Types of Mental Health Therapy
There are many types of mental health therapies, also known as psychotherapy, that can be used to treat a wide range of mental disorders and mental health issues. A diverse range of therapy approaches exists because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health.
Psychotherapy can help individuals:
- Understand behaviours, emotions, and ideas that may be causing their illness and how to change them
- Identify the life events and traumas that may be at the root of their problems
- Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life
- Learn healthy ways to address issues and cope
- Learn how to work with others to resolve conflicts
Navigating the different types of psychotherapy, how they work, and what they can help treat can be overwhelming. There are many different types of psychotherapy, which can be used to treat an extensive range of problems including:
Behavioural therapy is a term to encapsulate many types of therapy that treat mental health disorders. This form of therapy seeks to identify and help change potentially self-destructive or unhealthy behaviours. Behavioural therapy is based on the idea that all behaviours are learned and that behaviours can be changed.
Therapists use a variety of different techniques to help clients identify potential behaviours that need changing. Some techniques include:
- Cognitive restructuring or reframing: a therapeutic process that helps the client discover, challenge, and modify or replace their negative, irrational thoughts
- Guided discovery: a process that a therapist uses to help their client reflect on the way that they process information
- Exposure therapy: a technique used by therapists to help people overcome fears and anxieties by breaking the pattern of fear and avoidance.
- Journaling and thought records: a tool used in therapy to help you recognize and change your unhelpful thoughts.
- Activity scheduling and behaviour activation: involves scheduling and participating in positive events that are meant to boost an individual’s mood.
- Behavioural experiments: an information gathering exercise with the purpose to test the accuracy of an individual’s beliefs, about themselves, others, and the world.
- Relaxation and stress reduction techniques: techniques used to control anxious thoughts and feelings, and make you feel calmer, such as meditation, yoga, massage, aromatherapy, etc.
- Role-playing: a tool used to practice communication skills and social interaction, working together to solve the client’s issue.
These techniques help an individual understand how changing their behaviour can lead to changes in how they are feeling, thus encouraging clients to strive for long-term changes.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can lead to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. Research suggests that cognitive behavioural therapy has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the principle that psychological problems are caused by unhelpful ways of thinking and learned patterns of unhelpful behaviour.
Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on what is going on currently a client’s life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about a client’s history is required, but the focus of cognitive behavioural therapy is primarily on moving forward to develop more effective ways of coping with their lives.
CBT treatment usually involves efforts to change patterns of thinking and behavioural patterns. Strategies might include:
- Learning to recognize one’s thinking habits and distortions that are creating problems and learning to reevaluate them
- Gaining a better understanding of the behaviour and motivation of others
- Learning problem-solving techniques to cope with difficult situations
- Learning to increase confidence in one’s own abilities
- Facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them
- Using role-playing techniques to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others
- Learning to calm one’s mind and relax one’s body in difficult situations
Cognitive behavioural therapists use different strategies for each client. The therapist and patient/client work together to develop an understanding of the problem and to develop a treatment strategy that best suits what the client seeks to improve on.
Cognitive behavioural therapy often involves “homework” for clients, which helps individuals learn to be their own therapists as their progress through their treatment.
Exercises outside of therapy sessions are designed to help clients develop coping skills, that can help them learn to change their own thinking, problematic emotions, and behaviour.
Integrative or holistic therapy
This approach is used by many therapists who do not tie themselves to any one approach of therapy and instead blend elements from different approaches to tailor their treatment to each client’s specific needs and therapy goals. By tailoring the therapy to the individual and using a diverse range of techniques, integrative therapists hope to produce the most significant effects for their clients.
This approach can be exceptionally effective if a client’s therapeutic needs go beyond the scope of one approach of therapy. This type of therapy is especially helpful for clients who require help making changes and developments to many aspects of their life including thinking and behavioural patterns, lifestyle habits, and coping strategies.
- Animal-assisted therapy: working with dogs or other animals to bring comfort, help with communication, and help cope with trauma.
- Creative arts therapy: Using art, dance, drama, music, and poetry therapies as a means to express emotions, bring comfort and help cope
- Play therapy: Used to help children identify and talk about their emotions and feelings
- Combining multiple therapeutic approaches can help clients receive more holistic treatment and be set up for success as they move forward after their treatment.
If you are interested in mental health therapy, search medimap.ca to learn more about therapy options available in your area.
About the author
Shereen is a passionate marketing professional with over 7 years of experience in executing traditional and digital marketing strategies across diverse industries. With a background in both agency and client-side roles, Shereen has successfully implemented effective marketing campaigns that have yielded a positive return on investment. As an energetic individual, Shereen possesses strong organizational and communication skills, ensuring seamless team coordination and collaboration. She thrives in process-driven environments, paying meticulous attention to detail while remaining focused on achieving results. With a proven ability to manage multiple projects in competitive and fast-paced settings, she is dedicated to driving success through strategic marketing initiatives.