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Talk Therapy: What, Why, How

March 5, 2022

It’s incredible how something as simple as talking, sharing our thoughts and feelings is such a powerful tool for self-liberation and healing. Many mental health treatment centers, including Heading, offer a well-known form of therapy known as “talk therapy” or psychotherapy. Talk therapy has a long-standing record of efficacy and  has become one of the most accepted and widely used treatments in the world of mental healthcare. Even as modern medicine and innovation has offered millions a wider array of available treatments to help improve their mind health, this form has continued to hold true in its overall effectiveness and versatility for treating mental illnesses and trauma from anxiety to suicidal ideation. Let’s quickly break down the back story of this age-old method, and how it can benefit you!


History: According to the American Psychiatric Association, talk therapy or psychotherapy is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Talk therapy can help increase self-awareness, allowing the individual in treatment to reduce troubling symptoms and develop strategies to improve overall quality of life. 


While the most widely accepted “birth of talk therapy” was in the 1800s, as far back as ancient Greece, philosophers like Aristotle began exploration into what would eventually become psychotherapy. As these philosophies emerged, some of the world’s earliest known physicians including Hippocrates, further explored the link between mental state and medicine. Flashing forward a thousand years or so, two names that are familiar to most Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud came together to investigate Breuer’s “talking cure” for nervous disorders and with that modern psychotherapy was born. 


While psychotherapy has evolved quite a bit from the Freudian images of people laying on a couch while sharing their feelings to a man behind a clipboard nodding along and asking probing questions, the essence of talk therapy as a powerful remedy for combatting depression, PTSD, or even OCD.


How does it work? Generally speaking, when a person enrolls in talk therapy, the  therapist or leading physician will ask several questions during the initial appointment, known as an intake to allow the therapist to gain a comprehensive understanding of a person’s history, background, present circumstances and state of mind. This allows the therapist to, collaboratively with the patient, decide on the best approach to treatment. Questions might focus on family history, past experiences, current coping skills, what they want to achieve out of therapy, etc. 


Talk Therapy goes with everything: While many individuals see medication and psychotherapy as opposing treatment options, they don’t have to be. Talk therapy can certainly be a stand alone treatment option but many studies have shown how, when  used in combination with another intervention such TMS, traditional medication management or ketamine infusions, the effects of both treatments can be enhanced and amplified further than either standalone treatment typically offers. 


If you are curious about talk therapy and the possibility of implementing it in your personal mental health journey, reach out to us by giving us a call at 512-777-2591 or visit us at headinghealth.com, or join us in our Q&A session next Thursday, March 10 at 6:00 pm CST on Facebook Live!

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