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Mental Health

Different types of Therapy and how do they work?

Therapy, also known as counseling, is a treatment to help or cure a mental or physical illness, usually without using drugs or medical operations. The issues resolved basically involve problematic behaviours, relationship issues, feelings etc.

There are different kinds of therapy available today and depending on the specific condition that you have, you can go for the one that deals with the issues you are facing.

When you begin your therapy journey, you would start it by discussing the issues that you are facing currently with your therapist. It includes your behaviour, emotions and different challenging situations affecting your life.

In this article, we will have a look at different types of therapies and how they work.

1. Behavioral therapy

This form of therapy basically seeks to identify and help change potentially self-destructive behaviors. Behavioral therapy states that certain behaviours which might affect your life in a negative way, develop from the experiences that you have gone through in the past.

This, thus helps you to change your behavioral response.

During the behavioral therapy, instead of talking about various reasons for your behavior, you would focus on ways to change that behavior and patterns that cause distress.

What it’s helpful for:

  • anxiety
  • phobias
  • substance use disorder
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • oppositional and defiant behaviors
  • behavioral issues that result from communication difficulties or emotional challenges

2. Psychodynamic therapy

This form of therapy involves the interpretation of mental and emotional processes rather than focusing on behavior.

Psychodynamic therapists attempt to help clients find patterns in their emotions, thoughts, and beliefs in order to gain insight into their current self. According to experts, these patterns are usually found to begin in the patient’s childhood as psychodynamic theory holds that psychological development is largely influenced by your early life experiences.

According to Richard F. Summers, “We see the central task of psychotherapy as the rewriting of a more complex and useful narrative of the patient’s life and experience”.

What it’s helpful for:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • eating disorders
  • somatic symptoms
  • substance use disorder

3. Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior and emotions.

This type of therapy is similar to behavioral therapy, but it also addresses problematic thought patterns that can cause or worsen emotional difficulties, anxiety and depression.

The underlying concept behind CBT is that thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in behavior and certain feeling that you have about yourself can lead to distress in your life.

The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to teach people that while they cannot control every aspect of the world around them. They should thus learn to deal with these aspects of their life.

Cognitive behavioral therapist would help you in exploring different ways to replace negative thought patterns with ones which are more helpful.

Like behavioral therapy, here you would spend less time addressing past events, and would focus more on addressing existing patterns and thus making changes.

What it’s helpful for:

  • OCD
  • mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder
  • anxiety and phobias
  • eating disorders
  • substance use disorders
  • insomnia
  • some symptoms of schizophrenia

4. Humanistic therapy

Humanistic therapy is a positive approach to psychotherapy that focuses on patient’s individual nature, rather than categorizing groups of people with same patterns as having same problems.

This therapy thus looks at human as a whole and not just from the therapist’s point of view but also helps patient observe their own behavior.

It emphasises on a person’s positive traits and channelises their ability to use their personal instincts to find wisdom, growth, healing, and fulfillment within themselves.

What it’s helpful for:

  • self-esteem issues
  • difficulty coping with chronic health concerns
  • effects of trauma
  • depression
  • relationship issues
  • substance use disorder
  • feelings of worthlessness or being lost in life

How to Choose the best therapy?

With so many types of therapies available, it might get overwhelming to decide which one should you go for? It’s therefore advised to learn about various techniques and procedures and choose the one best fit for you.

An option for people these days is to try online therapy, where they can consult a licensed therapist by phone, email, or texting. This can make it easier for people with packed schedules to get help when they need it, on their own time.

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