Talk Therapy

Talk therapies involve talking to someone who is trained to help manage negative perceptions. They can help anyone who is experiencing distress.  Talk therapies give people the chance to explore their thoughts and feelings and the effect they have on their behaviour and mood. Describing what’s going on in your head and how that makes you feel can help you notice any patterns which may be beneficial to change.

Treatment may also be referred to as talking treatments, counselling, psychological therapies or treatments, psychotherapies.

Types of Talk Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): The cognitive theory of depression suggests that depressed individuals tend to interpret events in an unrealistically negative and defeatist manner, which can cause depression to begin and persist. However, this can often be confronted in cognitive behavior therapy. CBT aims to change the underlying belief systems that cause this thinking. During treatment, individuals are taught how to recognize harmful and irrational thoughts and replace them with more constructive ones. It is geared towards solving immediate problems and is highly structured, with lesson plans for each session and usually work between sessions.

Behavioral activation: Depression is often associated with a decrease in energy and a general disinterest in daily activities. This can cause depressed individuals to disengage from their routines and their environment, which can make depressed moods worse over time. Behavioral activation seeks to increase an individual’s engagement with their surroundings to increase their exposure to positive experiences so they feel more motivated to further participate in daily life.

Interpersonal therapy: If lack of social support or difficult relationships are a key part of an individual’s depression, then interpersonal therapy might be a good place to start.In interpersonal therapy, individuals have the space to closely examine their relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and others. The goal is to improve interpersonal relationships, and as a result, increase the amount of social support depressed individuals have.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy strives to change the relationship between an individual and their emotions through mindfulness exercises. By developing these practices, individuals gain new ways to manage their negative emotions whenever they become too overwhelming.

Client-centered or person-centered therapy: Emphasizes the importance of a person’s self-direction when it comes to their own treatment. The therapist takes a non-directive role and encourages the patient using positive feedback and empathy.  The goals of client-centered therapy are to decrease feelings of guilt and insecurity and increase a patient’s capacity to establish more comfortable relationships and effective relationships with others.

Counselling: is the easiest form of talk therapy to access. Counseling targets specific issues/problems, like addiction or stress management. It can also focus on problem solving or learning techniques for coping with or avoiding problem areas.

Further reading and resources
Talk Space: Online Therapy
Stanford Medicine: Types of talk therapy
Mental Health Foundation: Detailed types of talk therapy
Montreal Therapy
NAMI: Types of Mental Health Practitioners