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Family Therapy helps people in close relationships help each other. It is a form of talk therapy that seek to help families improve communication, resolve conflicts, and ultimately strengthen their relationships. It enables family members, couples and others who care about each other to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.
Family therapy addresses problems exist between people, not within people and is led by qualified mental health professionals like psychologists, who have extensive training in family dynamics and group communication. It is usually short-term and solution-focused, with most families accomplishing their goals in 6 -10 sessions or fewer.
Sessions typically involve all of the relevant family members, whether they be parents and children, grandfathers and aunts, adopted siblings, in-laws, or any group of people with close-knit relationships. There’s no need to share a bloodline – you may choose the family you bring to therapy.
While families may come to therapy with a wide array of concerns, there are three main purposes of family therapy:
Group therapy is a versatile form of treatment that involves one or more therapists who lead a group of roughly five to 15 patients. Typically, groups meet for an hour or two several times a week. Some people attend individual therapy in addition to groups, while others participate in groups only.
Many groups are designed to target a specific problem, such as depression, obesity, panic disorder, and social anxiety. Other groups focus more generally on improving social skills, helping people deal with a range of issues such as anger, shyness, loneliness, and low self-esteem.
It’s interesting to hear people describe their first support group meeting. They will often say, “You know, until I went to the group thought I was the only person in the
world with my problem. I was so surprised to find that everyone in the group had the same issues as me.” This realization usually brings about a feeling of relief, by gaining
the understanding for perhaps the very first time in their life that others have similar concerns and are there to help and encourage you.
After you realize you aren’t alone and within a safe and supportive environment, you will begin to feel comfortable sharing your feelings and life circumstances with the group. This can be a very therapeutic and healing experience, particularly as you find that others in the group will listen nonjudgmentally and will praise you for your openness and courage.
Support groups offer lots of practical tips and resources for dealing with identified concerns, and members share their success stories and the strategies that helped them move forward in their recovery. Some groups focus on learning and practicing specific coping skills. Many groups will also provide recommendations for useful books and websites for additional study apart from the group meetings.
By meeting and talking with other group members, you also have a chance to practice social skills and interact more effectively with others. Often, mental illness has contributed to withdrawal from social situations. Support groups provide a safe place to become comfortable around others once more.
It’s very powerful when you see others in the group who are further along their road to recovery and who have made great strides toward having happier and healthier lives. These positive role models show you that recovery is in fact attainable, which brings renewed hope for the future.
As you work through various issues and concerns in the group, it’s common that you will begin to notice a reduced level of overall distress and discomfort. This is a positive sign that progress is being made and that you are feeling better.
As you learn more effective ways to cope and handle difficult situations, you gain a better understanding of yourself, your needs, and your own unique personality. You can also gain increased insight into the factors that have contributed to your current challenges and the strategies that seem to work best to help you move toward your goals.
Just as you benefit from the group experience, you can also help other group members as you grow and make progress. Others will be affected positively by hearing about your successes and by your kind and caring demeanour. You will also notice you feel better when you are able to help someone else. Many groups will explicitly include the goal of helping others as a central component of the group’s mission.
Individual therapy (sometimes called psychotherapy, talk therapy) is a process through which clients work one-on-one with a trained mental health clinician in a safe, caring, and confidential environment. Therapy sessions allow individuals to explore their feelings, beliefs, and behaviors, work through challenging or influential memories, identify aspects of their lives that they would like to change, better understand themselves and others, set personal goals, and work toward desired change. Individual therapy can help one deal with many personal topics in life such as anger, depression, anxiety, marriage and relationship challenges, parenting problems, school difficulties, career changes, etc.
The goal of individual therapy is to talk through mental health concerns and help clients heal, grow, and move toward more productive, psychologically healthy lives. Good therapy is client-driven, and specific goals for therapy will be determined by you and your therapist collaboratively.
Individual psychotherapy sessions typically last between 60 minutes. The frequency and duration of therapy will depend largely on your needs, treatment goals, and progress. Many concerns are readily resolved with short-term therapy, and other chronic or more complex concerns require long-term commitment before improvement is realized.
Samarpan use evidence-based treatments (therapies that have been heavily researched and “proven” are called evidence-based). This means that clinicians can point to scientific papers that say, “this method works.” There are several treatments that are evidence-based, and great therapy is often flexible and integrative, moving from one approach to another as the session demands.
If you’ve ever heard the expression “Walk a mile in my shoes,” you know the essence of peer support services. Peer support empowers people living with mental health challenges to receive help from someone who’s “been there.”
A Peer Recovery Specialist is someone who utilise their lived experience of mental health difficulties and their support skills to assist clients in their recovery. They draw on their lived mental health experience to support others; they offer hope and the possibility of recovery to service users, provide emotional and practical support, empower service users in self-management of their recovery and act as a recovery resource to the service and team.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are trained in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health disorders. In some cases, treatment means a total recovery from the problem. For others, effective management of symptoms is the goal in psychiatric care.
During the process of diagnosis, a psychiatrist may perform extensive medical and psychological testing, as well as, have a discussion with the client and his friends and relatives. Because of their medical training, psychiatrists can utilize all types of medical tests and lab work to rule out physical diseases as the cause of the client’s symptoms, and they can prescribe medications.
Once the disorder has been diagnosed psychiatrists may then choose to treat the ailment with a combination of psychotherapy, psychosocial interventions, and medication that they themselves prescribe.
Many mental health conditions will require a two-pronged approach for successful treatment: medication combined with therapy or counselling. For some individuals, a major
aspect of the treatment process for mental health disorders at any is medication. While not right for everyone, psychotropic medications be a gamechanger for many who are
struggling with mental health illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. While medications don’t provide a cure, they treat symptoms that can be debilitating, helping get people back to functioning.
The decision to medicate is never taken lightly. Samarpan feels strongly that medication alternatives should always be considered first. Clients and families should view medication as one tool of many used to treat mental health disorders. Prior to starting medication, our psychiatrists will make sure that the client and family understand why a particular medication is being used and fully understand the risks and benefits of each medication.
Since different medications will be received or tolerated differently by clients, medication management is a vital part of ongoing care. This involves monitoring medications, their side effects, and their possible interactions with other medications. A big part of what psychiatrists do is provide psychiatric medication management and assessment.
When you first see your psychiatric practitioner, he or she will perform an initial check-up called an assessment, which will include an overview of your symptoms and collection of your medical history.
A determination will then be made about whether or not the medication is a viable option for treating your particular mental health disorder. The decision is ultimately up to the client. If it is decided to move forward with this option, various medications, possible side effects, and proper dosages will be discussed.
Initially, the medication will be prescribed for a trial period to observe and monitor its effectiveness. This is where the “medication management” portion of psychiatric care comes into play. If the treatment is meeting the client’s goals, the client will be advised to keep moving forward. However, different medications affect brain chemistry in different ways, so not everyone will respond well to a particular prescription.
This may result in side effects like the inability to sleep, irritability, nausea, and more. In those cases, a different medication will be prescribed. This is often a trial-and-error process that should eventually result in the right medication for you.
In addition to medication, other forms of treatment such as counselling, life management skills, and behavioural therapies may be offered in conjunction. The psychiatrist will carefully monitor all of these components to ensure the best blend for the client’s mental health.
It’s important to note that not all clients and not all psychiatric problems require medicine. However, there are many instances where prescription medicines are the best way to relieve symptoms for the client. Medication can be an effective part of the treatment of many mental illnesses such as:
A psychological assessment is a series of tests conducted by a clinical psychologist, to gather information about how people think, feel, behave and react.
The findings are used to develop a report of the person’s abilities and behavior—known as a psychological report—which is then used as a basis to make recommendations
for the individual’s treatment.
There are a number of reasons you may be referred for psychological assessment. You may be experiencing difficulties that cause significant distress, impact daily functioning, or negatively affect learning at school. Psychological assessment help identify personality traits and specific mental conditions outlined in the DSM-5. Assessment can also help you and your support system understand what may be happening and recommend the best way to provide support.
The administration and scoring of a psychological assessment is undertaken by a clinical psychologist who is fully familiar with the test and certified to do so. Assessment begins with obtaining a full, detailed history. Your psychologist will advise on the tests involved, which may be conducted over multiple sessions. They may be online, written, or involve problem-solving with materials like blocks. Once your psychologist has scored your results, they will discuss them with you in a feedback session and provide a written report.
The MCMI is a holistic personality assessment, developed with over 30 years of research behind it, that is useful for supporting and aiding formulation of a client’s difficulties.
Samarpan uses the MCMI-IV which is the most recent edition of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory and is composed of 195 true-false questions that take approximately 25–30 minutes to complete. It is designed to:
The MCMI-IV provides helpful clinical insights into a patient’s personality that allow clinicians to make more reliable diagnostic and treatment decisions.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.
It is important to emphasize that advances in CBT have been made on the basis of both research and clinical practice. Indeed, CBT is an approach for which there is ample scientific evidence that the methods that have been developed actually produce change. In this manner, CBT differs from many other forms of psychological treatment.
Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking. Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior. People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.
Learning to recognize one’s distortions in thinking that are creating problems, and then to reevaluate them in light of reality. Gaining a better understanding of the behavior and motivation of others. Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations. Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence in one’s own abilities.
Facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them. Using role playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others. Learning to calm one’s mind and relax one’s body.
Not all CBT will use all of these strategies. Rather, the psychologist and patient/client work together, in a collaborative fashion, to develop an understanding of the problem and to develop a treatment strategy.
CBT places an emphasis on helping individuals learn to be their own therapists. Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, patients/clients are helped to develop coping skills, whereby they can learn to change their own thinking, problematic emotions, and behavior.
CBT therapists emphasize what is going on in the person’s current life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about one’s history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life.
Source: APA Div. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for this population. In addition, research has shown that it is effective in treating a wide range of other disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders. As such, DBT is a transdiagnostic, modular treatment.
The term “dialectical” means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The main goal of therapists who use DBT is to strike a balance between validation (acceptance) of who you are and your challenges and the benefits of change. In addition, the skills and strategies taught in DBT are balanced in terms of acceptance and change. The four skills modules include two sets of acceptance-oriented skills (mindfulness and distress tolerance) and two sets of change-oriented skills (emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness).
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