When we’re considering alternative health options we now live in a world where accepting the impact of our mental health is becoming just as important as our physical health. We understand that the two aren’t independent of each other and are often intrinsically linked. Poor mental health can lead to poor physical health because we understand how much that stress and anxiety is responsible for our body performing poorly under the additional pressures that lead to physical symptoms and illness. By the same practice suffering poor physical health or illness can add to worries and anxieties that can lead to depression.
There are many methods suggesting ways in dealing with problems developed by our thinking and thought processes, but of those methods available the rising popularity of talking therapies has clearly shown to be a process that looks to the root of those problems as opposed to alternatives that simply carry us through what might just be a difficult situation.
A typical route dealing with mental health problems has long been to visit your GP to assess the level of problem and suggest options to appease the symptoms. Medication has long been the typified route possibly due to high costs of talking therapy treatments compared to the moderately inexpensive prescription from a range of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications.
However, the results from talking therapies are much more in tune with dealing with the problem at its source and considering a long-term fix as to a short-term management.
Psychology vs Psychiatry?
Both areas are involved with the study of mental health, human behaviours, mental disorders and emotional wellbeing. The primary difference between the two is that a psychiatrist has undergone the education and training to become a doctor so can prescribe medication as a treatment to the problems they uncover.
A psychologist is trained to deal with emotional and mental suffering using behavioural treatments, understanding how our brains are processing issues to cause those problems and how to use that information to change those processes to repair or manage them better.
A psychiatrist and a psychologist can often work together to help the same person, each with methods that can work within a complete treatment package.
Once considered an alternative method the talking therapies utilised by psychologists and psychiatrists are now accepted as mainstream procedure, producing regulated and positive outcomes in many areas of poor mental health.
Psychiatry, being the more accepted medical route, deals with issues where medication is a premium option in treating a problem. They are imperative to aid sufferers of serious mental health problems including mood disorders as depression and bi-polar, psychoses issues of schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, compulsions, substance abuse and addictions; all mental health issues and behaviours where medication is a primary option for assisting a patient’s recovery.
Psychology is better suited to mental health problems that are the result of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that have created unhealthy thought processes that often lead to long-term emotional problems. A psychologist will utilise various methods of helping to reprogram problem areas of thinking, using cognitive processes in order to help someone understand how the human mind is supposed to work, where it fails to get things right at times and how to replace those problem processes with healthy ones. This is done through the analysis of a patient’s emotional state, why it has developed in such a way, and how to alleviate the problems. This probing through deep conversation and applying new ways of considering and acting upon our issues in order to rectify the cause of those problems is called psychotherapy.
Areas of psychotherapy
Cognitive, or ‘thinking’, therapy focuses on the thoughts that affect your emotional well-being and uses alternate thinking processes to combat the negative outcome. These techniques are designed to challenge your preconceptions and build new ways to achieve healthier goals in line with how the science of psychotherapy has learned the different parts of our brain deals with our emotions, feelings, moods and how to better manage our thought processes and how to replace the unhealthy mismanaged ones. The strategies and techniques you will need to apply will often happen between sessions in order to practice them, and to teach your brain and yourself the new ways of managing the issues that bring problems to your daily life.
This area of therapy is concerned with the problems arising from relationships with other people. Whether they are your family, friends, colleagues or romantic relationships, our interactions with people are highly responsible for our emotional and mental wellbeing. The recognition of unhealthy behaviours and their resulting problems are then processed to offer a chance of correcting them in order to alleviate the problems they are causing.
Psychodynamic therapy will explore patterns in your behaviour that you may not be aware of. These behaviours may be the result of trauma you may not necessarily recognise as affecting contributors to your problems and may lay deep in your subconscious. Without understanding them and being able to process them in a way your brain can healthily lay them to rest they will remain active under the surface continuing to cause areas of unhappiness and imbalance.
A one-to-one session discussing a client’s problems and needs, often to outline the cause of the issues and the options of the different and preferred ways to treat them. Realising goals and creating strategies are developed through the analysis by delving deeply into what is causing the current issues.
A deeper analysis into the interpersonal problems between romantic relationships, held between both parties in order to outline where the issues have developed and what could have created them in the first place. Working through their resolution as a team is the goal of achieving balance and a healthy happy union.
Group therapy is held between groups of strangers at a given location where each of them are invited to share experiences in order to understand and introduce alternate strategies to the others with a view to helping each other processing their own individual problems.
Understanding how we work
Utilising psychology to understand how we operate as human beings and how to adapt the areas we’ve inadvertently or subconsciously chosen to react and behave to in unhealthy ways, ways that often that lead to bigger and more serious problems, is the difference to utilising medication to balance our bodies chemicals when they are out of sync. It is an area that is becoming more and more popular and understood, even more useful when working alongside other good mental health behaviours such as regular exercise, meditation, diet and more, in order to help us create the more rounded, happy, healthy and focussed versions of our selves that we hope to be.