Talk therapy has been found to be an effective form of treatment for mental health as well as treating mental disorders such as schizophrenia. A recent study revealed that over two million people in America have a diagnosis of schizophrenia and primary treatment involves the use of medications. The same study also revealed the benefits of using talk therapy as a means to treat schizophrenia.
The findings were published in The American Journal of Psychiatry where researchers evaluated the effectiveness of talk therapy. Although the use of drugs is effective in many people, they can come with a slew of negative side effects including weight gain and emotional numbing; therefore, an alternative or complementary treatment is necessary.
For the study patients either received low dosages of medications and talk therapy or they received traditional care. The results showed that those in the combined care improved much greater than those in the traditional care, including greater symptom relief as well as functioning better overall. The results reveal the importance of talk therapy in the treatment of mental disorders.
What is talk therapy?
Talk therapy – or psychotherapy – utilizes conversation as a form of expression to release inner feelings. Individuals can discuss whatever is on their mind and how they are feeling as a means of working through the issue.
Because mental health is such a pressing issue in today’s world – roughly a quarter of Americans experience some mental health issue, according to the National Institute of Mental Health – talk therapy is a natural solution to combat these problems. When we keep our issues to ourselves, they can weigh heavily on our mental health and make things worse. Not only does talk therapy allow individuals to express their feelings, but it also helps create stronger relationships as people begin to better understand one another.
As mentioned, we often practice a version of talk therapy with friends and family. Unfortunately, as much as these individuals attempt to help, they aren’t trained like therapists are to deal with the real issues. Therefore, talk therapy is best done with a trained therapist.
These therapists are experts in helping you to not only express your feelings, but also to find coping mechanisms you can utilize every day to overcome your fear or illness.
Considering talk therapy
Talk therapy isn’t solely intended for those with mental health issues. Talk therapy can be a means of overcoming any obstacle; for example, work issues, relationship woes or family stress. Whatever is weighing you down can be worked upon or resolved through talk therapy.
Talk therapy may also be helpful if you have a fear of being judged by those close to you. Maybe you feel your family or friends simply won’t understand what you’re experiencing. Seeking out a therapist is a good judgment-free solution.
Talk therapy is essentially about understanding and making a change. So whatever change you are looking to make, talk therapy can help you through it.
Types of talk therapies
Because you can use talk therapy for a variety of issues, there are many different types of talk therapies available. Below are five types of talk therapies you may want to consider or further explore with a trained professional:
Cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT)
This type of talk therapy looks at our reactions to our feelings, as well as changing our behavior as a means of improving how we feel. Cognitive behavioral therapy is primarily a scientific approach to talk therapy completed in the short term. This form of talk therapy is best designed for those seeking a solution or who have a goal they wish to meet.
Dialectic behavior therapy (DBT)
DBT combines treatments from cognitive behavioral therapy with meditation. It can occur both on an individual level as well as in a group setting. DBT is best suited for people with eating and personality disorders.
This type of talk therapy explores how early life experiences influence your current-day thinking. By understanding your past, you can make appropriate changes in your future.
By using a whole-person approach, problems are solved with a variety of practices and theories along with working on a person’s full potential. This type of talk therapy is best suited as treatment for depression and addiction, but humanistic therapy can work to overcome any specific problem as well.
Other kinds of talk therapy
Other types of talk therapy include relationship counseling, group therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, motivational counseling and life coaching, to name just a few.
Benefits of talk therapy
There are many benefits of talk therapy, from treating addiction or depression to even mending relationships. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of talk therapies:
- Insomnia: Talk therapy has been shown to improve insomnia. Reviews of more than 20 studies using cognitive behavioral therapies revealed it was effective in getting those with insomnia to fall asleep – and stay asleep!
- Reduce back pain: Published in The Lancet, 701 participants experienced either 90 minutes of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and tips on how to improve back pain, or regular back pain treatment. Those in the CBT group experienced a greater reduction in back pain by the end of the study.
- Less depression and improved heart health: We’ve mentioned that talk therapy works to reduce depression, but in one study, it also improved heart health. People who received a combined treatment of talk therapy and biofeedback had a lower risk of hospitalization due to heart problems and fewer symptoms of depression. The findings were published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure.
- Depression: A 2014 study in JAMA Psychiatry revealed participants who received antidepressants along with talk therapy had better recovery rates than those who only received the drug therapy.
As you can see, talk therapy can be beneficial for a broad spectrum of ailments, from physical pain to mental health. Talk therapy offers benefits for one’s mental state, but it’s also safe and natural. Unlike medications, talk therapy doesn’t lead to negative physical side effects.
With so many types of talk therapy, you can surely find the type best suited to your needs. Whether you have a goal in mind or a problem to move past, talk therapy can work to improve your life overall. Finding a trained therapist can help you achieve the best results and offer the most benefits.
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