a type of behavioral therapy called flooding, puts you in a position where you’re challenged with your fear or phobia to process all feelings concurrently.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy blends some of the philosophies of behavioral therapy with the idea that your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors are interconnected and affect one another.
Dialectical behavioral therapy
This type of therapy originated as an explicit treatment for borderline personality disorder, focusing on building skills to cope with challenging situations. Dialectical refers to a logical conversation of ideas and views, with the goal of figuring out how to cope with and accept problematic emotions.
Why Is Therapy Good?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 19% of all adults received mental health assistance as recently as 2019. This raises questions about the need for quality healthcare, plus circumstances that drive someone not to get help. Talk therapy and other kinds of therapy are particularly good at helping people deal with a range of conditions and build coping mechanisms to allow them to live healthy lives. Therapy may be good for treating:
- Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. It’s a chronic misery that harms a person’s quality of life.
- Anxiety is the most widespread mental health condition in the United States, affecting about 19% of the population.
- Obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are persistent, unwelcome thoughts. Usually, they’re fixated on a specific topic or goal. Compulsions are repeated, illogical behaviors that someone feels are necessary. People often do compulsions to reduce the stress triggered by their obsessions.
- Managing relationships. Therapy can also help you better your relationships by focusing on steps to open lines of communication with one another. You can use different kinds of therapy for a greater perspective on relationship issues that come up and as a preventative measure if a problem is detected on the horizon.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Before you and your healthcare provider settle on the best type of therapy for your situation, you’ll first need to undergo a thorough physical examination to see if there’s a hidden medical reason for your condition and if it can be treated. Then, a psychiatric assessment is ordered and focuses on thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In both cases, your personal and family medical and mental health history will be documented.
Once diagnosed, you can begin treatment. Besides those mentioned above, you may also be referred to ketamine therapy.