All about psychological treatments

Looking for treatments or therapies to help you tackle a mental health issue? There’s a bunch of different approaches people can take, and they’re useful for different things. Get the facts on talking therapies and behaviour therapies. Work with a mental health professional to figure out what’s right for you.

You might need this if:

  • You’re having difficulties with your mental health
  • You’re not sure what mental health professionals do
  • You want to know what works and why
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Different treatments or approaches

There are a lot of different psychological treatments or approaches that you can try to help you deal with problems or manage mental health difficulties. Counsellors, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists are likely to specialise in a particular psychological treatment, or they may use a number of approaches depending on their training and your needs.

For more information about what the difference is between a counsellor, youth worker, social worker, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist check out our info on different types of health professionals.

Part 2

Talking therapies

Talking about your experiences with someone who’s good at figuring out why things are so difficult and who’s good at helping to sort through the possible solutions.

There are a few types of talking therapies including psychoanalysis, psychodynamic approaches, client centred approaches, and cognitive behavioural therapy. They’re all different ways of tackling problems, and psychologists or counsellors will work with you to figure out what’s going to work for you. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most common forms of psychological therapy. This is where a clinical psychologist works with you to change negative thought patterns and behaviour that’s causing you problems. 

Behaviour therapies

Behaviour therapies are psychological treatments that focus on changing behaviour patterns and habits. Behaviour therapists will often  teach someone the skills or techniques that they need to change the aspects of the behaviour that they’re struggling with.

This type of treatment might be used to help you change compulsive behaviours, to help with learning problems, or to address the issues that someone is deliberately avoiding. It’s something you can choose to do to help get through a tough behaviour habit.

What works for you

Some of the techniques that these psychological treatments use are similar, and it’s not unusual for your youth worker, social worker, counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist to use a combination of treatments to reduce your signs and symptoms. If you are seeing a mental health professional, talk with them about the approaches that they are using and why they are using them. That way, you can feel more comfortable because you understand what you’re trying to do and how long it might take.

Everyone is different and it may be that while one approach is good for one person it might not suit someone else. This is because of everyone’s unique personalities, beliefs and preferences when it comes to solving problems. It is a good idea to talk to your counsellor, social worker, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist about which approach they are trained in. It is possible that they may use a mixture of techniques to help you.

If you're not finding a particular approach helpful, it may be useful to look at the other options. To find out more about what other young people have found helpful, you may want to check out WhatWorks4U.org where others have shared their treatment experiences and what worked for them.

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 23 October, 2015
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