In the US, many people visit doctors for mental problems each year. And just like many physical ailments, these types of disorders are usually highly treatable.
There are two primary types of therapy: medicine and talk.
Treatment typically involves working with a healthcare provider who manages the medicine. Medication therapy is often used along with talk therapy.
Talk therapies, also known as counseling or psychotherapy, treat psychological or emotional problems through verbal communication. Although they are based on psychological theories, talk therapies also fulfill a very basic human need to share problems and connect with others.
Some types of counseling may be better suited to your particular issues, as well as your personality, time, and budget. Listed below are some of the most common types; however, keep in mind that most therapists tend to use a combination of one or more approaches.
- Description—Developed by Sigmund Freud in the 1900s, psychoanalysis focuses on identifying repressed feelings and issues that influence current behavior. The process is complex and lengthy, so it requires a definite commitment.
- Recommended for—Psychoanalysis may be helpful if you are struggling with challenges that have lasted a long time (eg, repeated career or relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety).
- Description—This focuses on examining and changing unhealthy thought processes that shape behavior patterns.
- Recommended for—Cognitive-behavioral therapy is recommended for a range of conditions, like mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, andsubstance abuse disorders.
- Description—Psychodynamic therapy focuses on gaining insight by using techniques that help you reflect on your life, character traits, thoughts, and behaviors.
- Recommended for—This type of therapy may be helpful for anxiety disorders, depression, relationship problems, stressful life situations, issues surrounding sexual identity, and other challenges.
Couples and Family Therapy
- Description—This therapy focuses on the interactions of a unit or system rather than individual members. This approach is based on the idea that the problems of an individual must be understood in the context of a larger system.
- Recommended for—With the focus on relationships, many people can benefit from this type of therapy, including couples, families, children, and teens. A range of conditions can be addressed, including mood disorders, behavior and emotional disorders in children, substance abuse, and domestic violence.
- Description—During this type of therapy, a small number of people work together with a group therapist. The goal is to move toward self-understanding and self-acceptance, as well as to improve interpersonal relationships.
- Recommended for—Group therapy may be helpful for many people, including those who are facing relationship problems, dealing with depression or anxiety, experiencing loss or trauma, or trying to recover from alcohol or drug addiction..
Last reviewedJune 2012by Brian P. Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.