Psychological treatment is sometimes called ‘psychotherapy’ or ‘talking therapy’.
It involves talking about your thoughts with a professional to:
- better understand your own thinking and behaviour
- understand and resolve your problems
- recognise symptoms of mental illness in yourself
- reduce your symptoms
- change your behaviour
- improve your quality of life.
Evidence shows that psychological treatments work well for emotional, mental and behavioural issues.
Psychological treatments are useful for people of all ages, including children.
They can help people from different cultural, social and language backgrounds.
You can have psychological treatment in an individual session, as part of a group, or online.
Why get psychological treatment?
Psychological treatments are proven to help with mental illnesses such as:
- Mood disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Personality disorder
- Eating disorder
- Sleep disorder
- Sexual disorder
- Dementia and delirium
They are also used successfully to help children deal with:
- Learning Difficulties
- Behaviour Problem
It may take a number of weeks for you to see results from most psychological treatments. Some types of treatment can take a year or more for you to get the full benefit.
They are not quick fix, but the positive effects are often long-lasting.
Who can provide psychological treatments?
Psychiatrists can provide psychological treatments to people with mental illness.
Psychologists, some GPs, social workers, mental health nurses, counsellors and other therapists also offer psychological treatments.
Not all people who offer psychological treatments have professional training or experience in that therapy. Ask your therapist about their qualifications before your first appointment.
Types of psychological treatment
There are different types of psychological treatments designed to help with different issues.
Some of the most common treatments are listed below (in alphabetical order):
Your first appointment
In a first appointment you will probably be asked to tell your story – what’s happened in your life and the thoughts and feelings you’ve been having.
You may also discuss what your goals are for treatment.
This is a good time to ask your psychiatrist or other therapist questions such as:
- Why do you think this therapy will suit me?
- What are the outcomes?
- How often do I need to see you?
- How long will the therapy last?
- What should I do if there’s a crisis, or I need urgent help?
- How much will it cost?
After a session you might feel relief, or your emotions might be stirred up. Exercise is a good way to release tension.
Get the most out of psychological treatment
You have to be actively involved for psychological treatment to work.
You can do this by:
- speaking honestly about what’s going on in your life, and in your mind
- giving your therapist feedback on how you’re doing
- asking questions
- attending all your appointments
- completing any ‘homework’ you are asked to do.
- Your psychiatrist or other therapist will:
- offer a safe, trusting relationship
- provide a treatment plan that is created with your input
- adjust the treatment to your life stage and circumstances
- keep what you say in an appointment confidential (although sometimes legal processes will require that some information is shared)
- offer a positive and non-judgemental approach with a view to your recovery.
If you don’t feel comfortable with your therapist, consider trying someone else.