What is Therapy?

Therapy is defined as a treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. When facing a mental or behavioral health challenge, therapy helps to develop particular strategies in order to deal with the feelings and emotions that are often times out of a person’s control.

What is the purpose of Therapy?

Doctor with Patient

The main purpose of therapy is to help treat personal challenges and learn how to best live with or overcome illnesses and disorders that may affect a person’s daily life.  There are many mental health illnesses that people can overcome through therapy.

In order to start therapy, it is often advisable that the patient first discusses exactly what they are seeking to achieve, and set goals for the outcome.  Not every case is similar, and certain individuals may require more focus on a particular element to accurately assess and treat their behavioral health issues. A therapist will be a great source of information; after the first or second meeting, most therapists will start to help the patient set personal goals and give the patient specific tasks to accomplish.

Benefits of Therapy

Throughout life, the majority of people experience a number of situations and events in which they have a hard time managing their feelings.  There aren’t many people that go through life without at least a few hard times that challenge a person’s psyche.  Below is a list of common reasons to seek therapy.

  • Trouble managing stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Health Issues
  • Spiritual Issues
  • Phobias
  • Trauma/PTSD
  • Family Issues
  • Relationship Issues
  • Substance Abuse Problems

Types of Therapy

Group Therapy Session

Therapy can come in a number of different variations.  There is no one pill or one type of therapy that can help all mental illnesses and disorders, which leads to different types of therapy to treat the many types of disorders.   Below are some of the common types of therapy that help treat the different mental illnesses and disorders.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT has two main elements, cognitive and behavioral.  The cognitive side works to develop positive beliefs of a person’s life.  The behavioral side works to discontinue previous detrimental behaviors and turn them into positive behaviors.  CBT is used for a number of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.
  • Individual Therapy – Individual therapy, often called counseling, talk therapy, or psychotherapy, is a type of therapy that involves a patient and a licensed or trained therapist.  Individual therapy generally takes place in the private office of a trained therapist, but it can also take place in a hospital, mental health facility, place of work, school, over the phone, and even chat or video conferencing in some cases with the advancement of technology.  In therapy, it is important that the patient feel safe, secure, and know what they say is confidential.  Without truly letting one’s guard down, most therapists will have trouble getting to the root of the cause.
  • Group Therapy – Group therapy is when two or more people participate in a therapy session with one or more trained therapist at the same time.  On a broad scale, group therapy can apply to a range personal disorders and problems including but not limited to eating disorders, anger management, and substance abuse.  Group therapy can take place in professional settings, places of worship, peoples’ homes, and even public places.  Group therapy can benefit those that go through improving self awareness and motivation to change, building trust and self-esteem, and feeling less isolated knowing others are facing similar problems.  To benefit from group therapy the most, individuals must be willing to participate and be open to talk about their problems and challenges.
  • Family Therapy – Family therapy can be helpful for many families because a patients’ family members are often times the people who can and will help aid the person back to recovery.  Family therapy can be helpful in any situation that causes stress, anger, conflict, or grief.
  • Marital/Couples Therapy – Couples therapy is typically more focused on the current day to day problems and is designed to focus on managing situations and feelings.  Effective marital and couples therapists can help in how the relationship between two people is viewed, modifying dysfunctional behaviors, decreasing emotional avoidance, improving communication, and focusing on both problems and strengths of the relationship.
  • Recreational Therapy  One type of therapy that we choose to employ in certain circumstances is Recreational Therapy. This generally covers a range of recreational activities that help cultivate positivity and an increase in happiness for the patient.  The overall premise of Recreational Therapy is that a moving and active body and mind generally helps to improve the happiness and overall health of an individual. The therapy is a fantastic tool, since it not only targets the mental or behavioral health issues, but adds elements that improve an overall healthy body and mind. While Recreational Therapy is an excellent tool for most patients, we often use it with geriatrics, pediatrics, individuals with developmental disabilities and those suffering from mental health issues.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) – EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy, is a type of psychotherapy that has been studied extensively, and proven extremely effective for individuals suffering from trauma. The benefits of EMDR means that the ability to overcome many types of psychological trauma or stress has never been easier. The treatment generally has 8 phases: History and Treatment Planning, Preparation, Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, Body Scan, Closure and Reevaluation. Each client may take more or less time to treat depending on their overall needs, since the overall goal of EMDR is to completely process all of the negative experiences, and to include the new experiences that can help get a patient back on track.

Types of Behavioral Health Professionals and Therapists

  • Mental Health Therapists – Usually referred to as counselors, these professionals can counsel, diagnose and treat.
  • Psychiatrist – A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who treats mental illnesses.  Psychiatrists are the only mental health professionals that are legally allowed to provide prescriptions for medication in some states.  Some patients only see Psychiatrists to get a prescription while others see psychiatrists for prescriptions and talk therapy.
  • Psychologist – Psychologist help patients talk through their problems and help them come up with strategies for coping and solutions.

Evolution of Therapy

Different types of therapies are also emerging and evolving.  One of the more popular therapies among patients these days is animal assisted therapy.   Today, you will often see companion animals such as dogs and cats in hospitals, nursing homes, and psychiatric wards.  There has been no major study on this type of therapy to date, but the people who are involved with this type of therapy feel they see a benefit.

How long does Therapy Take?

According to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the average number of therapy visits for a specific treatment ranges between 3-10 visits. 1 in 9 people had more than 20 therapy sessions for treatment. Factors that attribute to length of therapy include insurance contribution, personal finances, work schedules, type of disorders or problems being treated, and the goals of the patient.

Is therapy the best solution for help?

Therapy is usually the best option to overcoming personal illnesses, fears, and phobias.  When therapy is not enough, a combination of therapy and prescribed medication can help. When choosing a therapist, one of the most important factors to consider is whether one is comfortable speaking with them.  Unless a person is truly comfortable speaking with a therapist, they will not be able to truly resolve their problems.

If you have more questions about the type of therapy we offer here at Palms Behavioral Health, please contact us 24/7, 365 days a year at 956-365-2600.