In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week(1). Longer working hours, excessive exposure to social media and the availability of round-the-clock entertainment at our fingertips – these might be some stressors contributing to a lifestyle that ultimately triggers mental health issues or emotional distress, besides genetic and subjective socioeconomic factors.

Therapy, short for psychotherapy, or counselling is when one can talk openly with a licensed mental health professional who is ‘objective, neutral and non-judgemental’. Using research-based techniques, the therapist helps the patient work through their problems. 

Unfortunately, there still remains a stigma around therapy due to misconceptions that desperately need to be weeded out. Psychotherapy can be interactive, collaborative and might just be the first step to feeling better, as long as you are willing to ask for help. There are several types of therapy that you can choose from; a conversation with your therapist should help you zero in on which kind you can best benefit from. In the first volume of this two-part series, we explored Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Compassion-Focused Therapy and Person-centred Therapy.

Here are three other types of different therapy that are available, and who they are targeted towards:

  1. Integrative Therapy 

Integrative therapy believes in the concept of the integration of different approaches of psychotherapy and focusing on the individual as a whole. The therapist caters the experience for each client using concepts and techniques derived from an array of approaches, as suited to the client’s needs.

Some of the modalities included can be drawn from humanistic therapies, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies and cognitive and behavioural therapies.

Individuals who want to overcome negative patterns of behaviour stemming from anxiety, fears or phobias may find integrative therapy highly beneficial. Those suffering from other mental health concerns including addiction, depression, past and current trauma, bereavement and low self-esteem would also find this therapy useful. In addition, it has been useful in improving daily function in kids with learning difficulties and autism. 

  1. Solution-focused brief therapy

Also known as solution-focused brief therapy or brief therapy, this is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on solution-building rather than problem-solving. It addresses current problems or issues through the lens of the individual’s resources and future hopes, helping them to use their own abilities to achieve their goals. 

Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, along with their team at the Brief Family Center, founded solution-focused brief therapy in the US in the 1980’s, based on seven basic philosophies and assumptions:

  • Change is both constant and certain.
  • Clients must want to change.
  • Clients are the experts and outline their own goals.
  • Clients have resources and their own strengths to solve and overcome their problems.
  • Therapy is short-term.
  • Emphasis is on what is changeable and possible.
  • Focus on the future – history is not essential.

According to counsellor Gerry McCanny, “The aims of solution-focused brief therapy are to make interventions brief, efficient, easily understood by clients and useful in a range of contexts. Research suggests that it is a practical and easily adaptable approach for a broad range of problems.”

  1. Transactional analysis

Transactional analysis (TA) is a versatile form of modern psychology founded in the late 1950’s that is geared towards promoting change and personal growth. Drawing on themes from humanistic, integrative and psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, it is based on the theory of every individual having three ego-states – parent, adult and child. 

The therapist uses these along with other transactional analysis concepts to figure out how the individual communicates and works directly on problem-solving behaviours. 

Ultimately, the goal is to help the individual take back control of their life, with this autonomy being defined as the regaining of three integral human capacities – ‘intimacy, spontaneity and awareness’. 

Transactional analysis has been found to be useful when there is a deeper understanding of communication styles and relationships. Issues of conflict or confusion can be solved through this type of therapy and relationship issues, whether it is between couples, friends or families, can benefit from it. 

What is the importance of getting help at the right time?

We cannot emphasise the importance of getting help at the right time from a licensed mental health professional if you’re struggling with feelings of stress and anxiety, especially over a long period of time. The therapist will be able to work through your issues with an approach that is suited to your needs and problems, and whatever you share with the therapist is completely confidential.

Simply put – 

If you or a loved one has been struggling psychologically, we urge you to discard of any misguided conceptions and go ahead and seek the help you deserve so that you can feel better soon.

Better food habits, regular physical exercise and practising mindfulness and meditation can also go a long way in helping to destress and in lifting your mood. Through stress management tools like these, in addition to therapy, if required, it is possible to improve the quality of your life in a big way.