In a recent entry, we compared the varieties of therapy to those bags of assorted mini candy bars. Each bar in the bag is, in fact, a candy bar, but there are important differences between them—especially if you are allergic to peanuts, opposed to nougat on principle, or partial to dark rather than milk chocolate.
Similarly, all forms of therapy are, well, therapy, but there are important differences between them. Working with a trained therapist, you can determine which approach might be best for your specific situation.
The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are powerful—and they can be counterproductive. Narrative therapy encourages you to reframe your internal stories to emphasize possibility and success rather than negativity and failure.
Let’s imagine, for example, that you believe you are a terrible public speaker. When you think about getting up in front of a group, your mind probably immediately turns to times when you were extremely nervous, times when you were not as clear as you would have liked to have been, and that one time no one laughed at your jokes—but did laugh when you were trying to be serious.
If those are the stories you tell yourself (or tell others) about your experiences as a public speaker, you are reinforcing the idea that you are not good at it. Eventually, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Narrative therapy asks you to flip the script. What if you focused on the successful toast you made at a friend’s wedding or on the heartfelt speech you made in support of an issue that is important to you, or that one time when you not only made people laugh but made them think?
Emphasizing the positive stories has the power to reshape the way you think about what might be called the plot of your life. And that can provide a boost to your mental well-being.
Family Systems Therapy
Think about your favorite sports team. Every team is made up of a number of different players, each of whom has a specific role or roles to play during the game or match. It won’t do to have your shortstop play left field (usually); it’s not a great idea to have your quarterback kickoff (usually); and you don’t want your goalie dribbling the ball down the sideline (usually).
Family systems therapy considers a family in the framework of a team. Different members of the team play different roles, but sometimes those roles—not to mention disparate personalities and priorities—come into conflict. With the help of a trained therapist, families can learn to communicate more effectively, solve problems together, and provide ongoing support for one another.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
This approach to psychotherapy might well seem odd when you first encounter it, but eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy has been shown to be extremely effective for those who have experienced trauma of one kind or another. For example, EMDR can be extremely helpful for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
As the name suggests, the therapy involves eye movements (and sometimes tapping techniques and/or the use of tones). The exercises are designed to help an individual redefine their relationship to a traumatic event or series of events so that it ultimately has less power over their emotions and their mental health.
We Certainly Haven’t Named Them All
Between our two entries focused on varieties of therapy, we have discussed seven distinct approaches. That may seem like a lot—something for everyone even—but we haven’t mentioned every kind of therapy by any means. We point this out to remind you that everyone’s situation and needs are different, and that trained mental health professionals are best equipped to work with you to determine what might be most effective for you.
Our larger point is to assure you that therapy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Your mental health care should be personalized specifically for you.
Our Colorado Facility Can Help You Improve and Maintain Your Mental Health
If you are dealing with a mental health disorder—whether it is depression, anxiety, a trauma-based disorder, or something else—you deserve personalized, compassionate, evidence-based care. That is what we offer at Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health.