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What Are the Types of Mental Health Treatments?

Treatments Options for People in Need

You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the mountain of information while researching the types of mental health treatments. Whether you’re trying to find answers for yourself or someone you love, the vast amount of advice from various sources can be overwhelming. 

Just like there are various mental health concerns, there are many types of treatments. The internet is a good starting point, but it can be challenging to sift through. 

Here is an overview of the different types of mental health treatments, how mental health treatment can help, and ways to get more information from a trusted source. 

How Mental Health Treatment Can Help

How can you be confident that mental health treatment works? Does it actually help? How does it work?

Scientists have studied most mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, trauma-related disorders, and personality disorders, and concluded that a combination of talk therapy and medication has the biggest impact on improving mental health. 

Common ways mental health treatment can help include:

  • Better Quality of Life. Improve your quality of life by decreasing negative symptoms like worry or sadness.
  • Improved Relationships. Learn communication skills that help you in your relationships and become more familiar with yourself so you can show up more fully in your relationships.
  • Feeling Better. Learn coping skills that help you manage your symptoms and feel better physically and mentally.
  • Living Authentically. Encourages you to be yourself and meet your goals.

Mental health treatment is highly individualized. Your treatment plan may look completely different from a person who has a similar issue just because you are each unique people with certain experiences, preferences, and ways of life.

“Regardless of the mental health treatment, it should meet you where you are. The goal is for treatment to help you heal and improve your life. So, the most important aspect of treatment is that it fits you and your individual needs,” said Melisse Prusinski, LMFT, Clinical Manager at Integrative Life Center.

Settings for Mental Health Treatment

Mental health treatment takes place in various settings. There are differences in levels of care at each location.

Treatment settings include:

  • Inpatient. Inpatient facilities supply the highest level of care — 24/7 staff availability. This level of care is sometimes involuntary.
  • Residential. Residential mental health treatment or intensive outpatient treatment centers provide the next highest level of care, often requiring clients to attend a certain number of hours of treatment per day or week.
  • Outpatient. Outpatient mental health treatment is the most familiar form of voluntary treatment. People often go to counseling, whether that’s at a private practice or a community agency, once a week.
  • Groups. Group mental health treatment can be helpful for specific issues, like substance use disorders, grief, or developing social skills.

Types of Mental Health Treatments

Mental health treatment varies greatly from individual to individual, but some common treatment types exist. Here are some mental health treatments, how they work, and what types of mental health concerns they treat. 

Psychological Treatment

Often backed by theory and research, psychological treatment involves specific techniques and teachings that make the hallmark of each type. Below are some contemporary counseling models and general features that distinguish them, according to Dr. Gerald Corey,  Professor Emeritus of Human Services at California State University at Fullerton and counseling expert.

  • Psychodynamic Approaches. Psychodynamic approaches focus on the unconscious and how bringing awareness to unconscious desire produces insight into how to be more functional as a human being.
  • Experiential and Relationship-Oriented. These approaches include existential therapy, person-centered therapy, and the Gestalt approach. Existential therapy relies heavily on the philosophy of existentialism and explores themes of meaning. Person-centered therapy emphasizes the innate potential of each person and encourages this potential. Gestalt therapy focuses on awareness and the here and now.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Approaches. Cognitive behavioral approaches focus mainly on behavior and actions. These approaches include classic behaviorism, which emphasizes factors that either increase or decrease specific behaviors, and approaches that focus more on a person’s thoughts and how those contribute to their actions and experiences.
  • Systems and Postmodern Approaches. Systems approaches include feminist therapy and family systems therapy. They emphasize that you can’t remove a person from their social context. For this reason, mental health treatment must consider the systems in which people exist to address their mental health. Postmodern approaches, like solution-focused brief therapy and narrative therapy, recognize that each person’s reality is unique, and mental health treatment must consider the various factors that make up their experience of the world.

Most trained mental health professionals use some combination of theories and techniques. Modern-day psychological treatment recognizes that not all people are the same, so therapy can’t be one-size-fits-all. 

“There is no one therapy that works like a magic bullet for people. That’s why it’s essential to determine what mix of approaches will work best for each individual,” Melisse said. 

Creative and Supportive Therapy

In addition to traditional theoretical approaches, there are mental health treatments that incorporate things you may not think have a place in therapy. Research supports these mental health treatments, and they can be great options for people looking for non-traditional counseling or who are looking to incorporate non-traditional approaches into their overall mental health treatment plan.

Creative and Support therapies include:

  • Animal-Assisted Therapy. This approach includes a variety of animals, with the most robust field being equine therapy. Equine therapy involves caring for and interacting with horses for mental health benefits. Horses are intuitive by nature and can help people with social skills, anxiety, depression, and more.
  • Art, Music, Dance, or Drama Therapies. Art, music, dance, and drama therapy are all research-backed forms of mental health treatment that incorporate creative skills to improve mental health or lessen symptoms.

Supplementary and Alternative Treatments

Supplementary and alternative treatments can also be incorporated into an individual’s mental health treatment plan, depending on their specific issues, interests, and abilities.

Alternative therapies include:

  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice that uses small needles and pressure points on the body to relieve stress.
  • Massage. Massage for mental health can help improve pain and aid in relaxation and mindfulness. 
  • Mindfulness and Meditation. Many traditional counseling approaches are beginning to incorporate more mindfulness and meditation practices because research shows these techniques can reduce the negative effects of stress.
  • Yoga. Yoga is one of the most robustly researched forms of exercise/movement shown to decrease stress and the negative effects of stress.

This list of therapies isn’t comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of the types of treatment out there. These approaches to mental health are often combined in some ways to contribute to the whole health of the individual.

“People live in the world, so it’s best for them to have therapies to teach them how to be an active participant in the environment around them,” Melisse explained.

Choosing the Best Treatment for You

You have a lot of things to consider when choosing the best treatment for your mental health plan. Trained mental health professionals at Integrative Life Center are here to help you sort out your options, including making recommendations about the best approaches for you, your insurance coverage and price details, your time commitment needs, and comfort levels.

Integrative Life Center employs professionals who specialize in many of the types of mental health treatment mentioned above. Contact ILC today to speak with someone who can assist you or your loved one in initiating the mental health plan that works for you.

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