What is mental health counselling and how can it be used for some of the more overlooked mental disorders?
We’ve all heard of CBT, right? It’s one of the most commonly used counselling techniques and is usually incorporated among other approaches. We often think of it being used for people with depression and anxiety, but these are only two of the most commonly spoken about mental health conditions. This week Olivia Freeman is going to walk us through some lesser-known mental health conditions, and what therapies are best used for recovery.
About the writer.
Olivia Feldman is a content manager for Addiction Treatment Services/The Digital Intellect in West Palm Beach, Florida.
A Closer Look at Counseling for Overlooked Mental Health Disorders.
What is counselling?
Counselling is a therapeutic relationship between two people, usually that of a client and a counselor. The counselor helps the client to make positive changes in their life, environment, and within themselves. It can be beneficial for the recovery from a number of issues, not just mental illness.
By attending counseling you’re provided with regular and safe space to discuss the emotional issues which might keep you going back to unhelpful behaviors as a way of coping.
Many people attend counselling if they’re going through a career change, considering a divorce, or grieving the loss of a loved one, among other things. However, therapy is especially necessary if you’re suffering from a mental health disorder.
While can medication help alleviate symptoms, it isn’t always enough. More severe conditions require a tailored approach to treatment. By attending specific types of clinical mental health counselling, you can properly treat your condition and lead a happier life.
Here, we’re going to talk about specific types of clinical mental health counseling for some conditions that are often overlooked.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings of “highs” and “lows.” Lows involve extreme depression, while the highs (manic episodes) are the biggest culprits of bipolar disorder. These consist of talking fast, having delusions of grandeur, and engaging in risky behavior. Some people with bipolar disorder can even experience hallucinations. If you have this condition, you’ll benefit the most from medication and weekly therapy sessions. You might need to receive therapy while staying in a residential treatment facility.
There are several effective types of clinical mental health counseling available for bipolar disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
This type of therapy focuses on changing negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors into positive ones. Practitioners of CBT believe that negative actions are caused by these negative emotions. By changing the way you view everyday situations, you can learn positive habits and ways of thinking. When someone is depressed, they can use CBT to monitor their activity levels to make sure they’re engaged in rewarding aspects of their environment.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
DBT is a form of CBT that centers on helping people accept their situations and maintain relationships. Through learning emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and mindfulness, patients can experience thoughts and emotions without judgment.
Family-Focused Therapy (FFT).
Similar to general family therapy, FFT is a more structured type of counseling that usually lasts about twelve sessions. A therapist will sit down with your loved one with bipolar disorder, along with friends and family. In the first few sessions, you’ll learn more about the cause of bipolar disorder, its symptoms, how to recognize signs of episodes, and what you can do to prevent things from getting worse. As you progress in FFT, you’ll focus more on problem-solving and communication skills.
Studies from The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Colorado show that after an episode, people with bipolar disorder who receive medication and FFT function better and show fewer symptoms after about one to two years.
Group psychoeducation can be extremely helpful in treating bipolar disorder. You’ll meet with a therapist, who will guide you and others in skills training, and in some groups, you’ll be able to share your experiences with bipolar disorder. Support groups like those provided by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) can provide guidance to people with these mental health disorders.
Schizophrenia is perhaps one of the most difficult mental disorders to understand. People with schizophrenia tend to hear voices and have trouble socializing with others. If you have schizophrenia, you might be prescribed antipsychotic medications, which can usually have bothersome side effects like weight gain and emotional numbing.
People with schizophrenia need to learn skills that will help them keep a job and maintain relationships. This is where psychosocial therapy comes in. You might learn how to budget money and use public transportation.
Social Skills Training (SST).
This teaches skills related to independent living and disorder management. You’ll also learn how to communicate and assert yourself. A therapist will break these skills down into steps and then after review will display these skills through role-play.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Plenty of military veterans in the United States deal with post-traumatic stress disorder after being in combat. However, PTSD can persist in people from various walks of life.
People with PTSD can greatly benefit from several types of specialized therapies and live fulfilling lives.
These are the best types of clinical mental health counseling for PTSD. Lasting from eight to 16 sessions. They have a central focus on the traumatic event you’ve experienced, and you’ll relive it through different techniques. These include talking about, thinking about, or visualizing it.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
Here, you learn how to reframe negative thoughts about the events you’ve experienced. You’ll usually work on writing assignments to help you process what happened.
EMDR will help you make sense of what happened. While paying attention to a back-and-forth sound or movement, you’ll be able to call the trauma to mind.
In prolonged exposure, you’ll face your feelings to gain control. You’ll take on things you avoided doing after the event took place and talk to a therapist about what happened.
Eating disorders are characterized by rigid thinking processes and negative thoughts related to food. People with eating disorders all have troublesome issues with body image.
Along with CBT and DBT, the following are typical counselling approaches used in treating eating disorders.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
In acceptance and commitment therapy, rather than changing your feelings and thoughts, you focus on changing your actions. Here, you’ll learn how to identify your core values and create goals that fulfill these. ACT will also teach you that anxiety and pain are normal and also encourage you to detach yourself from your feelings. In ACT, the goal is to live an authentic life, not simply “feel good.”
Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT).
This form of therapy will help you concentrate on more than one idea. When you have an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, you’re fixated on one way of eating. In CRT, you’ll target these rigid ways of thinking through guided supervision, reflection, and simple exercises.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).
IPT is an evidence-based therapy used to treat binge-eating disorder and bulimia. It helps patients improve their communication with others and resolve interpersonal issues in certain problem areas. This in turn leads to fewer eating disorder symptoms.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Can Empower You!
Check out resources available in your area to find a treatment that works for you. With the proper clinical mental health counseling, you can take control of your life!