Have you ever gone on a self-exploring, sometimes dangerously self-diagnosing, treks on the all trustworthy google to find out what could cure your mental health problems? Or, have you ever been exposed to different therapy jargon and not confidently know what they been? Or, are you avoiding going to your GP regarding your mental health problems because you’re scared of not knowing what they are going to suggest?
Well, give yourself some time to really read this post, because we have all been in the mentioned positions in one way or another.
As humans, we have a fear of the unknown, and what is the best way to combat the fear? To know more. However, we never see it as simple as that. Anyway, we would naturally be hesitant to commit to something we are not sure of, or fully convinced it actually works. So there’s a few things we need to clear up.
- Don’t be scared to visit your GP. You may be a bit confused about what is going on in your mind right now, and of course you will be a bit anxious to be confronted with advice you know nothing about. However, GP’s will only advise, suggest, and signpost, they will not make you sign a 12 week contract of psychoanalysis.
- There is no one thing that works for everyone. Depending on your circumstance, different things will be suggested, and even with all that consideration, it still might not work for you. That’s okay. There is plenty more to try, there is no one cure. An open mind, willingness and patience are all needed.
Right, now that is all cleared up, let’s begin.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of talking therapy that intends to change the way you think and behave to manage your problems in a more productive way. This is commonly used for anxiety and depression, but can be useful for a number of issues, even physical health problems. CBT interrupts your negative feelings and thoughts, whilst making use of challenging questions, rationalising and de-escalating situations in order to adapt your existing ways of coping to better methods, with a more desired outcome. CBT is usually short term, but can be extended depending on individual cases, not forgetting that there are ample resources on “self CBT” from books to YouTube videos. There are plenty of titles out there, so do the right research before you purchase any! It’s important to remember that CBT is more focused on how you think and react in the now, rather than focusing on difficulties in your past.
Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT)
CAT uses methods from psychodynamic therapy which encourages you to say whatever is on your mind, this will help you identify hidden meanings or patterns in the way you think and behave that are contributing to your problems, combined with CBT. Thus a CAT therapist will delve into your past experiences in order to grasp why a person feels, thinks or behaves they will do. In order to help them solve their problems by developing new and better coping mechanisms. This is an active approach to discovering what may have gone “right” and “wrong” in life, by often brainstorming and mapping on paper, and then pushing for a new way of interpreting and thinking. On an interesting note, this therapy was actually developed as a response to the mental health needs of a busy inner-London city!
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
IPT is short term type of therapy that focuses on attachments and relationships. We are social beings, having and maintaining relationships are what make us human, whether that is family or romance based. The relationships we have can affect our mental health, and our mental health can affect the relationships we have. This type of therapy is structured and time limited that intensely works on interpersonal issues, with the belief being that the mental health issues we experience are a result of the difficulties we have with other people. Therefore, once the individual feels more capable of interacting effectively with those around them, their psychological symptoms will improve. This type of therapy only focuses on key issues, and so most suitable for those with identifiable issues, such as eating disorders or self-harm.
Family therapy (systematic)
Whilst IPT focuses on the individual looking outwards on the relationship, family or marriage therapy focuses on the unit of relationships looking inwards to the problem. This type of therapy is a good opportunity to reflect on important relationships that may be facing some turmoil in order to find a positive way forward, for a number of reasons. This type of therapy enables the family to reveal and express problematic thoughts and emotions in a comfortable and safe atmosphere, in order to extend understanding for each other’s perspectives and opinions. This can help appreciate needs, add to strengths and make valuable changes in relationships to create a stronger family base.
We have only touched on a few therapies today, so please bear in mind that there are plenty more out there and we always suggest researching yourself, but always getting confirmation from professionals. Always ask questions if you are not sure! There is no shame in asking for help, and when you do, there is no shame in wanting to know more.
Until next time, what types of therapy do you think are most compatible with Islam? Are there are any that do? Are all of them not compatible? Be sure to read next week’s post, but do comment your ideas below!