Blog: Articles on Psychological Wellbeing, Relationships, Brain Health, Counselling and Neurofeedback
Welcome to the blog of Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback. Articles posted here are written by our clinical staff and relate to services we offer or conditions we address. We hope they will be helpful to you in some way, whether you're considering counselling for yourself or someone else, gathering information on a mental health related issue, or just want to find out more about who we are and what we do.
Medication or Psychotherapy? Unpacking Treatment Options for Mental Health
Navigating the terrain of mental health can be daunting, especially when you're facing the crucial decision of selecting the best treatment option. The debate surrounding the effectiveness of medication versus psychotherapy has been a lively topic within the mental health community for quite some time.
In our current era—particularly in the wake of the global pandemic—you likely know someone within your circle who's using medication to manage their anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Research into medication versus therapy reveals that either strategy, or a blend of both, can be effective in tackling mental health issues like anxiety or depression. However, pinning down the right treatment can be a complex process, as various problems and symptoms respond differently to different treatments.
Benefits of Psychotherapy
Studies point out that counselling and talk therapy can often have a more lasting effect than psychotropic medications for a variety of reasons. Central to these is the fostering of a healthy therapeutic relationship—a factor proven to be significantly impactful on a client's improvement. Alongside building a robust client-therapist relationship, talk therapy provides clients the opportunity to develop healthier coping strategies, understand why they get stuck in certain thought processes or emotions, and become more aware of unhealthy patterns in their lives, while learning how to change them. In essence, talk therapy assists clients in feeling better and teaches them how to avoid falling back into detrimental patterns if they face similar stressors in the future.
How to Find a Therapist
Choosing the right therapist can be a crucial step in your mental health journey. Look for a mental health professional with the appropriate credentials and specialization that aligns with your specific needs. Many therapists have an online presence, either through a personal website or through therapy directory sites. Utilize these resources to review their specializations, treatment approaches, and any patient reviews available. It's important to find a therapist you feel comfortable with, so use your experience of personal fit in your first session to gauge how well you connect. We have a few options at Sojourn found here.
Limitations of Psychotherapy
When contrasting psychotherapy with medication, timing emerges as a significant factor. While medications might take effect more quickly and provide stronger results—particularly in the early stages of treatment—psychotherapy usually takes longer to have an effect. This aspect underpins why many individuals prefer a combination of treatments, as medication can offer rapid stabilization, while therapy fosters long-term recovery and reduces relapse risk when medications are stopped.
Benefits of Medication
Depression and anxiety medications rank among the most widely prescribed drugs around the globe. This widespread use has resulted in these medications often being the default treatment for anxiety and depression, regardless of an individual's unique circumstances or the root causes of their symptoms. Research shows that while psychotropic medications can be helpful in addressing some trauma-related symptoms, they tend to be less effective than therapy if your anxiety or depression are tied to trauma history.
The Role of a Supportive Community in Mental Health
While professional mental health care is essential, the role of a supportive community shouldn't be underestimated. Friends, family, and peer support groups can offer valuable emotional support, help to alleviate feelings of isolation, and assist in navigating the challenges of mental health conditions. They may also play a vital role in identifying signs of distress and encouraging help-seeking behaviours. Supportive communities can be found through local mental health organizations, online forums, social media groups, or local community events.
Limitations of Medication
While many individuals use medication for mental health issues without significant complications or side effects, potential risks do exist. These can include chemical dependency, increased likelihood of new or worsening symptoms, and risky interactions with other medications or substances.
Choosing your mental health treatment pathway can feel overwhelming, especially when you're wrestling with challenging symptoms. This article hopes to provide some clarity and support in your decision-making process. However, regardless of your eventual choice, it's essential to consult with a mental health professional who can understand and address your unique needs, guiding you in finding the treatment that works best for you.
Consider the following factors when deciding on your treatment:
- Identifying the mental health condition and symptoms you're battling with
- Assessing the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your daily functioning
- The urgency of your situation—whether you're in crisis and require swift intervention for your safety and stability
- Ascertaining whether your symptoms are linked to past or current experiences or traumas that need processing and management
- The accessibility of the treatment type in your locality
- The affordability of the treatment in terms of cost and insurance coverage
- Your personal readiness to commit to a treatment and your openness to the process
- Your comfort level with medications or therapy based on past experiences
- Whether you're currently dealing with addiction, or have a history of addiction or substance abuse
Remember, a wealth of professionals and resources are available to support you in your mental health journey. Even in the midst of struggles and challenges, know that help is available, and recovery is attainable.