National Alliance on
Mental Illness Southern Arizona


Other treatments for mental illness

Other treatments may be necessary in treating mental illness in combination with medications or without.  The following are common treatments used to treat mental disorders. Always consult your doctor or mental health provider/doctor to help determine what works best for you.

Mental Illnesss Treatments

Cognitive-behavioral therapy stresses the role of thinking in how we feel and what we do. It is based on the belief that thoughts, rather than people or events, cause our negative feelings. The therapist assists the patient in identifying, testing the reality of, and correcting dysfunctional beliefs underlying his or her thinking. The therapist then helps the client modify those thoughts and the behaviors that flow from them. CBT is a structured collaboration between therapist and client and often calls for homework assignments. CBT has been clinically proven to help clients in a relatively short amount of time with a wide range of disorders, including depression and anxiety. –

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a comprehensive treatment approach for people whose emotions create major problems in their lives (and perhaps in the lives of people around them). These emotions may be expressed in a destructive way (as in angry outbursts and even violence, or depression and immobility), or avoided by behaviors such as suicide attempts, substance abuse, eating disorders, or impulsive actions.

DBT clients are taught more skillful ways to regulate their emotions, deal with the distressing situations in their lives, and improve relationships with the people around them. These skills are taught in caring treatment relationships that appreciate the clients’ strengths, acknowledge their emotional sensitivity, and offer powerful, pragmatic methods for creating a “life worth living”. –

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, deliberately triggering a brief seizure. Electroconvulsive therapy seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can immediately reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. It often works when other treatments are unsuccessful.

Electroconvulsive therapy is much safer today. Although electroconvulsive therapy still causes some side effects, it now uses electrical currents given in a controlled setting to achieve the most benefit with the fewest possible risks. –

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an information processing therapy that helps clients cope with trauma, addictions, and phobias. During this treatment, the patient focuses on a specific thought, image, emotion, or sensation while simultaneously watching the therapist’s finger or baton move in front of his or her eyes. Then the client is asked to think of new thoughts, while again simultaneously focusing on the external stimulus. EMDR practitioners believe that the treatment loosens one’s traumatic memories and allows them to be reprocessed with positive ones. –

Mental Health Professionals Guide

Art therapists have a master’s level degree in art therapy or a related field. They are trained to use the creative process to help clients understand and better cope with emotional issues. Art therapists may work with groups or individuals and may use a wide variety of art materials to encourage clients to create visual representations of their thoughts and feelings.

Clinical social workers commonly hold a master’s degree in social work (or the equivalent) and have completed two years of supervised practice to obtain a clinical license. They may use a variety of therapeutic techniques, including psychodynamic therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Licensed Counselors have a master’s or a doctoral degree in counseling or a related area and complete two years of supervised practice. They are licensed as independent providers of mental health services, including the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional issues, and use a variety of therapeutic techniques.

Psychiatric or mental-health nurses have received additional training in dealing with behavioral issues, psychiatric drugs, and a variety of different therapies. They may administer medication to patients as well as provide psychotherapy and counseling.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors, who, after completing medical school, receive an additional four years of specialized mental-health training. Psychiatrists treat the full range of emotional and mental disorders, and are licensed to prescribe medication. Psychiatrists sometimes use psychotropic medication in conjunction with therapy to treat patients.

Psychologists have earned a doctorate degree in psychology. Their training may have been focused on theory and research methods, or they may have concentrated in clinical therapy and counseling. Psychologists are required to complete several years of supervised practice before becoming licensed.

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