In recent times, like physical health, psychological health is also getting the much due attention. As people in greater numbers are feeling the increasing pressure in their personal and professional life, more and more succumb to the increasing pressures and are unable to deal with it thus facing various types of mental health ailments (1).
In many situations, it has been seen that the various psychological problems of a person often stems out of the unfortunate and unpleasant conditions and occurrences that had plagued their childhood. In such circumstances, a treatment process that has availed much success with numerous patients is that of Psychotherapy. This is a form of therapy where the patients talk and communicate one to one with licensed mental health professionals, and discusses their mental problems and seek active advice to overcome them. This form of therapy comes with a number of variations and when coupled with long term medication can bring about some real respite to patients suffering from mental disorders of various types (1).
Different Types of Therapy to Improve Mental Health
Mental health issues needs to be treated with various modalities because the problems are usually at multiple levels. The two broad spectrums include:
Somatic Therapies to Improve Mental Health Issues:
The somatic treatment modalities include medicines, electroconvulsive therapies and brain stimulating therapies (2). The medicines categories would include anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, mood stabilizers, tranquilizers, anti-psychotic drugs etc. Electroconvulsive therapy is given by placing electrodes on the head and delivers small electrical shocks to the brain to induce brief seizures. It is usually given to treat severe depression. Brain stimulating therapies like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation is provided to treat treatment resistant depression.
Psychotherapy to Improve Mental Health Issues:
Psychotherapy is a domain that comes with many subdivisions. These subdivisions are different forms of therapy approaches that have been taken up by mental health professionals to treat patients with mental health issues. The major subdivisions are:
Psychoanalysis is one of the oldest types of psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud. It requires the client to visit the therapist frequently and share things that run on their mind. This helps in identifying how the earlier experiences in life affects the present day experiences and thus develop a way to handle it (3).
Psychodynamic therapy is one of the most popular streams or approaches to treatment that is practiced with people who have mental issues. This is one of the treatment formats that are based on the belief that most of the mental issues in men and women have their origin in some unresolved unconscious conflicts that generally have their origin in the childhood or the youth of the individual. The main goal of this therapy is to make the patient understand or realize the exact nature of their mental problem so that they can cope with their inner conflicts better. Speaking up about their problems, feelings and fears play an elemental role in the process of treatment. The patients are encouraged to speak about their prior unpleasant experiences and other such episodes. This is a process of treatment that can last for a long period or term that can range from a few months to several years (4).
Interpersonal Therapy for Improving Mental Health
Psychiatrists are of the opinion that many people suffer from mental health issues since they are unable to give expression to their feelings and communicate in a free and active manner. This is why a special branch of therapy deals with interpersonal skills. This approach mainly deals with the interaction patterns, styles and the behavior elements of the patients. This branch of therapy for mental health issues encourages the patients to communicate in a free and open manner with their friends and family.
This is one of the most effective ways to rebuild confidence and self-esteem amongst the patients. Such treatment approaches have been found to be really effective for patients suffering from depression, conflicts in relationships and social isolation (5).
Often people suffering from mental health issues have distorted perceptions of themselves and also the world around them. The treatment method and approach of cognitive-behavioral therapy helps these patients to identify the mistaken perceptions that they have been nurturing for a while. This approach helps them to identify between the positive and the negative perceptions and thus change the negative ones to overcome the problems (6).
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
This is a therapy that is often used for the treatment of real high-risk patients who have a tendency of inflicting self-injury and has the habit of lying. It is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that uses the processes of maintaining a diary, phone coaching and also user of group therapy. Dialectical behavioral therapy is a form of the treatment process that was initially used for treating patients with borderline personality disorder and patients with a suicidal tendency (7). It is found to be quite effective for anger management too. Patients who have a real tough time managing their anger and gets into an impulse of harming themselves in fits of anger can be handled with this form of therapy.
This type of therapy mostly relies on the supportive and empathetic relationship between the client and the therapist. Supportive therapy encourages sharing of feelings and emotions and the therapist helps by providing solutions to the problems faced by the client (8).
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art, music, dance, drama, and various other forms of art to help express the emotions and feelings and thus promote healing (10).
Formats of Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is a process of treatment that provides patients with mental health issues a chance to vent their inner feelings, anguish, angst, anxiety and much more. One of the elemental features of psychotherapy is the opportunity it provides to patients with mental health issues to interact with different people (1). The person with whom the patients interact creates a direct influence on the nature of treatment outcome and determines the exact format of the therapy. Some common formats of the psychotherapy are as follows:
Individual: In this format, the patient interacts with the therapist alone and there is no one else in the enclosed spaces during the counseling sessions. Every information shared remains confidential and stays only between the therapist and the client.
Group: Often therapists feel the need for peer support for clients. This is when group counseling session is conducted which includes a group of people who are suffering from same issues and they communicate with each other under the guidance of the counselor (9). It helps in hearing other people suffering for the similar problems, hear about their struggles and the way they are coping and sharing one’s own thoughts about how else the problem can be dealt with. These also help the client in gaining more insight about different perspectives and approaches and also understand their problems at a deeper level (9). It is thought that when two or more people suffering from similar conditions interact and share their experiences amongst themselves it can heal their long term mental problems in a better manner. Group therapy is also beneficial to reduce the feeling of “why only me” as they see many others suffering from the same situation.
Marital Couples Counselling: Spouses and partners often play a very important role in addressing psychological problems in a person. It is also important for a spouse or a partner to understand the exact nature of their partner’s mental problems so that they can help them to get cured better.
Family Counseling: Mental health professionals often give a lot of importance to the role of family and family members in improving the mental health of a person. Hence, often in the process of treatment family members are also included, psychoeducated, and taught ways to deal with the patient and cope with the problem.
The best possible treatment process that must be taken up for any given case is best decided upon by the mental health professionals including psychologists and psychiatrists. It will depend upon the nature of the complications that are being faced by the patient. Often, it is the motivation and the will power of the patient that happens to contribute the most to the treatment process and its success.