Therapy is a form of treatment that entails meeting and working with a specialist to help resolve emotional or mental issues. Therapy can also be defined as a positive way to deal with pain, trauma, or life difficulties to become happier, healthier, and more peaceful. Read along to learn more about therapy options and benefits.
Many people consider seeking help from a mental health professional, especially when:
- Coping with significant life changes or transition
- Managing addiction or substance abuse
- Managing anxiety and depression
- Wanting to better your life or yourself
- Exploring relationship issues
- Having suicidal or self-harm thoughts
- Going through a crisis
- Having eating disorders
- Experiencing difficult family dynamics
Regardless of your reason, therapy offers many benefits for all of us. Read along to learn the types of therapy and their benefits.
Therapy Options – Talk Therapy
Talk therapy, also called psychotherapy, is a process in which a patient attends sessions with a licensed professional, therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychiatrist to talk through their experiences.
In psychotherapy, a therapist discusses the issues and psychiatric conditions with an individual to evaluate, treat, and diagnose specific mental health issues. The psychologist helps individuals process and resolve disorders that may have interfered with one’s daily activities.
Talk therapy allows people to discuss their goals, concerns, and challenges without being judged. Therapy sessions are strictly confidential.
At first, the psychiatrist will ask several questions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the person’s background and history. This helps them decide on the best form of treatment.
Questions at this point revolve around the following:
- Past traumas
- Family history of mental health issues
- How the issues are affecting the patient’s daily activities
- What the patient aim to achieve through talk therapy
Once the therapist has this information, it’s easier to proceed with treatment.
There is no limit on the number of talk therapy sessions. A therapist recommends regular sessions until the patient makes some lifestyle improvements.
In talk therapy sessions, the psychologist helps you in many ways, including:
- Coping with stress and anxiety
- Process past traumatic experiences
- Understanding your emotions
- Breaking unhealthy habits
- Pinpointing triggers
- Discussing possible lifestyle changes
Talk therapy also helps treat or reduce various health conditions, including:
- Situational or clinical depression
- Substance abuse or addiction
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Bipolar disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Eating disorders
This is not a comprehensive list of conditions that talk therapy benefits. Any condition that interferes with daily life can benefit from talk therapy sessions.
Therapy Options – Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy is an action-oriented, focused approach to treating mental health.
The behavioral theory states that some behaviors emerge from things you learned in the past. These behaviors can cause distress or affect your life negatively.
Behavioral therapy can help you change your behavioral responses.
Unlike talk therapy, you don’t spend much time talking about your behavior or working through emotional difficulties in behavioral therapy. Instead, you learn to change behavioral reactions and actions that cause distress.
The following are behavioral therapy subtypes:
- Systematic desensitization. This behavioral therapy combines relaxation exercises with subjection to something you fear. This helps you slowly get used to replacing feelings of anxiety and fear with relaxation responses.
- Flooding. This is similar to systematic desensitization, but it entails facing your fears from the start instead of slowly. For example, if you have a dog phobia, your first step might be staying in a room of playful, friendly dogs. In systematic desensitization, your first step would be looking at dog pictures.
- Aversion therapy. In this therapy, learn to associate the behavior you want to change with anything that you hate. This may help you stop the behavior.
Behavioral therapy helps address:
- Anxiety and depression
- Addiction and substance use
- Behavioral issues from emotional challenges
- Defiant and oppositional behaviors
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder. (OCD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a short-term mental health treatment approach. It’s like behavioral therapy, but it also addresses problematic thoughts.
CBT sessions work on identifying patterns and how they negatively affect you. With therapist guidance, you’ll learn ways to replace the negative patterns with accurate and helpful ones.
Like behavioral therapy, CBT doesn’t address past events. It addresses existing symptoms and makes changes.
CBT often involves practice outside therapy sessions. This practice helps reinforce and apply new skills learned in therapy.
CBT has some subtypes, including:
- Rational emotive therapy. It involves learning how to fight irrational beliefs that lead to emotional distress. The idea behind this therapy is to replace irrational thoughts with more rational ones to improve your well-being.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) focuses on acceptance and emotional regulation. It entails learning how to accept and deal with emotional distress when they arise.
CBT may be good therapy for addressing:
- Phobias and anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Bipolar disorders and depression
- Substance use disorders
- Symptoms of schizophrenia
When combined with medication, CBT helps treat other significant conditions.
Therapy Options – Humanistic Therapy
Humanistic therapy focuses on human potential, free will, and self-discovery. It focuses on helping you develop a healthy and robust sense of self, find meaning, explore feelings, and focus on your strength.
Your therapist will guide you towards the goal of living a fulfilling life by enabling you to be your true self. Humanistic therapy helps you cope with negative judgment from others.
There are several subtypes of humanistic therapy, including:
- Existential therapy. In this approach to treatment, aim at concepts like taking responsibility for your options and freedom to make these options. You may spend time with your therapist talking about what specific things in your life mean and how to find greater meaning in life.
- Person-centered therapy. This type of therapy believes that emotional distress can result from critics and disapproval from others. Psychiatrists offer empathy, acceptance, and guidance to help you work on personal growth and change.
Humanistic therapy is helpful in addressing:
- Effects of trauma
- Self-esteem issues
- Difficulty coping with chronic health issues
- Substance use or addiction
- Relationship issues
- Feelings of worthlessness
That’s it. Those are the benefits and options of therapy.