What are the Different Types of Therapy for Mental Health?

Alddo Molinar
4 min readMar 6, 2022

Mental health is crucial. If you aren’t experiencing overall emotional wellbeing, it will keep you from enjoying the things you love, it will put strain on your relationships and it may even cause physical health issues.

Many people are reluctant to get help for their mental health needs. They may be dealing with stigmas, or they may not want to admit they have a problem. Others may feel hesitant because they don’t know what to expect.

This article will review the types of treatments that are commonly used for mental health issues so you can determine which may be right for you.

How the Proper Treatment is Determined

There are various treatments that can be used to make mental health issues more manageable. So how does the therapist tell which is right for you?

Often, they will do a full evaluation. They will ask questions and do examinations to analyze your mental and physical health. This will help them make a diagnosis.

Once a diagnosis is made, they will review therapies to find the ones that are most effective in treating your issue. They may integrate a variety of therapies and change therapies if the ones they are using are not working. Medication may be used to complement therapy and increase wellbeing.

What Type of Therapy is Used to Treat Mental Illness?

Here are some of the treatments that may be prescribed.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the theory that negativity comes from within and is not based on a person’s surroundings. It explores the patient’s psyche and aims to replace unhealthy and often unrealistic thought patterns with positive healthy ones to change behavior. It is used to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is very similar to CBT with one major exception. It aims to help individuals accept unhealthy thought patterns instead of encouraging them to struggle against them. The hope is that the patient will find a balance between acceptance and change.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (virtual) (EMDR)

EMDR is a common treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. During the therapy, patients are made to relive unpleasant memories while being exposed to soothing stimuli (such as tapping or musical notes) and performing repetitive eye movements for 20–30 seconds. The goal is to make the patient see their memories in a more positive light.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is often used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder. People with OCD are obsessed with a specific object or behavior and have an unrealistic view of negative consequences. During exposure therapy, patients are made to face their fears in a controlled environment and methods are suggested to help them cope.

Art Therapy

Art therapy may involve making works of art, creating music, dancing or any other creative outlet. It is meant to soothe anxiety and boost self-confidence. It is often used in combination with science-based therapies.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy helps the patient improve their social and interpersonal skills. The therapist will work with the patient to evaluate their social interactions and determine negative patterns like aggression or isolation. The goal is to help the patient interact positively with others. It is commonly used to treat depression, but it can also be helpful in issues with social anxiety and anger management.

Mentalization Based Therapy

Mentalizing is a process that helps us better understand ourselves. It is the exploration of our thoughts and feelings, and it plays a big role in how we connect with others. It is effective in treating people with bipolar disorder who often experience an unstable self-image. It encourages mentalizing often focused on the patient’s relationship with the therapist. It allows the patient to develop safe feelings of attachment to boost confidence and increase empathy.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy aims to resolve negative feelings stemming from past experiences. Sessions typically involve open ended questions and free association allowing patients to discuss whatever is on their minds. It allows the patient to identify negative behaviors and their causes so that they may move on to healthier living. It is often used to treat anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorders.

Virtual Therapy

Some people don’t go to therapy simply because they don’t have the time. If you are too busy to squeeze therapy into your day, virtual therapy is an option. A virtual therapy session is very much like any other therapy session, but it takes place over a video conferencing platform. It eliminates a time and money consuming commute making it easy to fit treatment into your life.


Regardless of the type of therapy which may interest you the most, it is important to have these conversations with your primary care provider or a professional counselor/therapist in order to learn about which approach or approaches can help your personal situation. Mental health issues are not easy to deal with, but seeking help is an important first step. Fortunately, there are a variety of therapies that can be used to get to the root of the problem and make it more manageable. Which of these treatments will work best for you? Talk to your primary care provider or professional therapist to learn more.



Alddo Molinar

Dr. Alddo Molinar is an anesthesiologist, based in Martins Ferry, OH, who received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.