Psychology has been rooted in self-exploration for individuals seeking help with mental health issues and personal relationships.
But the trend for the past decade has been to move away from interpersonal methods of treatment and toward cognitive therapies that allow for short-term treatment of problems, rather than a commitment of months or even years of analysis.
What Kinds of Treatments are Approved?
Very often, mental health treatments that may be approved for payment by the government or private insurance are short-term, cognitive methods (which, in some countries, may be time-limited to four to 12 weeks). These treatments are for mild to moderate depression, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders and some transitional issues (retirement, job loss, adoption, divorce, etc.).
Cognitive therapy is focused on resolving the immediate mental health concern and the symptoms that are the most distressing. Cognitive therapies are cost-effective since they require only a dozen or two counseling sessions in order to help the patient, rather than a year or longer of treatment.
Computerized Cognitive Treatment
The use of computer programs is one of the newest innovations in mental health care. In many cases, a client using this treatment does not meet often with their counselor, but instead works with a computer program to reduce anxiety, improve depression or manage pain. The programs track progress and can be remotely monitored by a counselor.
For individuals who live in rural areas without enough counselors available, using computer treatment may be a viable option, particularly if Internet access is available and Internet video cameras are available so that counselor and client can consult periodically.
What are Licensed Counselors?
One of the largest trends in mental health and psychology is the use of licensed mental health counselors as opposed to psychologists or psychiatrists. There are a multitude of reasons for this trend, including cost, training, and specific experience.
Professional counselors are trained to help people understand relationships and how those relationships affect them in their everyday lives. Very often how we relate to others is integrated into every aspect of our life and can affect our self-concept, our mood and our ability to engage in healthy interactions with others. Our ability to maintain healthy relationships can affect our ability to have a job, our happiness with our family and even our ability to move comfortably into our elder years.
Why are We Moving Away from Psychiatrists?
Psychiatrists have a definite role in the realm of mental health. However, in the past psychiatrists played a larger role in the treatment of mental health issues than they do today. Instead, contemporary psychiatrists often evaluate a person’s need for psychotropic medications to address mood disorders, bipolar disorder and other mental health issues. They may meet periodically with a client to maintain and monitor medications and consult regularly with a counselor or therapist treating the client in order to continue monitoring their progress. However, it is very rare today that a psychiatrist will provide counseling and intensive treatment for mental health issues and relationship problems.
What is the Role of Medication versus Treatment?
Much mental health treatment today involves evaluation for medication. This is because research has repeatedly found that the combination of medication and counseling or therapy is the most effective method of addressing mental health issues, especially in depression.
Psychotropic medication helps individuals regain and maintain their cognitive functions. Very often, mental health issues are the result of imbalances in neurochemistry, particularly serotonin, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Contemporary antidepressants and atypical antidepressants help rebalance these chemicals to improve mental health and make it possible for clients to integrate the information being conveyed during counseling sessions.
With the ability to think clearly, clients are better able to utilize the improved coping skills and healthier attitudes that result from counseling. As a result, medication may be considered an important part of mental health treatment and psychology today.
What is Sports Psychology?
Sports psychology is specifically geared toward helping athletes gain focus and maintain a “winning” attitude in competition. Specific areas of concentration may include visualization of activities that will help with scoring (shooting baskets, good kicking body position, hitting the ball, etc.), overcoming performance anxiety, positive self-talk and other activities that increase an athlete’s or team’s desire to compete well.
What is Organizational Psychology?
Therapists, counselors and psychologists who specialize in organizational psychology help businesses understand the organization as a living entity and how personal interactions between business associates and employees can affect the business’s success or failure. Organizational psychologists often are employed to help companies as they motivate employees to reach sales goals or to encourage positive interactions and innovation. Organizational psychologists often evaluate employees and employee positions for optimal performance and placement.