Health

Mind Mechanic: Find the psychotherapy style that works best for you

What we’re experiencing with COVID-19 is not normal and it’s taking a mental toll on a lot of folks. Therapy can help.


There’s a lot of talk right now about the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health, and rightfully so.

What we’re experiencing is not normal and it’s taking a mental toll on a lot of folks. Therapy can help.

What do you picture when you hear the word therapy? It might be a scary option to consider or start, but it doesn’t have to be. Researching the vast array of options can help you find the right fit.

Standard psychotherapy is usually the type of therapy we see in the movies or on TV. With psychotherapy, patients and their therapists talk in depth to uncover and understand suppressed thoughts and feelings. I did this form of psychotherapy as an adolescent and found it to be very effective at the time.

Some years later I switched to Gestalt therapy, also in the psychotherapy realm, that helps patients examine their perception of current concerns in order to become more aware of how their thought patterns negatively affect their lives. I learned a lot during this therapy, but it was not right for me.

Next, I began cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, another form of psychotherapy. Cognitive behavorial therapy focuses on changing one’s thought patterns to help respond better to the problems faced in life. I practiced this therapy for two years through setting and breaking down goals. This was not effective for me as a perfectionist, but helps countless others.

After playing Goldilocks with psychotherapies, I finally found a combination that works well for me just two years ago. A friend suggested Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, which helps patients process traumatic memories to resolve associated negative feelings.

It can be very intense, but it is highly effective for my post-traumatic stress disorder.

My EMDR therapist is dual-trained in somatic therapy, in which she uses and teaches me to use physical techniques to provide relief from traumatic stress that takes quite a toll on the body. We often do this after using the process to calm my central nervous system.

Somatic therapy can provide great physical relief and often works for those who do not do well with the intensity of EMDR.

I also use yoga therapy as a complement to eye movement desensitization and somatic therapies. Yoga therapy combines breathing exercises, practitioner-assisted yogic movement, meditation and psychotherapy. I do this about once a month to regulate my nervous system.

I have not done couples and family therapy, but I highly recommend it for a healthy household. This type of therapy helps couples and families to understand themselves and each other better, particularly with regard to specific marital or familial problems.

Those who are interested can find a wealth of information about these and other therapies at www.psychologytoday.com/us/types-of-therapy. I firmly believe there’s a therapy fit for everyone.

 Need mental health help and don’t know where to start? Contact the NAMI Helpline at (888) 427-2643 or go to namidelaware.org.

Are you a Delaware mental health professional interested in sharing your expertise for an upcoming Mind Mechanic column? Email me at mindmechanicoped@gmail.com.

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