Psychological Therapies – A Review of the Current Therapies Available (a service receiver’s view).

Psychological Therapies

 A Review of the Current Therapies Available.

A Service Receiver’s View.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to have access to psychological therapy.  In this article I will attempt to summarise the benefits and disadvantages of the main types of psychological therapies currently available from my point of view.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Good for:  A short term practical solution for dealing with symptoms of anxiety and depression by challenging your thoughts and changing your behaviour.

Disadvantages:  Only looks at the symptoms in the here and now and not the cause.  Some tasks are easier to do than others.  For example, I found the thought diaries difficult to complete as I was taken over by unhelpful automatic thoughts.  I found the CBT techniques that I had learnt difficult to maintain as a long term solution because the underlying unhelpful core beliefs come back over time.

For more information about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy see:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx

For an easy to follow online CBT programme see Living Life to the Full:  http://www.llttf.com/

Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT)

Good for: Identifying current unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour that were learnt in childhood, gaining insight into these patterns and identifying alternative “exit strategies” from these patterns to effect change.  Exit strategies can be described as alternative ways of coping or behaving.  The client is given a “reformulation letter” and diagram of their past and present thinking and behaviour patterns for them to discuss and work on during therapy.  This therapy can be more powerful than CBT because the cause of the behaviour is examined and ingrained patterns of thinking and behaviour can be changed.

Disadvantages: Not as practical as CBT.  It can take a lot of work to effect change.

For more information about CAT Therapy see: http://www.acat.me.uk/page/about+cat

Mindfulness/Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Good for: A longer term solution for symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Can help you deal healthily with painful thoughts so that they have less effect on you, focus more effectively on living in the present moment, identify achievable goals and take committed action in line with your values for a more meaningful life.  I found the values work and goal setting particularly helpful.  This therapy is taught in a group in 8 – 12 sessions so you can learn from other people.

Disadvantages: Takes a lot of patience and persistence to practice the mindfulness exercises and gain benefit from them.  Some people may feel uncomfortable working in a group.

For more information about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy see:

http://www.actmindfully.com.au/acceptance_&_commitment_therapy

Of all the psychological therapies that I have tried over the years, the one I would recommend to others as a practical long term solution to overcoming symptoms of anxiety and depression is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  The powerful combination of learning to detach from and accept thoughts using mindfulness exercises and become more present, together with continuously looking at what is really important in all areas of life, setting achievable goals and taking committed action in these areas means that over the last few years my quality of life has improved (and continues to improve) in the areas that are important to me.

If you have a consultant psychiatrist, access to psychological therapies has to be agreed by them. If you are interested in any of these therapies then talk to your consultant and show them this article.

When you are referred to a clinical psychologist, they will do an assessment to decide which kind of therapy (if any) is most suitable for you.

If you do not have a consultant, talk to your GP about the options currently available and show them this article.

Amethyst

December 2011

 

 

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