According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than one in 20 Americans (ages 12 and older) are depressed. Considering the declining economic environment, decrease in gainful employment and the general lack of access to mental health care, it doesn’t take a psychology degree to know that more and more Americans are feeling less comfortable about the state of the world and the lack of security in their lives.
The CDC goes on to report that 80% of the individuals who reported being depressed experienced functional impairment, while 27% reported their depression made it extremely difficult to operate on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, the CDC reports that only 29% of depressed individuals contacted a mental health professional, like a therapist, in the last year.
While many Americans may look to prescription medications to help manage depression, others may be more inclined to talk with a mental health care professional about their personal issues. A psychologist or a psychotherapist can help you talk through your issues and give you strategies for how you can best respond and react to the changes that will surely occur in your life.
Why Therapy Is Helpful
The psychotherapy approach offers patients a way to share their thoughts and feelings with another person and provides patients with a pathway to understand how they process information and experiences. Touted as a talking therapy, psychotherapy is helpful for individuals who suffer from a range of dysfunction, emotional issues and behavioral problems, as well as those going through a change in life or pursuing career and relationship counseling. Therapy is performed by a certified psychotherapist and is known as an effective treatment for mood, personality and anxiety disorders, as well as with eating and substance abuse disorders.
There are several different forms of psychotherapy – all of which work to help individuals talk through their problems with the help of a certified mental health care professional. Psychotherapy can be used on both men and women and has also been determined to be a useful tool for communicating with children. According to the Mayo Clinic, while most psychotherapy focuses on helping an individual change their behavior; there are other forms of therapy – such as group therapy – that focus on the communication patterns and experiences of more than one individual at a time.
Behavioral therapy, also known as cognitive behavioral therapy, is one of the most common types of therapy. This particular method focuses on helping the patient understand how their brain processes information by helping the individual become aware of patterns like self-sabotaging behaviors.
Behavioral therapy is especially helpful for teaching individuals how to deal with difficult situations – such a confronting a phobia, for instance. Additionally, this method provides individuals with strategies for responding to life’s challenges in a more healthy and effective way.
Group therapy is a form of therapy in which two or more patients work with one or more psychotherapists. In this type of setting, group members can share their experience, offer advice and compare coping strategies.
This method is commonly used with individuals suffering from a mental illness like post-traumatic stress disorder or in substance abuse programs like Alcohol Anonymous. Many rehabilitation centers include some form of group therapy in their rehab programs in order to provide an environment where patients can share their stories, experiences, and lessons learned.
This one-on-one form of therapy involves the psychotherapist identifying patterns and past events that may be impacting the patient’s life. Using this type of method, therapists look for patterns or events that may play a role their patient’s current dysfunction. Psychoanalytical therapy is performed by a psychoanalyst and basically suggests that a person’s childhood and specific life events shape a person’s behavior as an adult.
Therapy for Children
There are also psychotherapists who specialize in talking with children and young adults. If your child seems stressed, or if they need help coping with life’s difficulties, they may want to talk to a therapist in your community.
If you are one of the one in 20 Americans who need to take control of your mental health, or if you need to develop coping skills to help you lead a worry-free life, think about talking with a therapist in your community. But, before you decide to share the details of your life with a new doctor, get a quality referral from a friend or mentor, or search for a certified therapist online using a consumer referral website.
About the Author: Allison Gamble has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing.