What are the Types of Therapy for Mental Health Disorders?
Learn about available treatment options for mental health therapy, as well as which one might be best for you or your loved one.
Importance of Mental Health and Wellness
It’s no news that while we care for our bodies physically, we also must care for our minds. Our mental health determines how we make simple choices, from what to wear on a Monday morning to life-changing decisions, for instance, whether to move to a new city. Mental health also comes into play in human relationships with others and how people handle stress or crises.
Why Is Therapy Important for Mental Health?
The importance of psychological therapy to mental health cannot be overemphasized. A mental disorder is any medical condition that affects a person’s mood, behavior, thinking, and feeling. The mind (cognition) is a crucial part of man that affects how he functions in everyday life. Therapy plays a significant role in remedying mental health disorders; hence, it’s essential to mental health.
Mental Health Therapy Benefits
- It leads to improved communication and interpersonal skills.
- It helps people gain the ability to alter their self-defeating behaviors or habits.
- Therapy teaches people better expression and management of emotions, including anger.
- It leads to decreased problems with daily living.
- People develop an increased sense of joy and contentment via therapy.
- Therapy can repair broken relationships and enhance relationships
- It leads to greater self-acceptance and self-esteem
- Therapy can lead to improved activity at work, often resulting in financial stability.
- It increases the quality of life and overall life satisfaction.3
Formats of Mental Health Therapy Sessions
There are different ways one can go through a mental therapy (psychological therapy) session. Whether as an individual, in a group, as a couple, or in a family, there are various formats of mental health therapy sessions, and some of them are:
Individual therapy is a type of psychological therapy where a trained professional helps a single person work through the personal issues they have been facing. It’s an effective treatment for various emotional difficulties and mental illnesses. 4
These individual therapy sessions allow individuals to talk through problems or situations with a licensed professional confidentially. It doesn’t necessarily make problems disappear, but it equips individuals with the tools to cope with them more appropriately.
This type of psychotherapy may be used in conjunction with other behavioral and mental health treatment types, such as family therapy or substance abuse counseling.
As the name implies, group therapy is a type of psychotherapy conducted with a group of people rather than between an individual and mental health professional. One of the goals of group therapy is to bring people who share similar experiences, so people in group therapy usually face identical issues, like anxiety or addiction. Mental health group therapy usually focuses on a specific mental health concern, such as social anxiety, depression, or addiction.
Mental health group therapy can benefit people with limited access to mental healthcare, such as those living in rural or low-income areas where healthcare clinics are understaffed or scarce.5
Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can help you and your partner improve and rebuild your relationship. A licensed counselor works with couples to break communication barriers to resolve their relationship, marriage, and family issues in couples’ therapy.
Couples counseling can effectively address many relationship concerns, such as frequent disagreements, feelings of separation, an affair, sex issues, or challenges caused by external pressures. Couples therapy is open to everyone at any stage of their relationship, regardless of their marital status, age, race, faith, or sexual orientation.6
Family therapy is a form of mental health counseling for a family that aims to address psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues that cause family problems. Family therapy is usually short-term and focused on achieving specific objectives.
This mental health therapy can help family members improve communication and resolve conflicts. Family members will work with a licensed therapist, psychologist, or clinical social worker to develop and maintain a healthy relationship. All the family members don’t have to be present at every counseling session, but it helps if all family members participate actively.
Learning More About Physical and Mental Health
Different Mental Health Disorders Therapy Can Treat
Therapy is an effective treatment option for treating and managing several mental health disorders. Some of these disorders include:
Depression is a common and serious mental illness characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest that stop you from going about your normal activities the usual way. There are different forms of depression, and the most common examples are postpartum depression (PDD), major depressive disorder (MDD), also clinical depression, persistent depressive depression (PDD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
7 A combination of medication and psychotherapy has been determined to be most effective for treating people with depression.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders; they affect about 30% of adults sometime in their lifetime.
9 While anxiety is a natural reaction to stimuli and stress in everyday life, anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive amounts of persistent and overwhelming fear and worry.
10 The good news is that anxiety disorders are very easy to treat, which is possible within a short time. Some common types are general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders, and phobias.
Bipolar depression is also known as manic depression or manic-depressive illness. This type of mental health disorder is characterized by unusual and irregular shifts in mood, energy levels, concentration, and the overall ability to carry out daily activities.
People suffering from bipolar disorder alternate between periods of depression and mania or hypomania.
Four Categories of Bipolar Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
When people see or experience a traumatic event, they’ll likely develop a mental health disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This traumatic event may be scary, dangerous life-threatening, for example, a near-death experience, car accident, war, or sexual assault but an individual can develop PTSD after experiencing something as shocking as the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one.
Naturally, your body is triggered by fear during and after a traumatic event for a fight or flight response in a way to protect you from possible harm. During this fight or flight response, your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate increase due to releasing hormones like adrenalin and noradrenalin. Typically, one should recover from this range of reactions or changes over time, but some don’t. People who feel stressed and frightened even when they’re not in danger may be diagnosed with PTSD.
A personality disorder is an individual’s long-term way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that deviates from an average person’s and causes them distress or problems functioning in everyday life. People with personality disorders are dysfunctional, extreme, and inflexible, making it hard to change their behavior or adapt to different situations.
They may also find it challenging to work or sustain positive relationships with other people.
People with personality disorders may exhibit it differently; some may be dramatic and emotional, while others appear withdrawn. Some personality disorders include borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and so on.
Eating disorders are medical health conditions that make individuals eat much less or more than they need. They are severe mental health disorders that can affect the access of one’s body to proper nutrition resulting in other health issues like kidney or heart problems and sometimes even death. Usually, people diagnosed with eating disorders have developed an unhealthy preoccupation with food, body size, weight, and shape.
Some common examples of eating disorders are binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and anorexia nervosa.
Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorder (SUD) is a complex mental health condition characterized by uncontrolled substance use despite harmful consequences.19 This mental disorder is a serious health condition involving compulsive substance use that develops when the use of the substance, whether prescription or non-prescription drugs, interferes with the ability to function daily.20
The most severe substance use disorders are known as addictions. Some of the substances involved in this disorder are tobacco, alcohol, painkillers, cocaine, to mention a few. The repeated use of substances can lead to changes in brain functions, so people with SUD are likely to have distorted thinking and behaviors.
Some other mental health conditions that have responded positively to therapy for mental health include schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and learning disorders.
Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder that involves hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, trouble with thinking, and a lack of motivation. There is no cure for schizophrenia, but mental health treatment through medication and psychotherapy can help people manage the illness and improve their lives. 21
Disabilities primarily associated with the neurological system and brain function are known as neurodevelopmental disorders. The symptoms and behaviors of neurodevelopmental disabilities may change or evolve as a child grows older; however, some disabilities are permanent. 22 Diagnosis and treatment of these neurodevelopmental disorders can be difficult; mental health treatment often involves a combination of various types of therapy from professionals, pharmaceutical products, and home and school-based programs.
What Are the Types of Therapy for Mental Health Disorders?
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This is a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about oneself and the world are challenged to change unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been deemed effective in treating anxiety disorders, eating disorders, alcohol, and drug use problems. It’s, however, not the best treatment option for people with schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Interpersonal therapy is a diagnosis-targeted, time-bound, ‘focused on the present” treatment that helps and encourages a patient to regain control of mood and functioning. IPT is based on the common factors of psychotherapy: a treatment alliance where the therapist empathically engages the patient and helps the patient feel understood, presents a clear rationale and treatment ritual, and yields successful experiences.
IPT is very effective for treating depression and eating disorders, for example, bulimia nervosa.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of talk therapy (psychotherapy) based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and specially adapted for people who feel very intense emotions. 26 It helps patients learn how to cope with and change unhealthy behaviors.
DBT helps treat self-destructive patients, like suicidal, self-harming, depressed, or people with borderline personality disorders.
This type of therapy for mental health disorders aims to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness. Psychodynamic therapy is based on the belief that our unconscious can hold onto painful feelings, memories, and experiences which are too difficult for the conscious mind to process. Psychodynamic therapy helps people to unveil and understand their true, deep-rooted feelings to resolve them.
This type of therapy effectively deals with people with anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, and addiction.
Supportive therapy aims to improve, reinforce, and sustain a patient’s psychological well-being, self-esteem, and self-reliance. A vital element of the supportive psychotherapy relationship between the patient and the therapist is that it exists solely to meet the needs of the patient.
Typically, patients are admitted into the care of mental health services, where they’ll receive general support.
One mental health therapy often given to people with schizophrenia is supportive therapy.
Animal-assisted therapy, also known as pet therapy, is the use of animals as a means of helping people cope with and recover from some physical and mental health conditions. The animals commonly trained and used in therapy are dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, hamsters, fish, birds, and even toy animals.
These animals help to reduce loneliness and bring down stress-related hormones. Animal therapy is especially useful in depression and anxiety disorders.
Art therapy for mental health is an excellent way to raise serotonin levels in patients and make them cheerful and calm. The main media of art therapy include drawing, music, drama, painting, dance, drama, and writing.
Studies have shown that art therapy plays a significant role in alleviating depression symptoms and anxiety.
This type of therapy is focused on helping children express themselves more using play and toys instead of words. Play therapy has been shown to help children resolve social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems that may arise from relocation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, divorce, death, domestic violence, and so on.
Play therapy is effective in people with ADHD, anxiety disorder, autism, and depression.
There are additional therapy options for those with mental health disorders. Options include the following:
Some Tips for Effective Mental Health Therapy
If you are looking to seek professional help in mental health therapy regarding any condition either you, a loved one, or a close relative has, below are some helpful tips that would ensure you get the most out of the mental therapy. These tips can be pivotal in building and maintaining your overall mental health.
Getting The Most Out of Mental Health Therapy
- Putting yourself first
- Choose the right therapist for you
- Being an active and willing participant
- Having optimistic but realistic goals concerning your treatment
- Being patient
- Sharing on your terms
- Opening up and engaging with your therapist in an honest way
- Attending therapy sessions on time
How to Choose a Therapist?
Choosing a psychotherapist is a critical decision. A therapist should help you recognize and change things like negative thought patterns and problematic behaviors and work towards your improvement without judging you.
What to Look For
- The specialty of the therapist
- The personality of the therapist
- The cost and insurance coverage of the therapy
- License, certification, and education of the therapist
- Your personal preference and comfort level with the therapist
- The location of the therapist
The cost of therapy is a major factor when deciding to go to therapy. With health insurance, it’s less expensive to see a therapist.
Will Insurance Cover Therapy?
Yes. For many people, insurance offers the best option for funding therapy. Call your insurance company to ask about mental health coverage and get a list of in-network providers. If you don’t have insurance, you might be eligible for insurance through your state’s Medicaid program or the Healthcare.gov marketplace.
Virtual Therapy Vs. In-Person Therapy
Virtual therapy is therapy via a phone, an app, a video chat, or even a virtual reality device. This virtual form of therapy is relatively recent, but it has different types, namely virtual psychotherapy, virtual speech therapy, and virtual physical therapy.
There is also a virtual form of mental health occupational therapy called virtual occupational therapy.
Virtual therapy has the added advantages of saving costs, more privacy, increased access to mental health care, and client satisfaction compared to in-person therapy.
Mental Health Therapy Services at Essence Healthcare
Essence Healthcare offers quality mental health counseling and psychotherapy options that provide excellent, professional client-centered care irrespective of age, sex, religion, gender, and cultural background.
At Essence Healthcare, you’ll have access to psychotherapists with many years of experience who will work towards assisting you in being more in control of your life while responding to challenging situations using healthy coping skills.
Outpatient Mental Health Therapy Services
- Mood disorders
- Grief and loss
- Personal growth
- Eating disorders
- Addictions and substance use
- Midlife crisis
What to Expect
Essence provides exceptional care with different types of mental health therapy, so you can rest assured that you’ll have access to top-notch treatment suited to you as an individual to improve the quality of your life.