5 Types of Mental Health Therapy

Mental health therapy involves a trained psychotherapist, but it also allows the patient to play a role in his or her healthcare. As a therapist, you will have several options open to you as to what type of therapy is more appropriate for each particular circumstance. This article explores some of those therapies that you may find yourself employing in your practice one day.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

With cognitive behavioral therapy, you have the benefit of two different types of therapy: cognitive and behavioral. The focus of a cognitive behavioral therapist is the patient’s thoughts and how they relate to the patient’s actions and moods. The therapist’s job is to help the patient think in a more constructive manner so that he or she can live a happier and healthier life. For example, a cognitive behavioral therapist will encourage his or her patients to stop performing behaviors that are harmful to him or her. Instead, they learn to address problems in a way that will solve them rather than compound them with destructive behaviors.

Dialectic Behavior Therapy

This therapy was constructed as a way to combat suicidal thinking. Dialectical refers to the discussion of two opposing viewpoints. In the session, discussion continues until both sides can arrive in the middle. The therapist always makes sure that the patient knows that his or her thoughts and feelings are valid and understandable. However, the patient has to come to understand that it is his or her obligation to make the changes that need to be made to have a better life. It is the therapist’s job to remind the patient every time that he or she steps outside of the acceptable boundaries of behavior and to change those behaviors.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy is a form of therapy that is used to treat depression. The focus of this therapy is on the way in which people relate to one another. In observing how their patients communicate with others, therapists identify the behaviors that are causing problems between the two people. Then, the therapist can bring those behaviors to the patient’s attention. The therapist also observes the triggers that come before troubling behaviors and helps the patient understand them. The next step is for the therapist to help the patient address those triggers in a healthier manner.

Family-Focused Therapy

Family-focused therapy was designed specifically for the treatment of bipolar disorder. The inventors of this therapy believed that the relationship that sufferers have with their family members is the key to treating this illness. The patient’s family members attend the therapy sessions with them so that the therapist can help everyone interact more constructively with each other. In the sessions, everyone learns how to address the patient’s behaviors so that they do not make the situation worse. The family members learn about the illness in therapy, and they learn to recognize the early signs of when their family member is relapsing back into bipolar disorder.

Light Therapy

Seasonal Affective Disorder is often treated with light therapy. In the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight, people suffering from SAD experience feelings of depression. During those particular seasons, the body’s rhythms are offset. When someone undergoes light therapy, he or she will sit in front of a light box for a period of time. Most often, this happens in the morning. The box emits a full spectrum of light, but the patient may be required to also take melatonin to further the healing process. This therapy has success in resetting the body’s disturbed rhythms.

The mental health therapies listed above are just the beginning of the types of therapies that you will be introduced to over the course of your education. You will have more success with some than with others, but the choice is up to you about which therapy to follow.

See also: How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor?