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Psychotherapy approaches are many and varied. Some types are rooted in years of research, while others are relatively new and rely mostly on anecdotal evidence. Today I’ll be focusing on giving you an overview of some of the most popular types of therapy.
A less conventional type of therapy, art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting, or collage to help people express their feelings in a way that creates a tangible product that can be analyzed and decoded to examine psychological and emotional undertones. Art therapy is thought to help people better understand suppressed feelings. The underlying theory about art therapy is that because art is a unique creation, each person brings their own memories, emotions, and thoughts to their work. Analyzing said work is then a way to interpret the person.
During a session, an individual will work with a professional trained in psychotherapy and visual arts at an accredited educational institution. The individual will create some form of artwork either in or out of the therapist’s office and then, upon finishing, patient and professional will talk about the creative process, together.
It has been proven in many studies that animals can provide a sense of calm, comfort, or safety and divert attention away from a stressful situation people struggling with mental health. Advocates of animal-assisted therapy say that developing a bond with an animal can help people develop a better sense of self-worth, emotional stability, and socialization skills. Animals, of course, can also help provide a sense of companionship to people with autism, medical issues, depression, or other mental illnesses that might cause isolation.
For some people, meeting one-on-one with a therapist can be intimidating or uncomfortable. In group therapy, a small group of people with similar issues will meet regularly to discuss life and individual problems. Meeting in a group setting provides a sense of camaraderie while creating a support system. Perhaps the most commonly known type of group therapy is Alcoholics Anonymous, where individuals share struggles with alcohol abuse in a safe setting.
Rather new in the Western world, mindfulness therapy works to makeover every aspect of life to train the body and mind to live more “in the moment.” The goal of mindfulness is to focus less on reacting to something or someone and more on observing and accepting without judgment. It teaches you to be aware of your thoughts and feelings to accept them — instead of attaching and reacting to them. In essence, there is a significant focus on reflection. Often, mindfulness is approached as a lifestyle that incorporates “clean eating,” meditation, and sometimes yoga, in an effort to lower stress levels and ease pain, anxiety, depression and overall suffering.
Perhaps the most popular and well-known form of therapy, psychoanalytic is a type of in-depth talk therapy that aims to bring unconscious, repressed, or deeply buried thoughts and feelings to the surface through discussions about early formative experiences. Working together, the therapist and client unpack how these repressed early memories have affected the client’s thinking, behavior, and relationships in adulthood. Therapists who perform this type of therapy have studied the theories of Sigmund Freud, and analyze the patient in the same way that Freud would have. Standard practices include dream analysis, word association, and exploration of childhood trauma.
If you’ve never made an appointment to visit with a professional therapist before, you might be a bit hesitant. You might be thinking, ‘that’s what friends are for! I have plenty of people to talk to, and I don’t need to find a professional.’ But your friends likely aren’t trained to deal with your specialized array of needs and emotions. Furthermore, they can’t provide the type of non-judgmental, non-attached advice and listening skills that a professional can.
Take a moment and visit Psychology Today’s therapist finder. Do a little digging and see if you might want to make an appointment with someone in your community. Most likely, your insurance covers at least a portion of your visits, and it can be tremendously helpful to meet with someone, even just once.
Here’s the link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapist
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