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If you are in crisis and require immediate support, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. Alternately, please contact the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 (24/7). For residents of Québec, call 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553).
How To Determine Which Type of Therapy Is Best for You
Whether you've battled mental health concerns individually or experienced them through the lens of a loved one, managing the emotional and physical impact of your mental health can feel overwhelming without the proper support. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem in any given year. What's more, by the time Canadians reach the age of 40, one in two will have (or have had) a mental illness.
While mental health issues come with the territory of the human experience, understanding how therapy works and which forms of treatment are available can help break associated stigmas and set you on the right path to seeking support. This article will explain the most common forms of therapy, including the conditions they treat.
What is therapy?
Therapy, which may also be referred to as psychotherapy (see also: talk therapy) or counselling, is often used as a catch-all term throughout books, articles and popular culture today. In its simplest terms, therapy is a treatment technique that aims to help a person identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, behaviours and/or somatic responses (sensations in the body) through meeting with a registered therapist.
What are the benefits of therapy?
People who engage in regular therapy sessions with a professional may experience many benefits, including improved mood, relief from problematic symptoms resulting from their mental illness, or the ability to function in life and during everyday tasks. Engaging in therapy could positively impact the quality of life and understanding of self.
In-person vs. online therapy
With today’s technology, people can engage in therapy either in-person or from the comfort of their home using a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Online and in-person therapy sessions have been proven to be equally effective, so it really comes down to personal preference.
A study published in CyberPsychology & Behavior found that patients successfully developed empathetic bonds with their therapists during online sessions. In fact, the article suggested that among those who prefer online therapy, “working alliance, and perhaps most importantly, an empathic relationship, can be strongly established regardless of the modality of communication.”
The most common therapy methods
Over the years, practitioners have developed several different types of therapy to help people in their quest for improved mental health and relief from mental illness. However, only a handful of treatments are accepted as effective methods that can help alleviate symptoms. Below is a list of some of the most common therapy methods for you to consider.
Psychodynamic therapy encourages patients to examine their external world to understand past influences and experiences that drive their behaviour. The practice is derived from traditional psychoanalysis, drawing from object relations, ego psychology, and self-psychology, and seeks to reduce symptoms and improve people’s lives.
Psychodynamic therapy serves those battling depression and other psychological disorders. Other effective use of psychodynamic therapy may include addiction, social anxiety disorder, and eating disorders.
Behavioural therapy is an umbrella term used to describe different forms of therapy that use techniques to shift harmful or maladaptive behaviours. There are two common types to observe.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the therapist challenges the patient’s regular thought patterns to begin creating new neural pathways and beliefs within the brain. This type of treatment can help patients unravel negative assumptions about themselves, their lives, and the world at large that would otherwise result in harmful behaviours or mood disorders such as depression.
Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)
As a slight variation on CBT, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) draws on mindfulness, healthy coping strategies, and interpersonal effectiveness to treat personality disorders and other mental health conditions, including those who suffer from eating disorders and substance abuse.
Humanistic therapy encourages people to be true to themselves and embody their unique and authentic personality traits. Below are three common forms of humanistic therapy.
Anchored in the present moment, gestalt therapy focuses on helping people gain a greater sense of awareness in the now with the ultimate aim of attaining personal freedom and stronger self-direction.
In client-centred therapy or person-centred therapy, the practitioner acts as more of a facilitator during the session, allowing the client to take charge of the conversation while benefitting from the therapist’s support.
Existential therapy takes the whole human experience into account, addressing its limitations as well as the inherent potential we all hold within ourselves. People seeking a greater sense of meaning or purpose in their lives may benefit from existential therapy.
Holistic therapy takes the perspective of mind, body and spirit healing, viewing the patient as an integrated system with multiple aspects that need to be addressed as a whole. Its overall aim is to help people achieve greater health and wellbeing within their emotional, physical, mental and spiritual lives.
Inkblot therapy helps you determine which type of therapy is right for you
Everyone needs support at one time or another during their life, which is why accessible and effective therapy matters. Our unique matching survey is one of the many ways Inkblot Therapy offers individual and organizational mental health solutions. We'll connect you with providers best suited to your needs by answering questions about your particular concerns. You can match based on your symptoms, stressors, language, religion and much more.
Book a counselling session with Inkblot Therapy and start your journey towards better mental health today.