Perhaps you have suffered from a mental disorder for too long. Maybe the accumulated and interconnected symptoms associated with your illness have not only strained your life, but the lives of loved ones as well. You are ready to give therapy a try and communicate your inner struggle to another person. But now one final hurdle lies in front of this goal: choosing the right form of therapy and therapist for the respective problem.
Since its formative roots, psychology has evolved into multiple schools over the years. Each new category focuses on a unique aspect or view of the body and mind. Depending on how a potential client sees the world, a particular style of treatment may be preferred. By learning a little more about each one, making a decision that will lead to a successful recovery will become significantly less difficult.
When a person associates a particular expert of psychology or therapy, Sigmund Freud usually comes to mind. There was indeed a time when Freudian psychoanalysis was the standard of mental health treatment. However, over the years, his students began their own schools of thought. Traditional psychodynamic therapy tends to focus on the unconscious, a major concept of Freud’s work. By recording a client’s dreams and addressing underlying childhood influences, treatment explores the meaning and motivation that drives inner conflict and behavioral dysfunction.
As psychological theory continued to expand and focus on alternative explanations of abnormal behavior, studies shifted to very practical and concrete observations of living beings and their specific actions. Reflexes and other causal mechanisms of the body laid the foundation for behavioral psychology. By reducing human experiences into a series of behavioral responses, therapy of this kind works to systematically shift or condition a client’s dysfunctional actions to more functional ones. Specifically, it has shown the most benefit in reducing the psychological threat of phobias.
Around the same time, a similar ideological shift turned to the importance of thoughts in managing emotions and behaviors. By identifying and addressing illogical patterns of thinking, therapists are able to enact a parallel change in irrational feelings and actions, too. As both behavioral and cognitive psychology highlight this causal relationship in their respective theories, the larger all-encompassing concept of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, has been established and utilized by many modern treatment providers today.
Like many of these other psychological movements in history, humanistic psychology was a response to the strictly mechanical elements of behavioral psychology. The model of humanism concerned itself with reaching self-actualization, which is relative and subjective to each individual. By attaining this state of being, a person is able to achieve his or her own sense of wholeness and overcome personal struggles. In order to accomplish this goal, a therapist works hand-in-hand with a client to reach his or her maximum potential.
Depending on the exact focus of the therapy, a person will tackle important issues like concern and respect for others.
- Client-centered therapy: This style rejects the traditional authority of the therapist and instead focuses on the client’s inner experiences. Therapists help clients improve their lives by upholding a high degree of concern, care and interest.
- Gestalt therapy: This variant focuses on “organismic holism,” which is essentially remaining in the present moment, being aware and accepting responsibility for one’s own actions.
- Existential therapy: This type seeks to understand and attain multiple abstract concepts such as free will, self-determination and the search for meaning.
Once one decides on the psychological framework that best fits his or her perspective, the next crucial factor is to consider is the therapist, along with the relationship the client prefers to have with the mental health professional. Establishing a meaningful bond with one’s therapist is a critical predictor of a successful recovery. When trust exists between a client and a therapist, the client’s adherence and commitment to recovery is greatly improved. It is up to a potential client to research and speak directly with a mental health professional beforehand in order to ensure he or she is a good fit.
Sovereign Health Group’s seasoned staff delivers a host of different treatment and recovery-oriented options that adapt to the needs of each admitted individual. A client’s individual therapist is even chosen to match his or her particular personality and circumstances. Chat online or call (866) 819-0427 for more information on our programs for addiction, mental health and dual diagnosis.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer