Every year, one in every five American adults experience with mental illness. When people with such symptoms refuse to seek treatment, they continue to suffer, and symptoms can worsen. Without some type of treatment, people with mental illnesses are more likely to drop out of school, lose their jobs, or even suffer an early death.
LifeStance Health is proud to offer several treatment options for people with mental health disorders. Each patient needs different mixtures of treatments to start feeling better. While medications can save lives, some patients do not tolerate drugs well, and others may need additional support. That’s why LifeStance Health offers non-medication treatments, including:
- Couples’ Therapy
- Family Counseling
- Other types of therapy
The information below outlines some of the basic of each of these methods. Only a trained mental health professional who evaluates your health can help you determine which treatment option is right for you.
All non-medication mental health treatments find their roots in psychotherapy. Counselors root their psychotherapy practices in empathy and identifying what patients need. During each session, patients and therapists work together to combat the mental illnesses and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Although each session is different, psychotherapy patients can expect their counselors to help them:
- Identify and use their natural strengths
- Understand their symptoms and triggers
- Learn coping mechanisms to replace those symptoms
- Understand how their pasts affect their current emotions
- Navigate difficult situations in life
Therapy typically involves weekly or monthly sessions for at least six months. Some people continue to see their therapists for years after their symptoms resolve as maintenance or a preventative measure.
Types of Psychotherapy
“Psychotherapy” is an umbrella term with several distinct kinds of therapy under it. Mental health professionals use different types of psychotherapy to treat patients, depending on the diagnosis and the therapists’ specialties. LifeStance Health counselors may use any of the following types of psychotherapy to treat these disorders:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): low self-esteem, eating disorders, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders
- Humanistic Therapy: Depression and anxiety
- Exposure Therapy: Phobias, including agoraphobia
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorders, and depression
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): comorbid mental illnesses and bipolar disorder
- Mentalization-Based Therapy: borderline personality disorder
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy: PTSD
- Interpersonal Therapy: substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders
Counselors may select to combine several of these types of psychotherapy in order to serve the patient best. It’s critical for clients to remember that therapy is just one part of a plan, as crucial as it may be. Some people need to make lifestyle changes, try TMS, or take medication to manage their disorders fully.
Psychoanalysis is another kind of psychotherapy, but it differs quite a bit from the others. In psychoanalysis, counselors help patients dive deep into their past to uproot difficulties that may affect their present-day mental state. Psychoanalysts also help patients better understand themselves, reinvigorate relationships, and relate to the world in healthier ways.
When some people see the term “psychoanalysis,” they picture Sigmund Freud smoking a pipe and passing judgment. While Freud plays a pivotal role in the history of psychoanalysis, the practice has changed a lot since his days.
Now, therapists use this method to help patients understand and overcome problems in their past. This helps the patients move forward with more clarity and understand who they are in a deeper sense.
Who Should Get Psychoanalysis
Patients with chronic mental illnesses benefit the most from psychoanalysis, rather than those whose symptoms started as direct responses to recent traumatic events. This technique can help patients who experienced trauma in their childhood or teenage years, however, because those traumas tend to impact their worldviews as adults.
Some potential patients avoid psychoanalysis because they believe their lives aren’t “bad enough” to deserve treatment. Some even believe that their past traumas aren’t severe enough to impact them now. This way of thinking is inaccurate because anyone with a chronic mental illness deserves treatment.
Patients should also not attempt psychoanalysis on their own, no matter how much it may tempt them. It’s important to seek professional help instead since these counselors have the training to know how to do this work without causing more harm.
Furthermore, psychoanalysts can also act as third-party observers who are neutral to the events in question. This quality is useful when analyzing what happened.
When two people in any type of relationship seek help from a counselor, it is couples therapy. Typically, people in couples therapy are romantic partners. While the couple must see the therapist together, they can each attend individual sessions as well.
Who Should Go to Couples Therapy
Popular culture often portrays couples therapy as a hail-mary effort to save a doomed relationship. Although some couples only seek professional help when they have exhausted all other options, others go to counseling together even when they are completely happy.
Depending on the relationship and needs of the patients, couples counseling can serve either as maintenance or intervention. For happy couples, it’s like going to get an annual checkup with your doctor even though you don’t have physical symptoms. However, couples who are struggling may see it like going to the ER for a heart attack; the professionals do everything they can to fix the immediate trauma.
Other Misconceptions About Couples Therapy
Several other myths often keep people from attending couples therapy. Some people worry that the therapists will “take sides” and just make them feel worse. Well-trained therapists do not do this, as it is not helpful for either party. Instead, the counselor acts as a neutral third-party who teaches each person how to communicate well and create a healthier relationship.
In family therapy, several people with pre-existing relationships with one another attend private therapy sessions together. For example, re-married couples who want to co-parent or adult sibling groups may enter family therapy together. This type of treatment can also include one person who is severely mentally ill and their support system.
What to Expect in Family Therapy
First, the counselor will come to understand the relationships between the patients and what made each of them decide to attend the session. If there is an acute problem among the group, the therapist may start working on that immediately. However, groups usually need to attend several sessions to work through their problems. Typically, families do not work with therapists for as long as individuals do.
When Family Counseling Can Help
Families can come to counseling either when they experience a shared trauma or when one person struggles with a mental illness. For example, some families benefit from therapy after a loved one passes away. Other groups show up to learn how to support someone with substance addiction, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, or other mental health problems.