The word “therapy” is often used as a catch-all term.
While we tend to recognize a few broad categories of therapy—physical vs. mental health or individual vs. group—we don’t always realize there are many different approaches within the category of mental health therapy. In our mind’s eye, we conjure up the clichéd couch, the serious therapist, the notebook full of notes you can’t see, the sharing of personal problems, and the sage (one hopes) advice. But that familiar depiction of the therapeutic process does not capture the details or the variations.
But the variations are important. After all, people who seek therapy are facing challenges that are specific to them—so the therapy they receive should be appropriate to their individual situation. There is no single approach to therapy that will help everyone.
Let’s look at four kinds of therapy, each of which can offer real benefits for those struggling with a mental health disorder. This is not a definitive list, of course, and it is not intended to replace the advice and expertise of your mental health professional. Rather, it is intended as a brief introduction to some of the kinds of treatment that are available to help those who are seeking to improve their overall mental health and maintain those improvements over time.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is focused on goals, and is frequently recommended for those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or phobias. For those who have particularly extreme reactions to challenging situations, a variation of cognitive behavioral therapy known as dialectical behavior therapy can be helpful. Dialectical behavior treatment introduces concepts like acceptance, mindfulness, and distress tolerance into the conversation in an effort to help individuals temper the ways in which they react to difficulties.
Recreational therapy is quite different from the stereotypical therapy session we all tend to picture when we hear the word “therapy.” Not too many of us, after all, probably think of therapy as something that has much of anything to do with recreation. But recreation can play an important role in mental health care.
One of the big benefits of recreational therapy is personalization. It is built around an activity or activities that the person in therapy truly enjoys. This might be hiking or bowling or playing (or listening to) music or playing sports or games. The personalization centers on individual interests, abilities, and current therapeutic goals.
In some ways, a family resembles a company. That may seem like a weird comparison, but the fact is each person in a family—like each employee in a company—tends to play a different role. One person, for example, might be the peacemaker. Another might be the person who responds best to a crisis. If you think about your own family, you can probably think of various roles different family members play.
But sometimes, the family system breaks down in one way or another (in the same ways that coworkers can get crosswise with one another). During family systems, a trained therapist helps a family talk through their difficulties and misunderstanding so that relationships might be repaired and strengthened. This can have a positive impact on the mental health of several members of the family—and bring the family closer together going forward.
Therapy animals are highly trained to offer benefits to those struggling with a mental health disorder. Benefits associated with animal therapy include providing support in times of crises or trauma, helping to reduce symptoms of depression and levels of anxiety, and increasing an individual’s season of social support. Animal therapy can be combined with other kinds of treatment as part of a formal treatment plan.
We Will Find the Right Therapy For You
At Peak View Behavioral Health, we never forget that each person who comes to us for help is a unique individual with specific needs. That is why we are committed to listening carefully and then personalizing a treatment plan that can help address the challenges you face and help you reach your mental wellness goals. We combine expertise, experience, evidence-based practices, and compassion to develop a plan that will serve you well.
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder—whether it is a form of depression, a trauma-based disorder, an anxiety or panic disorder, or another sort of issue—we are ready and able to help.