What To Expect From Talking Therapy
And why might it be for you?
Taking care of your mental health is extremely important and there should never be any shame in seeking out help. If you have a broken leg you’re going to head to the doctor, so why would you treat your mind any different?
But with so many different therapies out there, it can feel confusing to know exactly what people are talking about when they suggest different routes to go down.
Check out Emma Blackery on looking after your mental health...
Take a look at the different talking therapies available for a little more info about how they are used to treat different mental health illnesses.
So what is talking therapy?
Talking therapy basically refers to any sort of psychological therapy or help that involves you speaking. This could be anything from counselling to psychotherapy. It's useful for people who suffer from mental health illness or behavioural problems as it helps people to work through issues out loud and can be used on its own or alongside professionally prescribed medication.
Why would you have been referred?
According to GP Dr Lynn Wilson there are different stages in working out if a patient needs to be referred. She says: “When I interview a patient who has come because of low mood then I try to work out if there is a specific reason such as a relationship problems or something that has happened in their life which may be affecting them.”
“Then I try to differentiate between anxiety and depression with a questionnaire that GP’s use called HADS. After that you are scored on the severity of your problem. If it’s mild then you can continue seeing your GP and if needed they can prescribe medication.”
“If it’s high then that’s when you are referred for talking therapy like CBT or psychotherapy. If it’s severe and the patient has been having suicidal thoughts then they may be admitted straight away.”
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help change the way you think and behave (which are both linked to feelings) in certain situations. CBT focuses on the problems and issues you have in your present day life and will help you understand how you think about yourself, other people and your life. It uses repetitive techniques to form coping strategies for when you are faced with triggers in daily life.
It can be used to treat a number of problems including anger issues, panic attacks, anxiety, depression and phobias. Sessions are usually short term and the average is between four and 15.
What is Psychotherapy?
As opposed to thinking about your present, Psychotherapy looks at your past and childhood. It helps you understand more about yourself and you might be expected to talk about some tough events that have happened in your life. Before you begin, ask your therapist more about what to expect.
Psychotherapy is done over a longer period of time and is useful for people who have recurring issues.
What is DBT?
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy is a talking therapy specifically for people who have issues with self-harm and borderline personality disorder. (You might be diagnosed with a personality disorder if you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result).
You will learn to cope with stress in a healthy ways and be able to control your behaviour better. DBT normally consists of group sessions, one-to-one meetings and education groups. You’ll also have access to telephone support in between sessions.
What is counselling?
Counselling is probably the most common therapy that your GP will prescribe, should they think it necessary. People who are referred are mentally well on the whole but are dealing with a specific hard time in their lives such as a death, the end of a relationship or tough life-changing events. It will help you understand how you feel and can help with things like anxiety.
Do I need talking therapy?
If you feel like you need help with your mental state then the first step is telling your doctor, who can assist you in working out what kind of therapy you need, if any. For more information then you can get more information here.
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