Types of Psychotherapy for Mental Illnesses

Psychotherapy is one of the most common ways that therapists help patients with their mental illnesses and conditions. Different approaches can be used, depending on what you want to achieve. From cognitive behavioural techniques to psychodynamic therapy to exposure therapy, these types of treatments can help you overcome depression, fear, anxiety and more.


What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a form of treatment for mental health issues. It is also known as talk therapy and can be used on its own or in combination with prescription medications. During sessions, you talk with a mental health professional who can help you overcome troubling thoughts and thought patterns. You’ll be able to explore your feelings and behaviours in a safe and confidential space.


Benefits of Psychotherapy

There are many benefits you can gain from psychotherapy, such as:

  • Learn more about your behaviours, emotions and the thoughts that cause them. You’ll also learn techniques to overcome these thoughts.

  • Identify and discuss the challenges or life events that have led up to your mental illness. Psychotherapy allows you to talk and work through the pain you have suffered. You’ll also discover some proactive ways to solve the problems that these events caused in your life.

  • Therapy can help you regain enjoyment and control over your life and circumstances.

  • Gain an understanding of good coping techniques and sharpen your problem-solving skills.


Types of Psychotherapy

There are several different types of psychotherapy that you can engage in to see a difference in your symptoms. These include:

  • One-on-one sessions – individual counselling sessions take place with you and the therapist.

  • Couple sessions – Psychotherapy sessions as a couple offer a safe space to discuss the mental disorder and what changes need to be made in your relationship. This can include modifying behaviours, adjusting communication, and also coping techniques for both of you.

  • Family sessions – It can sometimes help family members better understand what you are going through if you attend psychotherapy sessions together. They may also discover some coping techniques and what changes they can make to help you.

  • Group sessions – Working through your challenges in a group setting has additional benefits as you get to learn from one another’s experiences. It also helps to know that you are not alone and that others also struggle with mental health issues.


Mental Illnesses Treated by Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be a good option to treat a variety of mental illnesses, such as:

  • Depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Anxiety

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD

  • Schizophrenia

  • Personality disorders

  • Addictions

  • Eating disorders


Psychotherapy Approaches

Therapists that use psychotherapy treatments can have different approaches to use, depending on your circumstances. These include:


Psychodynamic therapy

This approach is best used when unresolved, and often unconscious issues cause your challenges. Many times, these issues stem from trauma in childhood and could be repressed. Talking about these experiences helps you to release the emotions they created. You’ll also learn how to handle these feelings better in the future. Psychodynamic therapy can take many months and sometimes years.


Interpersonal therapy

The interpersonal therapy approach helps you improve your interactions with family and friends. You’ll learn different communication skills that can benefit your relationships. It can also help you gain some self-esteem. Interpersonal therapy often lasts several months. It is best used with patients who have depression stemming from the death of a loved one, relationship conflicts, isolation, or life events.


Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Sometimes mental illnesses are caused by perceptions that are not accurate. These ideas and thoughts can be about yourself or the world around you. Your therapist will help you identify these beliefs and correct them. Patients that go through cognitive-behavioural treatment learn skills that help them prevent inaccurate ideas from taking hold in the future. It is a good approach for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia or those who don’t want to take antidepressant prescriptions.


Dialectical behaviour therapy

DBT is a form of cognitive-behavioural therapy that is used for higher-risk patients. However, it encourages patients to accept thoughts and behaviours rather than trying to fight them. The approach aims to bring together two opposites like recognition and change. It is a good treatment for unhealthy habits such as lying or self-injury or borderline personality disorder. You’ll be taught how to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings that can help you recognize problem patterns. Once you’ve become comfortable with your thoughts, change will start to appear possible. Therapists will help you adopt healthy coping methods. Other interventions are usually combined with DBT, like individual and group therapy, phone counselling, etc. DBT focuses on four ways to build your life skills. These are:

  • Distress tolerance – being able to handle strong emotions without the need for explosive anger, substances, or self-injury.

  • Emotion regulation – learning to identify and adjust your emotions.

  • Mindfulness – you’ll learn to live in the present moment in a more peaceful way for yourself and others.

  • Interpersonal effectiveness – reducing negative conflict with others and developing constructive communication skills.


Exposure therapy

Another type of cognitive behavioural therapy is exposure therapy. With this method of treatment, you and your therapist will identify what causes your anxiety. Then, you’ll find healthier ways to manage them. An additional step in exposure therapy treatment is that you’ll confront your fear in a controlled environment. This allows you to practice what you’ve learned with your therapist.


Supportive therapy

Therapists can also use coaching techniques to teach you how to manage anxiety better. Supportive therapy can also be productive in mastering harmful thoughts.



Is Psychotherapy Right for You?

Because there is a range of psychotherapy approaches and methods, it is a treatment that is worth considering. Whether you need help to overcome negative thoughts or behaviour, talking with a therapist can help you find healthier solutions to your struggles.


If you’re interested in learning more about psychotherapy and whether it will work for you, contact Catharsis Counselling today.


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