Psychotherapy is an integral part of mental health care. What everyone knew intuitively has been proven in scientific studies. Patients get better and stay better when psychotherapy is part of the treatment plan. In fact, there are some people who will recover through psychotherapy alone.
Which type of psychotherapy and which therapist is the question.
There are hundreds of psychotherapy orientations. Some approaches seem to work better with specific problems such as Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.
The most important element in therapy is not necessarily the specific type of therapy, but your relationship with the therapist.
Here are a few of the more common types of therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviors that lead to or contribute to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Little attention is given to childhood experiences or unconscious drives. The focus is on the here and now. Patient and therapist work as partners to reframe thoughts in more productive and positive ways. This approach lends itself to a shorter course of treatment.
CBT has been shown to be an effective form of treatment for adults, children and adolescents for depression and OCD.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy or IPT Like CBT this approach looks more at the here and now of relationships. Problems with transitions, role disputes and conflicts are examined in “real-time”. You and your therapist work together to understand and reshape the relationships in your life. IPT also has been shown an effective form of treatment for problems like depression.
is closer to what is often considered "therapy". Here experiences from your past are acknowledged to be an important cause for mood and anxiety. This therapy seeks to uncover these issues. By resolving the deep held conflicts of your inner self you can have more satisfying relationships now.
This approach to treatment is harder to study and so has not been shown as effective as other therapies to treat depression and anxiety. It often takes longer to reach a satisfactory outcome. Your therapist is less of a participant in this process as an observer or guide.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT was developed in the 1990s as a way to help people with significant difficulties in their relationships. Often done in groups and by a DBT trained therapist, patients here learn to tolerate unpleasant feelings and impulses toward self- harm.
may sound like what your do for your friends, but in therapy has a different meaning. The approach is more casual sessions are less frequent, problems usually less severe. This is a common method of treatment in out patient settings. Supportive psychotherapy may be used in research studies comparing a particular treatment.
Family/Marital Therapy is a different approach to mental health problems. The family or couple is seen together and the relationships or “system” is the area of change. Many patients will undergo both individual and family counseling at the same time.