There are many different types of therapy for every mental health condition. Usually, you don’t have to choose a therapy on your own – you might depend on a therapist, counselor or primary care provider to give you information and make a recommendation for a specific therapy that might be helpful for your problems. Choosing a therapy that works for you will depend on which approach, setting, or technique fits your individual needs and the type of problem you’re struggling with. Therapy is not a quick fix – it’s a process that takes time and takes work – therefore, it’s important to go with a therapy that is a right fit for you.
Counseling and therapy can take place in a private office, hospital, clinic or community center. It is important to figure out which setting is covered by your insurance if you do not plan or want to pay for therapy out of pocket. Also, a good setting is one that is in a convenient location (close to you, or close to transportation) and one that makes you feel safe and comfortable.
Individual, group or family therapy
When you’re working with a counselor or therapist, you’ll see them alone, in a group or with your family depending on what’s best for you and the type of problem you’re working on.
In individual therapy, you’ll meet with a counselor or therapist regularly – this can be a very close working relationship that gives you an opportunity to talk about your difficulties and work through them.
Family therapy will help you and members of your family (parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.) function in positive ways by looking at the way you communicate and interact with each other. It can also provide you and your family support and education.
In group therapy, you meet with a counselor and a group of your peers who usually share the same challenges or problems that you’re struggling with. Group members support and advise each other – it is a very powerful and helpful way to work through your problems and to give you a feeling of connectedness while you’re struggling.
This is also known as talking therapy or counseling – the process of meeting with a trained professional in a confidential setting to discuss and work out your problems. Therapy/counseling is not a quick fix – it takes time and can be challenging, but it is a tried and true way to resolve or manage your problems.
There are several types of psychotherapy – usually, you will not have to make a decision about what type of psychotherapy would be appropriate for your difficulties or would work for you. Some common types of psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which helps you learn to identify harmful thought patterns and practice ways to replace this thinking with feelings and behaviors that work better for you and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which will help you take responsibility for your problems and look at the ways you deal with conflict and intense negative emotions. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy helps a person understand the concerns, assumptions and at times misunderstandings that motivate and influence their behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
Medication is another way that a mental health professional (either a physician or nurse practitioner) can treat a person dealing with many different types of emotional illness. You will not make decisions about taking medication for emotional conditions alone. Usually, medication is recommended as an addition to talking therapy or prescribed when the symptoms of mental disorders are so severe or disruptive that you have a hard time functioning in daily life or if you are a danger to yourself or others. In every case, if medication is recommended, you will want to know why you’re being prescribed medication, what are the potential side effects, how long you might be taking it, and what improvements can be expected. It is very important to work very closely with the professional who prescribes your medication so they can monitor your improvement and work closely with your therapist or counselor with your consent.