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Monday, July 15, 2024


What Type of Therapy Is Right for Me?

By Sponsored Content

Whatever kind of problem you have, there is a therapy out there that is just right for you. As many self-help books as you can find on the bookshelves there are nearly as many different kinds of therapy that are designed to help you get better. This is a good time to review some of the ones you might choose from.
First off, let’s exclude physical therapy, acupuncture, aroma therapy, and their distant cousin chiropractics. These are in the domain of physical problems. True there may be psychological components that get better as well, but these practices deal primarily with the body domain.
In the spiritual and mental domains there are faith healings, religious experiences, general counseling about life problems and the various psychotherapies. If you have faith in charismatic cures you probably already know where to go for that kind of help. There are all kinds of counselors: job counselors, life coaches and others. But let’s narrow down the discussion to the various psychotherapies.
One of the first forms of psychotherapy was hypnosis, which was developed in the treatment of hysteria. This technique is still used to work with motivated behaviors such as smoking and overeating, to treat pain, even providing anesthesia, and to treat traumatic experiences. Freud found, however that hypnosis wasn’t very good treatment for neuroses and developed psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis, as developed by Freud and several of his students, who branched of on their own, involved a patient sitting (or lying) in a room with the analyst who listened to their stream of consciousness, all the while conjecturing about their unconscious mind. It was believed the unconscious motivations of the id, the ego and the superego accounted for the patient’s problems in their lives. The therapy consisted in uncovering these unconscious mechanisms, which often had to do with presumed sexual issues, and freeing the patient from their constraints. Psychoanalysis started out as a practice of doctors (Freud first was a neurologist), but today is practiced by non-medical, degreed individuals. It is very expensive, consisting of several sessions per week lasting months and even years. It has been afforded by wealthy people, including movie stars and producers, directors and writers.
After psychoanalysis came a trickle and then, ultimately, a deluge of different psychotherapies. There was gestalt therapy of Frederick and Laura Perls. It was an outgrowth of psychoanalysis or the therapy of the here and now based on the idea of experiencing life in the present. Jung developed a therapy based on analysis but focused on the idea of the collective unconscious and used Buddhist-like mandalas as inspiration. Various other talking therapies developed including existential therapy, cognitive-behavioral, rational emotive and interpersonal psychotherapy. You can find practitioners of these therapies, usually in university hospital settings in large cities, but sometimes also locally. If you want an exhaustive list of different psychotherapies, Wikipedia has a list of over 156 distinct types. How can you choose just one?
In fact people don’t usually choose the therapy, but they choose the therapist. The first therapists were doctors or shamans or priests. They dealt with life and death issues and people went to them for advice. When it came to mental illness, it was dealt with by doctors going back to the days of Hippocrates. Family doctors today are often the first ones to treat depression and anxiety. More serious conditions are referred to psychiatrists or nurse practitioners, who also follow the medical model and can prescribe medication. Outside of the medical world are psychologists and social workers who provide various forms of treatment or counseling. Also there are others such as licensed counselors, marriage and family therapists and pastoral counselors who are even further away from the medical model.
That is not to say that all psychiatrists only prescribe medication, which is the limited practice of psychopharmacotherapy. One of the early, non-Freudian psychiatrists was Adolph Meyer who spent much of his time at Johns Hopkins. He believed in knowing the whole person. He treated the various psychiatric diseases and also worked with other troubled patients to solve problems. He has been credited with inventing the field of social work—he wanted adjunct mental health workers to go out in the community and learn about the conditions of the patient in their home setting and to report back to the team in the hospital.
One quality that unites all reputable therapists is a desire to help the patient. Dr. William Hankin, MD is Board Certified in general psychiatry and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. For more information about this or other issues, contact Dr. Hankin at his Atlantic County office in Linwood 609-653-1400 or his Cape May County office in Cape May Court House at 609-465-4424. Or visit

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