What is talk therapy?
Talk therapy, also called psychotherapy, is a therapeutic approach where the client explores their feelings, struggles, and thoughts via direct communication with a trained professional. It's an effective technique used to assess and treat a host of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, personality disorders, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and many more.
The process of talk therapy
The way talk therapy is conducted can vary depending on the healthcare professional and the setting. It can be conducted in person in a hospital or clinic setting or remotely from the comfort of your home. It starts with gathering background knowledge about the client which could be through filling out a form, talking about it or a combination of both.
Along with speaking, the therapist may also impart coping mechanisms or approaches to help in particular areas. Between sessions, there might be other things to focus on, like journaling, observing one's thoughts and responses, or honing coping mechanisms.
Who does talk therapy?
Talk therapy is performed by trained mental health professionals. Some of these professionals include counsellors, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists. The professionals might be specialised in dealing with specific issues or would've been trained in different therapeutic techniques.
Different types of talk therapy
The various types of talk therapy involve the mental health professional and the client engaging in a conversation. However, the areas which are focused upon in these conversations will vary across different approaches. Your psychologist is trained in different types of therapy and will deploy a technique or a combination of techniques which they feel will suit you the best. The following are the different types of talk therapy for mental health:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
A mix of cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy is used in cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to examine the connections between your ideas, feelings, and behaviours. With the help of your therapist, you will use CBT to pinpoint unhelpful thinking patterns and how they could be influencing your problematic behaviours and beliefs.
Recognising negative thought patterns will help you create healthier thought processes that result in more positive behaviour and attitudes. For instance, cognitive-behavioural therapy can assist you in changing your negative thoughts—such as, "I'm a big failure at my job"—with positive ones, such as, "I'm good at most of the tasks assigned at work, but I could use some help in learning how to manage multiple projects."
Psychodynamic Talk Therapy
Psychodynamic treatment is based on the notion that a person's unconscious beliefs and perceptions are formed throughout their childhood. Their present behaviours and perceptions are influenced by these unconscious ideas and impressions. Psychodynamic talk therapy would involve increasing awareness of these unconscious beliefs.
The goal of interpersonal counselling (IPT) is to enhance your ability to interact with others by focusing on your interpersonal interactions. During IPT, you'll collaborate with your therapist to evaluate your social contacts, spot any problematic tendencies, and discover fresh approaches to favourably engage with others daily.
Humanistic Talk Therapy
The humanistic approach to therapy places more emphasis on one's ability to grow in the present than dwell on the past. This approach's primary tenet is that taking personal responsibility can result in development and transformation. This method takes into account the person's perspective and examines them as a whole.
In this kind of treatment, the discussion may centre on the patient's individuality, current feelings and ideas rather than previous events, and how to go ahead after becoming self-aware.
How can talk therapy change your life?
Therapeutic space is safe, and therapeutic relationships can transform your life. At times, it helps to talk to a stranger rather than a close friend or family member. A therapeutic space allows you to discuss anything and everything on your mind without judgement and can assist you in seeking solutions to problems which are bothering you.
You'll have time with the therapist to talk, weep, yell, or simply ponder. It's a golden opportunity to approach your issues differently with someone who will value your thoughts. The following are the benefits of talk therapy (subject to individual differences):
- Talk therapy helps you explore yourself to the fullest and also gives you a different lens to view others in your life. Without processing our negative ideas, they get embedded in our minds, causing us to view the world through that perspective and make several assumptions which aren't true half the time. Talk therapy can help you clear your mind from these negative preconceptions, which will help you understand what others are trying to convey more realistically.
- Repressed emotions can come back later and create uncomfortable conflicts in your mind. Talking about them in the present and dealing with them will ensure that they're resolved for good, and you won't have to worry about a full-blown breakdown in the future.
- Talk therapy can help you build your emotional toolkit, which can be used in future when dealing with difficult times, and challenges which life throws at you. It will foster healthy coping skills.
- Have you ever observed how mentally circling an issue over and over leads to nowhere? When a problem is merely a shapeless blob in your thoughts, it may be very easy to feel overwhelmed by it, but talking about the issue gives it a beginning, middle, and finish. And that makes it easier for your mind to process.
- Self-medication is a very prevalent way to "deal" with psychological issues. But it only hides the problem; it does nothing to truly address it. Additionally, it starts an addictive cycle, which could make the actual issue worse. In-depth treatment of your prior issues in therapy will eventually eliminate the need for self-medication. You will also be free from worrying about the negative things of the past.
Therapy is a long and beautiful process which requires patience and commitment. In addition to showing up consistently for therapy, you also have to work on the issues with the guidance of your therapist to see real transformation. The benefits of talk therapy can include improved relationships, increased self-awareness, and decreased symptoms of mental health disorders. If you are struggling with mental health issues, seeking out a qualified therapist can be a helpful step towards improving your overall well-being. If you or your loved ones are struggling with mental health and need a safe space, Rocket Health is here for you. Book an online consultation with our judgement-free and trained psychotherapists to begin your journey of healing and self-discovery.