Mental Health – Therapy Types
Before I start, I’m a person who remembers his first episode of depression on my ninth birthday in 1974. As I grew up, I always compared myself to other people, nearly always in a negative way and I’ve always been very critical when I make mistakes.
I will talk about me in further articles and videos but please remember; I’m not a therapist and these articles and videos are not to be treated as therapeutic. The stuff that I write, and talk about are just my ideas for you to consider and talk about. Don’t do any self-therapy without appropriate support and don’t use any techniques I suggest without trained support.
I feel that there are two main types of therapies and that is because, as far as mental illness is concerned, the brain is split into two main parts,
The cortex and the neo-cortex
The cortex is the old part of the brain, the brain that keeps you alive. It tells you to breath, eat, drink, sleep and run like hell when there is a person behind you with a giant sword shouting ‘bastard’.
There is no active logic concerned with this part of the brain, it’s the stuff you do instinctively.
The neo-cortex is the new part of the brain, hence ‘neo’, this is the part of the brain that uses logic, this is still evolving in some people especially the ones you see in Stockton High Street at 9.00 a.m. on a Monday morning.
How the two parts of the brain work together is pretty amazing.
So when you get thirsty the cortex says “Thirsty”, then sends a message to the neo-cortex and it’s the neo-cortex that tells you to get a caffeinated coffee or a decaffeinated coffee depending on the time of the day, it tells you whether to get a snack or a huge meal and it tells you which direction to run if there is a person behind you with a sword shouting ‘bastard’.
So, because there are two parts of the brain there are generally two types of therapies.
Deep rooted problems such as problems can stem from childhood, and I don’t just mean specific trauma or neglect here, I mean things happening in your childhood that still have an impact, that’s me folks.
These need to be treated using stuff like Psychodynamic Therapies, Transactional Analysis, or Dialectical Behavioural Therapies.
Maybe even a bit of Neurolinguitic Programming NLP or hypnotherapy but that doesn’t tend to be offered by the mainstream therapy services, I don’t think.
Other problems that involve the neo-cortex can be treated using therapies that involve logic, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Solution Focused brief therapy.
This distinction dawned on me when I tried to use cognitive behavioural therapy with teenagers who stammered.
Part of the stammering therapy would be to challenge a persons first thought around stammering, or specifically how people react to stammering.
When I had a client with me, we walked up to people and asked them a simple question. Sometimes the client could identify the first thought. At this point, I knew cognitive behavioural therapy techniques would work.
But occasionally I would come across a client who, no matter what, could not identify their first thought. It seemed that they had such an immense rush of adrenaline, and emotion, usually fear, that they simply could not identify the first thought, they were almost panicking.
I realised that when the reaction is so intense you can’t use logic. I read a lot more and learnt about the connections between the cortex and the neo-cortex and how, when huge amounts of hormones are produced the link between the instinct and logical parts of the brain don’t happen, the old ‘Rabbit in the headlights’. the cortex is waiting for a signal or a message about which way to run and the message from the neo-cortex to the legs is just not happening.
I had a recent block of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and the therapist was brilliant but very quickly, after 5 sessions, it was obvious that CBT was not going to work and we both agreed to suspend therapy. I knew before we started that my self-esteem, self-loathing and negative feelings are very low and that I have felt that way since childhood and so the feelings are very ingrained. I’m reluctant to take risks, especially with money and I believe that the self-preservation response is so intense with me that logic and positive talking just go out of the window.
After the CBT I was offered some Psychodynamic Therapy. I’d heard about Freud but had no idea about the type of therapy or what it entailed so I started reading around the subject. I have also been reading a great deal about Transactional Analysis. I love both approaches and I’m hoping that the further I go into these techniques, with the help of a therapist, that I will improve and overcome a number of issues that have been affecting me since I was very young, a long, long time ago.
I think because of the push in the NHS to save money, they are too busy worry numbers and it appears to be about quantity not quality, a great number of people are being offered quick fixes such as CBT or Brief Therapy that are just not appropriate or effective, when what the person really needs as long term therapies. If your GP refers you to therapy and it does not appear to be working go back and ask for something else.
If you are not happy with a therapy let some-one know, there are plenty of alternatives out there.
Next time I hope to talk about while it’s great to talk about how parents stop their children talking about worries and how this impacts in later life.
Please watch the videos