An introduction to mental health therapy
What is therapy?
Therapy, in the context of mental health, is a term covers which covers a really wide range of treatments and programs people might go through to treat all manner of mild to more severe forms of mental health issues.
They compose of different methodologies, often ‘talking therapies’ and are conducted in different ways such as through one-on-one sessions, group sessions, over the phone or increasingly popular today online sessions with a therapist – like those offered here at Feelya.
In this article we’ll briefly introduce the main types of therapy you might have come across so you can get comfortable with the fundamental approaches to each. There are of course therapies beyond those discussed here but these are the most commonly practiced and well-supported approaches for you to consider.
What are the different forms of mental health therapy?
Here’s a brief definition of the different types of therapy and what they can typically help with. Some of these are umbrella terms which can include lots of different types of therapy within them.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): one of the most widely used forms of therapy nowadays, CBT is a talking therapy. CBT can help you deal with mental health problems by breaking down your thoughts, beliefs and emotions, and understanding how they impact your feelings and behaviours. Combing the ‘Cognitive therapy’ (the things you think), with the ‘Behavioural therapy’ (the things you do). CBT can be beneficial for a lot of different conditions such as:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Guided self-help: this is actually a CBT-based practice but for people with more mild experiences of some of the conditions above. They are structured programs which include regular sessions with a therapist and help provide people with frameworks to better handle conditions such as:
- Anxiety and worry
- Sleeping disorders
- Low mood
Counselling: in broad terms counselling is a form of talking therapy which helps you deal with challenges in your life by talking in a safe and confidential space with a trained therapist. Counselling is focused on sharing your feelings and emotions in order to better understand them and manage them in a better way.
Occupational Therapy: helps people with conditions that impact their day-to-day life such as a physical disability or recovery from an illness. It could help people of all ages from children who are struggling to participate fully in school, to people that are finding challenges with getting older.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT): this therapy focuses on your personal relationships, hence the name interpersonal. Aiming to treat depression, it might focus on how you interact with certain individuals and help to resolve any problems.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): perhaps somewhat self-explanatory if you have read our definition on CBT. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy uses CBT techniques in combination with mindfulness meditative practices and can help with depression.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): this approach again focuses on mindfulness-based techniques but is typically structured over a specific course of around 8 weeks of largely group-based work.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): this is an interactive technique whereby a therapist seeks to help you refocus your attention when recalling traumatic events by asking you to refocus your eye movements. It can be beneficial for PTSD and other traumas.
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: this is a form of talking therapy which focuses on the relationship between your unconscious thoughts and your conscious behaviours
So there are many different forms of therapy depending on your personal circumstances. Read our more in-depth guides on each to find out more.