Which form of psychotherapy is the right for my problem?

There are several types of talk therapies to choose from, and the National Institute of Mental Health reports that many have been shown to be effective for specific disorders. The goal of psychotherapy is to identify the factors that contribute to their problems and disorders and to deal effectively with the psychological, behavioral, interpersonal and situational causes. Psychotherapists will help you to identify negative or distorted thinking patters, which often lead to non-constructive feelings and behaviors. We will help you identify specific life problems that contribute to depression or anxiety and help you to learn how to solve your problems by yourself. We will help you develop options for the future setting realistic, specific and achievable goals and gain emotional well-being. Psychotherapy is one of the best treatments for mental health problems. 

While there is a long list of psychotherapy options to choose from, not every option is the very best for your problem. Choosing the right psychotherapy option and psychotherapist you can trust is very important factor in achieving your goal – better mental health! The Anxiety and Depression Association of America performed a meta-analysis of all the available research. Its clinical review of practice guidelines reports that CBT is “the most studied psychotherapy for depression,” and it has “the largest weight of evidence for its efficacy.”

DEPRESSION

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“My view is that the most serious depression should be treated with a combination of medicine and therapy,” says Carol Landau, clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior and medicine at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. For mild to moderate depression, she recommends therapy first, with antidepressants held in reserve. “I tell patients we can do a staged treatment,” she says. “Let’s get at this with CBT for eight weeks, and then if nothing is happening, let’s go try some medication.”

Besides CBT, other psychotherapeutic approaches like “Emotion-focused therapy”, “Interpersonal therapy” and “Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy” have good results with treating depression. If your depression is related to childhood traumas, you may like to try with psychodynamic psychotherapy. You may find Behavioral activation to be effective for depression and it is true, but this is a technique in CBT, so my suggestion would be: “Try with CBT first!”

Combination of CBT and medications has the same short-term results as CBT alone, but CBT alone has better long-term results as it teaches you to rely on yourself and not medications. Some cases need both, some don’t. Let your doctor and psychotherapist help you decide in this.

ANXIETY

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Talking about the best therapy option for anxiety, Cognitive-behavioural therapy is the winner again. CBT is proven to be the most efficient psychotherapy approach in treating anxiety (panic disorders, OCD, phobias, PTSD etc). The most valuable technique of CBT in treating anxiety is exposure. Although it may seem horrifying, anxiety problems need exposure. Even hypnotherapy uses exposure as it’s technique very efficiently. If you can’t be easily exposed to the object of your fear, for example plains, cognitive hypnotherapy can be truly efficient form of psychotherapy. It uses the same techniques CBT does, but in your vivid imagination and giving suggestions directly to your subconscious mind. I have an amazing experience as a therapist in using hypnotherapy with anxious clients. Besided CBT and hypnotherapy, Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), as a part of third-wave CBT, gives amazing results as well. Not to forget Psychodynamic psychotherapy, as a valuable psychotherapy approach, especially when anxiety is a result of childhood traumas.

TRAUMA

Even though I mentioned Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when writing about anxiety, I need to tell more when it’s about treating trauma. PTSD is not related to war or abuse only. Trauma includes, unfortuantely, much more than sexual assault or war experience. It can be part of growing with a narcissistic parent or even living with narcissistic partner. Trauma’s consequences are solved the best with Cognitive-behavioural therapy, as the therapy of first choice, then EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and Hypnotherapy. They are followed by Interpersonal therapy and Narrative exposure therapy, Psychodynamic therapy, Stress inoculation training (also part of CBT). Still, whenever you can, choose CBT as the most effective form of psychotherapy.

dr. Andrea Vlasic, PhD Psychologist, clinical hypnotherapist, CBT therapist IE

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