Talk therapy also known as psychotherapy which is the panacea utilised by psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists is an experience akin to being educated, asides the fact that there is the possibility of learning more about yourself, there is also the possibility of learning a new skill, it could also involve being educated about a particular problem affecting the individual, this learning aids the patient understand the treatment options. Psychotherapy is usually engaged in when persons have taken a decision to deal with issues that have repeatedly disturbed them overtime or when they are trying to understand and deal with new challenges that they have encountered. Essentially, people go for therapy when they are facing issues in their lives such as those listed below:
- In moments of significant crisis
- Moments of prolonged anxiety and depression
- Moments of significant life transition
- Moments of complicated family dynamics
- Problems in relationships
- Handling substance abuse and addiction problems.
The list above are some of the major reasons why people decide to engage the services of a therapist, there are still a lot more reasons. Irrespective of the reason, engaging in therapy offers some immense benefits such as those listed below:
- Better communication skills
- Developed interpersonal relations
- Improved self esteem and self acceptance
- Ability to change behaviours and habits that are self defeating
- Ability to manage emotions and express them better, especially anger
- Relief from depression, anxiety and such other conditions having to do with the patient’s mental health
- Improved confidence
- Improved decision making abilities
- Management of stress effectively
- Ability to resolve conflict better and create solutions to problems
- Improved sense of purpose and self
- Ability to recognize distorted thinking
- Overcoming fears
- Appreciating past traumas
According to the American Psychological Association, over 70% of persons who undergo talk therapy have received some benefits.
Types of Talk Therapy
There are many different kinds of talk therapy, which is largely dependent on the patient’s specific need and reasons for participating in the program, some of the different kinds of talk therapies include:
- Individual Therapy: this kind of therapy provides a safe atmosphere for the patient to inspect and explore their thoughts, their feelings and their concerns, the focus of this therapy is on the individual and not on a group of persons, and the aim is to cause change and help to develop the quality of the life of the patient through a means of self awareness and exploration. It may also help the individual to feel empowered and to make better and more healthy choices.
- Family Therapy: Family therapy comes in when couples face problems that seem too tough to be conquered by themselves, they may approach a family therapist for assistance, this kind of therapy helps handling mental and emotional disorders, examine and manage behavioural problems, and handle issues of relationship under the family system. This therapy focuses on the family, irrespective of the fact that only one member of the family may be seeing the therapist. This kind of therapy helps to improve the communication skills of individuals in the family, it can also help with treating issues that concern the mental health of an individual such as depression, drug abuse, traumas etc. it helps with developing coping mechanisms for individuals, and also advises on ways to find health support.
- Couples Therapy: This kind of therapy has been said to have the ability to help steady a relationship even before it goes off track, however where the pressure on the relationships is immense, going for therapy seems to help the couple with having conversations with a neutral third party. This type of therapy helps the couple with the improvement of their personal dynamics, it also helps to improve trust that is lost, helps in conflict resolution, helps in increasing shared support, helps to bring back intimacy in a relationship, and also helps to form a stronger bond.
- Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: in certain situations, the therapist may decide to carry out a mixture of two different kinds of therapy, which is the case with the cognitive behavioural therapy situation also known as CBT. This therapy is a mixture of both cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. This kind of therapy is used in the treatment of certain issues such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse and addiction
This kind of therapy places immense emphasis on thinking as it relates to our feelings and our actions. CBT can help to reduce; depression, and mania, then it may increase psychosocial functioning
- Interpersonal Therapy: this kind of therapy helps people to see relationship issues that may affect how they interact with one another, it may include their response to grief, change in certain work roles and conflict at work. This kind of therapy is often treated by treating depression.
- Dialectical behaviour Therapy: this type of therapy places its focus on balancing emotions, it may also be beneficial to persons with eating disorder, PTSD or some form of personality disorders can benefit from this kind of therapy.
- Supportive Therapy: this kind of therapy helps with creating systems in the life of the patient to help them strengthen their mental health, which would in turn improve the rest of their life.
Misconceptions About Talk Therapy
- The fact that a person needs counselling help does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with them or is broken and abnormal. Similar to a medical condition, it is not correct to say that a person in need of medical attention is broken, the same thing applies to mental illnesses.
- The idea that no one can understand the situation a person is undergoing is false, because the records say that one in four Americans will have to experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime, and in that regard there are a lot of professional therapists who can listen to these persons.
- The fact that a person is contemplating suicide does not immediately mean that the next best thing is to get them hospitalized, the severity of the case will lead the therapist to decide the best way to handle such cases.
- People who take pills for mental health conditions are similar to people who take pills for medical conditions, it should not in any way make the patient feel like they are not in control of their behaviours.
- To ignore the problem of a mental health condition or to decide to try harder to cure a mental health condition does not necessarily cure the defect just like medical conditions are not cured by ignoring the problem or trying harder, they are cured by seeking professional attention
- The fact that a person begins to get treatment for their mental conditions, does not mean that they will always be in need of help. The ultimate goal of talk therapy is to get the patient back to their normal function in as quick time as possible. Some persons may require long term help while some persons on the other hand will require just short term help.