Talking Therapies - Types of Therapy
Are there different kinds of therapy?
There are many different types of talking therapies. Some of the most common types of talking therapy are:
Counselling is a common therapy you can get through your GP. Counselling is for people who are generally well but are going through a difficult time such as bereavement, relationship breakdown, redundancy or other life changing events. Usually you can only get a certain number of counselling sessions (6 to 12 sessions). You can expect your counsellor to help you to understand how you are feeling.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT can help you to change how you think (‘cognitive’) and what you do (‘behaviour’), which are both linked to how you feel. CBT looks at problems and difficulties in the ‘here and now’ more than your past or childhood. CBT will help you understand how you think about yourself, the world and other people and how that affects your reaction to situations.
Below are some of the problems and conditions CBT is often useful for treating.
- Poor anger control
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Panic attacks
CBT is widely available on the NHS. CBT should only be delivered by someone who is properly trained such as a therapist, nurse or social worker. Sessions are usually weekly and last an hour. An average number of sessions is 4 to 15 but this depends on what you need. There is more information below on the recommended number of CBT sessions.
You can do CBT on your computer at home. This is called Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT). Research has shown some cCBT programmes help to treat mild depression and anxiety.
The Department of Health recommends that a psychological wellbeing practitioner guides you through cCBT.The NHS recommends cCBT courses which you can do under the supervision of your GP or a wellbeing practitioner.
- Living Life to the Full Interactive is a CBT-based course for overcoming mild to moderate depression and anxiety. You complete the six-session course under the supervision of your GP or a qualified therapist.
- Overcoming Bulimia is an online CBT-based course to help people with bulimia and other eating disorders. The course includes eight sessions, which you complete at your own pace.
- Overcoming Anorexia is an online course, based on CBT, for carers of people with anorexia nervosa.
- MoodGYM is a free self-help computer programme to teach CBT skills to anyone at risk of having depression and anxiety. MoodGym is an independent resource developed and delivered by the Australian National University, and users are able to access the site free of charge. It has five sections and interactive game, anxiety and depression assessments, downloadable relaxation audio, a workbook and feedback assessment.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) gives guidance on treatment for the NHS. It recommends www.beatingtheblues.co.uk for depression or www.fearfighter.com for anxiety. Your local NHS Trust has to make these available to you unless there is a good clinical reason not to. If you have any problems accessing cCBT contact your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). You can also contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service on 0300 5000 927.
Psychotherapy looks at how your early or past experiences affect you now. There are different types of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is not like counselling or CBT. Psychotherapy helps you understand yourself more and is done over a longer time period. Psychotherapy can be useful for people who have a long term or recurring problem.
As you may be expected to talk about possibly difficult or upsetting events you may feel psychotherapy is not suitable for you. If you are considering psychotherapy you should talk to the therapist about what to expect before you start.
Family intervention Programme (FIP) / Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
Family intervention programmes (FIP) were originally set up to help families deal with a relative who has drug, alcohol or gambling addictions, eating disorders or other harmful behaviour.
The FIP has been adapted to help families caring for someone with schizophrenia. Research shows that family interventions may reduce the risk of relapse and going back into hospital for people with schizophrenia.
Some local authorities or NHS Trusts offer Multisystemic Therapy (MST). MST aims to help families with similar problems as FIP. MST is helpful when there is a young family member who behaves in a difficult or harmful way. FIP and MST are based on an individual or group changing their behaviour by learning from other people in social situations. A therapist comes to your house and works with your whole family to tackle these problems. A therapist may come several times a week for three to six months depending on your needs.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a form of talking therapy for people with borderline personality disorder and significant self harming behaviour.
During DBT you learn how to control your behaviour and cope with distress. You learn how to reduce harmful behaviours like self harm and also how to deal with relationship problems. You would be expected to go to group sessions, one-to-one sessions, and education groups. You are offered telephone support between sessions during DBT. NICE says DBT can be helpful for people with borderline personality disorder but your local NHS Trust may not offer it. You can contact your local PALS to find out if your local trust offers DBT.
Are there other types of therapy?
Creative therapies use areas such as art and drama to:
• Make you more in touch with how you feel
• Improve how you communicate with other people
• Make you feel less anxious
• Make you feel better about yourself.
Art therapy encourages you to express emotion and explore your problems using a wide range of art materials. Art therapy can be helpful to people who may have difficulty expressing themselves in words.
Drama therapy uses drama or theatrical techniques (such as roleplay, mime, story telling) to help you express yourself and understand how you feel.
There is a very wide range of other therapies available and the one that suits you may not be in the list above. You can get a more information about different therapies available by contacting the UK Council For Psychotherapy or British Association of Counselling and psychotherapy. Their details are in further information.
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