One of the primary forms of mental health treatment available in Australia is psychotherapy. The many psychotherapy types and wide range of applications make it the tool of choice when it comes to improving the mental health of people.
If you’ve been searching for mental health treatments and professionals, you’ve definitely stumbled upon psychotherapy and the different types of psychological therapy that are available. You are also more than likely to be feeling overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information. However mental health can be a delicate subject and it is vital to understand the different types of psychological therapy that you can access.
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is also known as psychological treatment and is an umbrella term that refers to all types of psychological therapy provided by mental health professionals. This includes services provided by a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor or even general practitioner.
Informally it is also known as talk therapy because the primary line of treatment deals with dissecting your thoughts under the guidance of a mental health professional. While this might seem rudimentary, the simple approach of most types of psychological therapy dives deep into any self-destructive patterns of behaviour and feelings that may be causing mental health concerns.
No matter which of the psychotherapy types you choose, it will help you see why something is destructive or negative so that you can change your behaviour and bring about positive change in every aspect of your daily life.
The different psychotherapy types draw influence from psychoanalysis but are more influenced by neurobiology. This means they rely on evidence-based methodologies that help patients deal effectively with mental health issues. The therapy you undergo is linked closely with your current mental condition and lifestyle factors.
The benefits of different psychotherapy types
While there are many different types of psychological therapy they offer the same mental benefits. If you do not suffer from any serious mental health problems, psychotherapy can offer the following benefits shortly after beginning therapy:
- Improved relationships with loved ones
- Ability to recognise and deal with emotions
- Higher levels of resilience
- Coping mechanisms for grief
- Reduced stress
- Lower levels of general anxiety
Do note that these benefits are obvious in those with no serious mental health concerns and will take longer for those dealing with deep-rooted trauma or conditions. Most of the types of psychological therapy are available to anyone looking to improve their mental health and learn how to cope more effectively with stress.
Like all lines of treatment, these therapies take time before you begin to experience the benefits mentioned above. It may take a few weeks to a few months depending on your current mental state and willingness to work at it. Most types of psychological therapy take time but with committed treatment and follow-up, the results are powerful and lasting.
Mental health conditions and psychotherapy types
If you are dealing with serious mental health problems, the different types of psychological therapy offer many ways of treatment. As a result of the wide-ranging and generalized approach, the scope of treatment covers a vast range of mental health conditions and disorders such as:
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Biopolar disorder
- Panic disorders
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa
- Depression and other emotional health concerns
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
Read our blog to find out the true anxiety definition.
What can I expect from the many psychotherapy types?
To gain the best results from any type of psychotherapy, you should understand and believe that you are the central part of this process. Without your commitment, the best treatment will not be effective.
When you decide to commit, you will be guided by your therapist but it is up to you to stick to the appointments, follow up on any recommendations or ‘homework’ that they may ask you to do.
The kind of therapy that will be administered to you depends on your mental health condition, your choices, the therapist and the benefits you wish to experience. For this reason, every form of therapy differs in length and time before results start becoming apparent. The end result will depend on the competency of the therapist, your level of effort and your current mental health condition.
Expect any session to range between 30 to 90 minutes. Most clients require an average of 10 sessions to start seeing benefits, but it may happen sooner. You could choose to go for further sessions depending on the rapport between you and the therapist and your current level of progress.
None of the different psychotherapy types offer ‘quick fixes’ or easy results. It will take weeks before you begin to notice changes in your mental health and you should be prepared for this. Losing steam after doing a couple of sessions will only make it harder for your therapist and you to achieve any breakthroughs. The changes will be subtle at first: minor changes in thought, feelings and behaviour. It is only later in the therapy that you begin to experience more pronounced effects such as increased resilience and general sense of happiness.
What are the different psychotherapy types?
There are many types of psychological therapy considering the broad spectrum of mental health conditions known to us. The more established ones are:
Family therapy: This form of therapy is conducted with the entire family or with key family members to help improve ties between the members.
Supportive psychotherapy: The therapist helps you discover your triggers so you can take action to avoid or work on them.
Cognitive behaviour therapy: Helps you understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviour so that the increased awareness can help you gain control over negative patterns and improve your overall sense of wellbeing.
Acceptance and commitment therapy: Enables you to accept stressful or traumatic events and situations so that you can tackle them effectively.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Inspired by mindfulness, this is a behaviour-based approach focused on meditation and cultivating higher levels of awareness.
Interpersonal therapy: Similar to family therapy, this helps you develop better relations with those in your immediate environment thereby reducing stress and social anxiety.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy: Relatively new among the many types of psychological therapy, it works on rooting out stressful thoughts and feelings that are seated deep within the subconscious.
Dialectical behaviour therapy: Focussed on an optimistic attitude, this therapy helps you to alter your behaviour in a manner that brings about happiness and positive change
In addition to the list mentioned below, newer types of psychological therapy emerge every year as due to the high level of research being conducted in the field.
Choosing from the many psychotherapy types
Considering there are so many kinds of mental health professionals, each adept in different types of psychological therapy, choosing one is your first step. If you are confused, you could approach your general practitioner to refer you to appropriate therapists like counselors, psychiatrists, mental health nurses or psychologists.
It is best if you research the qualifications of your chosen practitioner before making a booking. The requirements for education and professional qualifications changes for different psychotherapy types and it is safest to get a referral from your doctor.
Choosing a therapist and establishing a safe space
The most critical factor while deciding on a therapist is the rapport you develop. Psychotherapy tends to run longer than other forms of medical treatments and it is highly personal. You should not feel as if you are being judged or that you cannot/should not say something to your therapist. Every session should feel like a safe space.
It is the job of the therapist to make you feel safe and comfortable and allow you to discuss your thoughts and emotions confidently. Do not stick with a therapist whom you do not trust or who makes you feel vulnerable.
Once you have found the right therapist, you should take the time to focus on yourself and take control of your own mental health.
If you would like to find a psychologist near you, Avaana can help.