What is talking therapy & how can it help?

A person in therapy. Photo by Kelly Sikkema.

What is talking therapy & how can it help?

Talking therapies are often recommended as effective treatments for mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. These therapies focus on helping patients identify their thoughts and feelings, so that they can then change them through cognitive restructuring and behavioural experiments.

Below, we take a closer look at the details of talking therapies, and the ways in which they can help treat your issues.

What Is Talking Therapy?

Talking therapy is an umbrella term referring to any type of psychotherapy that involves verbal communication between patient and therapist. The most common forms of talking therapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This form of therapy focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and changing how you think about yourself and others. CBT has been shown to be particularly helpful with treating anxiety disorders like social phobia and panic attacks.

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

DBT helps people who struggle with impulsive behaviours by teaching them skills to manage emotions and impulses.

  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

IPT is based on the idea that many psychological problems stem from interpersonal relationships. Through work on improving these relationships, it’s hoped that symptoms will improve too.

  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT teaches people to become more aware of their thoughts and actions, and to learn new strategies to cope with stress.

  • Psychodynamic therapy

In this approach, therapists explore past events and experiences that may have contributed to current emotional difficulties. This kind of therapy is usually used when there is a strong connection between early childhood trauma and present-day distress.

  • Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

In SFBT, clients are encouraged to take control of their own lives by exploring what works best for them.

What Are the Benefits of Talking Therapies?

There are many benefits associated with talking therapies, including:

  • They are proven to be effective

Research shows that talking therapies are highly effective for treating various types of mental health conditions. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that CBT was just as effective as medication in reducing symptoms of depression. Another study found that CBT was equally effective as antidepressants in treating obsessive compulsive disorder.

  • They can work better than medication

Many people find that medications don’t work well enough to address all of their symptoms. In fact, some studies suggest that up to 50% of people taking antidepressant drugs experience only partial relief from their symptoms. However, research also suggests that talking therapies can provide better long-term results than medication alone.

  • They can address trauma and other issues that may have been hidden from others

Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their struggles with mental illness. But talking therapies allow you to share your story without worrying about being judged. You can even choose whether to tell family members or friends about your treatment plan.

How do I choose which type of therapy works best for me?

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right type of talking therapy, and these include:

  • Your symptoms

The first step toward finding the right type of therapy is to identify which symptoms you’re struggling with. These will differ from person to person and will usually be the first indication that therapy is the right option for you. Different treatments can also be great for different symptoms, so you should make sure that you talk to your therapist about the best options for you.

  • Your goals

Once you’ve identified your symptoms, it’s important to think about what you want out of therapy. What do you hope to achieve through treatment? Will you be looking to change a certain behaviour or symptom? Or would you prefer to focus on other aspects of your life, such as learning coping skills or developing healthy relationships? Your goals should guide your choice of therapy.

  • Your life circumstances

Another factor to consider is how your life circumstances might affect your decision. If you’re living away from home, for example, it may not be appropriate to use a face-to-face therapy like CBT. Instead, you could benefit from online therapy or phone counselling.

  • Your prior experiences with therapy

Finally, it’s worth thinking about your prior experiences with therapy. Some people have had positive experiences with one form of therapy but struggle with another. This means that they may need to try several different approaches before they find the one that works best for them.

Final Thoughts

Talking therapies are an excellent way to treat many common mental health issues. They can help you learn new ways of dealing with difficult emotions and behaviours, and they can improve your overall quality of life. With so many talking therapy rooms to rent in London, you are sure to find your perfect match.

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