What therapies are used to treat mental disorders?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mental disorders are caused either by actual brain malfunction, by cognitive deficiencies, or by interpersonal behavior choices. To get to the bottom of what is really causing a problem, clinicians analyze the personality traits of the client under a cognitive, behaviorist, psychondynamic, interpersonal, or even evolutionary perspective.

Once the origin of the pathology is determined, different interventions are suggested. Each intervention is different depending on the origin of the psychopathology.

If the origin of the behavior is cognitive/behavioral, the approaches that could be used include:

  • CBT- Cognitive Behavior therapy
  • EFT tapping a.k.a Thought/Field therapy (Diamond and Goodheart)
  • Psychoanalytical therapy (Freud)
  • Psychodynamic therapy (Adler, Jung, Erikson)
  • Inurement (desensitation) therapy- (Mary Cover Jones)
  • Non-directive, client-centered approach (CCT) - (Carl Rogers)

All of these interventions are geared toward changing the mindset of the client so that new behaviors are attempted hence approaching the client's problem from a different point of view. Keep in mind, however, that a psychoanalyst may choose any combination of approaches, or even create his or her own based on the pathology, to treat special cases. Also keep in mind that these are not the only approaches, but the most commonly considered.

Specific psychodynamic approaches include:

  • Jungian dreamwork (dream analysis)
  • hypnosis
  • Rorschach testing
  • Gestalt
  • EFT tapping therapy, also known as Thought/Field therapy

Experiential therapy is also based on shifting paradigm and experiencing different roles within one particular situation. The most commonly used approaches are

  • psychodrama (Jacob Moreno)
  • play therapy (Rosenthal, Levine)
  • Gestalt (Fritz Perls)

Evolutionary therapy touches on inheritance and biopsychology as the origings of behavior. It entails that there is more genetic pre-disposition than mere acquired behavior in our personality traits.  For this reason, this type of therapy may involve strategies such as

  • family therapy
  • CBT- variances of operant conditioning
  • Inurement (desensitation) therapy
  • Non-directive, client-centered approach (CCT)

For a complete list of diverse therapeutic approaches visit the American Psychological Association page and you will become more familiar with the hundreds of different approaches that are currently being employed by therapists depending on which school of philosophy they use as their benchmark.