Working with a therapist is a smart way of helping you overcome any negative thoughts and feelings which may be affecting you. However, when it comes to choosing the right kind of therapy, it can be confusing to know which kind of mental health professional you want to work with.
Most commonly, people will choose to work with either a counsellor or a psychologist. Both are licensed health practitioners, although there is a slight difference in their scope of practice.
Counsellors vs. Psychologists
Both counsellors and psychologists will have completed at least a Masters level qualification. Psychologists also complete a doctorate in their specialised field of mental health. There tends to be some overlap in what each professional does in their work. However, it is found that counsellors focus more on teaching patients practical skills to help them work through their challenges. Alternatively, psychologists will take a more scientific approach. They are more likely to administer psychometric assessments to help understand the needs of their patients, so that they can diagnose better and treat appropriately.
It is important to note that neither a counsellor nor a psychologist are medical doctors, so they cannot write prescriptions or perform medical procedures. What they will do though, is prevent, diagnose and treat people who have a mental illness to help them to stay mentally well. For serious mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, psychologists are more likely to be involved in the treatment rather than counsellors. The treatment will last for a longer period of time so that they can help to uncover patterns of thinking that are affecting the person in an attempt to find new, healthier ways to think and interact.
The methods that are used in therapy will depend very much on the problem. The patients here at Spectrum suffer from a wide variety of problems such as depression, anxiety, relationship problems, sleeping problemsand addiction.
So How Do Therapists Work With Their Patients?
There are a variety of different approaches that may be taken, depending on the particular problem being addressed.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a widely used technique that can be used to treat both emotional and physical difficulties. It helps people to understand the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, behaviour or actions and how they physically feel within themselves. The therapist helps to establish new ways of thinking and this approach is recommended for people who suffer from depression and/or anxiety, or for anyone who has mental illness that causes suffering, disability, or interpersonal problems.
Another popular treatment approach is Mindfulness, which refers to the focusing of attention and awareness on the present. It is based on the concept of mindfulness in Buddhist meditation though it is not religious. Instead, it helps people to become more aware of the present moment by developing awareness around their emotional, cognitive and physical sensations. Research suggests that mindfulness practices are useful in the treatment and management of pain, stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, anger management and addiction.
Emotion Focused Therapy
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) is another approach used by therapists. It helps people to identify and change unhelpful emotional reactions that have developed in their significant relationships and can assist in identifying when a person’s attachment needs were not met, leading to negative responses. EFT can help a person heal from traumatic attachment events, by enabling the person to experience new parts of themselves and new healthier emotional experiences. It can also foster the ability to develop secure relationships.
Finding the right mental health professional and the right approach to therapy is as important as finding the right medical doctor. If you are not sure which therapy is best for you, then book in for an appointment with one of our fully qualified counsellors today where we can discuss the best method of treatment for you.