Psychological treatments or ‘talking therapies’ are an effective way of helping to treat mental illness. They are especially useful for people with anxiety disorders or depression, and in more severe cases can be used in conjunction with medication.

Psychological treatments can help to reduce the effects of symptoms and even the symptoms themselves. They help change thinking patterns and develop coping skills to better deal with life’s stresses. A therapist will usually design a plan to fit their client’s needs and help address any particular thoughts, issues or worries they may have.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a common psychological treatment that is effective for various mental health conditions.

CBT aims to help an individual to change unhealthy habits in thinking, feeling and behaving. It teaches a person to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts that prevent them from reaching their goals and living in a desired way. It provides understanding about the effects of thinking, along with practical self-help strategies.

The therapist works together with the person, building new ways of thinking and behaving, and better coping skills.

When is CBT useful?

CBT can be used for a range of psychological problems, including:

  • Anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic, phobias, or social anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Substance misuse, such as smoking, drinking or other drug use
  • Eating disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Relationship issues

Other forms of psychological therapy include:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), where clients are encouraged to accept both negative and positive feelings they may be experiencing. ACT can be used to help treat: 

  • Some anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • OCD
  • Psychosis

Family Therapy

Family therapy involves including the family of a client in the treatment process, allowing the whole family structure to change to one that better supports the client and their recovery. It helps to improve communication and resolve any troubled relationships. It is often short term, and used in conjunction with individualised treatment. 

Family therapy has been demonstrated to effectively help treat:

  • Relationship issues 
  • Alcohol problems 
  • Mood disorders 
  • Other mental health conditions

Which one is right for you?

There are many types of  psychological treatment with evidence of effectiveness, including CBT, ACT and family therapy. Psychological treatment decisions are individualised to the client, and only made after careful consideration and discussion between both the medical professional and the client in question.