Information on a range of psychological therapies and treatments
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling are known as talking therapies. They are psychological treatments for mental health and emotional problems such as anxiety, depression and stress. The treatment is delivered by a trained therapist and may be through one to one sessions, group sessions, online, over the phone or with the family unit. Psychodynamic psychotherapy, CBT, DBT, art therapy, drama therapy, music therapy and movement therapy are all types of psychotherapy. What they have in common is that they are known as talking therapies and involve a therapist working with the ‘patient’ or ‘client’.
How does psychotherapy work?
Psychotherapy usually involves regular meetings at the same time and same place every week or two weeks. In most cases the length of the treatment will be agreed with the psychotherapist within a month or so of starting. What happens during a session is usually considered confidential and will only be discussed with the psychotherapist's supervisor.
Psychotherapy provides an environment in which the patient/client is encouraged to express how they are feeling and to gain insights into the issues they are facing. The therapist aims to help the patient/client find better ways to cope or bring about change that helps improve their mental health and wellbeing.
What are the benefits of psychotherapy?
There is good evidence to show that psychotherapy can help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, the affects of trauma and psychotic symptoms.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT
What is CBT?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment, a “talking therapy”. It works by helping people to understand how problems begin and what keeps them going. CBT involves focussing on thoughts, feelings and behaviours and how they link together. CBT is an evidence-based treatment (research trials have demonstrated its effectiveness) that has been found to be effective in helping young people with a wide range of problems, including:
- low self esteem
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- post–traumatic stress disorder
- chronic fatigue
- chronic pain
CBT can be delivered through face to face meetings with a therapist as well as through online programmes designed and developed for the treatment of certain mental health conditions such as anxiety.
How does CBT work?
By understanding the link between thoughts, emotions and behaviour it is possible to arrive at a better understanding of the problem.
The process involves:
- Working to understand the individual problem
- Identifying links between thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
- Working to try and understand what is keeping the problem going.
- Trying out different ways to problem solve
What are the benefits of CBT?
CBT can help to improve how a young person thinks and feels. This is achieved by being able to approach situations in a more balanced way. This helps with solving problems and feeling more in control of life events.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy DBT
What is DBT?
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a type of talking treatment. It's based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) but has been adapted to help people who experience emotions very intensely. Central to DBT is the relationship between the therapist and client. The relationship acts as a motivator to work towards positive change.
How does DBT work?
DBT works on the principles of finding a balance between acceptance and change. The therapy works by helping the individual accept that they have difficulty in regulating emotion that can then lead to unhelpful and destructive behaviours. The other element of the therapy works on skills that can help manage or change unhelpful behaviours.
The therapy has three strands:
- 1-1 sessions with a therapist. These sessions take place regularly, usually weekly. The therapeutic relationship is central to DBT.
- Skills training. Skills are taught and practiced in a group setting. There are four skills modules: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress intolerance and emotional regulation.
- Phone crisis sessions. The therapist is available via telephone if the individual needs help in an immediate crisis (feeling suicidal) or needs help using new skills.
What are the benefits of DBT?
DBT was first developed to support people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, however research has shown that it is effective for some people experiencing, self-harm, suicide attempts and depression. The main benefits of DBT is learning to accept that there is a problem in the first place and working actively in a practical way to learn and develop skills that can be used when unhelpful thoughts and behaviours occur. The therapist works to support the individual work to accept what they are feeling but to manage their behaviour in a more balanced and positive way.
What is art therapy?
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary form of communication. It is not necessary to have previous experience or skill in art. Art therapy is delivered by trained and registered art therapists. Clients may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses. These include emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions and physical illnesses. Art therapy is provided individually or in groups depending on the need of the individual.
How does art therapy work?
The overall aim of art therapy is to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment. Art therapists work with children, young people, adults and the elderly.
What are the benefits of art therapy?
Art therapy is not dependant on spoken language and can therefore be helpful to anyone who finds it difficult to express their thoughts and feelings verbally.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy is an established therapeutic intervention. It is based on the idea that everyone has the ability to respond to music. Music has the power to connect with people on a number of levels and it is this connection that is harnessed by music therapists. Through engaging in live music interaction music therapy can help facilitate communication skills, develop self confidence, enhance self awareness and the awareness of others and improve concentration and attention skills.
How does music therapy work?
Music therapy is delivered by trained and registered music therapists.
Central to how music therapy works is the therapeutic relationship that is established and developed, through engagement in live musical interaction and play between a therapist and client. It is not necessary to have experience of playing or learning a musical instrument to undergo music therapy.
A wide range of musical styles and instruments can be used, including the voice, and the music is often improvised. Using music in this way enables clients to create their own unique musical language in which to explore and connect with the world and express themselves.
What are the benefits of music therapy?
Music therapy can help people who have been affected by injury, illness or disability to express their feelings, reduce isolation, and encourage social interaction.
Music therapy does not rely on spoken language. It is seen as an effective therapeutic intervention for people who may be experiencing difficulty in communicating verbally.
What is drama therapy?
Drama therapy is a type of psychological therapy. It uses performance arts to develop the therapeutic relationship. Drama therapists are both artists and clinicians and use their training in drama and therapy to find a way to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.
How does drama therapy work?
Drama therapists are trained to help clients find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable.
Drama therapy uses a range of performing arts techniques such as, stories, myths, play texts, puppetry, masks, movement and improvisation to explore difficult and painful experiences.
Drama therapy can be delivered individually but it is more often delivered as a group therapy.
What are the benefits of drama therapy
Drama therapy is a way to process emotions and problem solve. The indirect approach to exploring issues and difficulties makes drama therapy suitable if dealing directly with an emotion or difficulty is too difficult. There is evidence that drama therapy can help build confidence and develop communication skills. It can be used successfully with children, young people and adults experiencing a range of mental health conditions.
Treatments for mental health conditions may include the use of medication alongside psychological therapies.
Useful Information about the range of medication available can be found here:
Information on CBT from Mind, a leading mental health charity
Information on DBT from Mind, a leading mental health charity
Information from The Royal College of Psychiatrists
Information from The Mental Health Foundation
The British Association of Art Therapists
Arts and creative therapies information from the mental health charity Mind