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Treatment / therapy



If you or someone you know struggle with mental health problems, there are ways to get help. Therapy or treatment is an important part of how to recover from mental health problems. Here you can read more about therapy and treatment, and how to find options for therapy where you live.

Therapy / treatment is typically characterized by a time-limited contact between a therapist and a patient / client, in which specific problems are thematized and worked with. Include different therapeutic traditions (for example cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, and more).

A useful source that evaluate the effectiveness of specific therapies for different mental health problems is the website to the Cochrane Institute [Cochrane Institute][1] .


Different types of psychotherapy

There exist a range of different types of therapies and treatments, including: 

Individual-based therapies

Includes: "Cognitive behavorial therapy (CBT)", "Psychodynamic therapy", and other psychotherapy traditions. Typically delivered by licenced therapists, that might be psychologists, psychiatrists, or other forms of therapists. These services may be organized as private-, public-, or charity-based. Therapies also vary in how specialized they are in respect to what problem that are addressed. Therapy and treatment from public services is typically more governed by guidelines than therapies offered by private- or charity-based services.

System-based therapies

Therapy does not need to be restricted to face-to-face-conversations between one therapist and one patient. Family-based therapies is an example of a therapy that focuses on a system (i.e., more than one person), and seeks to find solutions that benefits the whole family. Therapies or treatment related to children often include measures that seeks to improve how systems surrounding the child (for example the kindergarten, the school, or the family) can better faciliate for the child. Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) may be particularly important in this respect, and can be vital in relation to assessing whether or not the child has a specific diagnosis, and which help and support that is needed. 

Community-based therapies

Some individuals have serious and complex problems and may need extensive services and integrated care. Community-based therapies includes for example "Assertive community therapy" (ACT) and "Flexible assertive community therapies" (FACT). These forms of treatment are typically delievered by community health services, often in co-operation with specialized mental health services.


Reasons for seeking psychotherapy

A number of reasons might be proper reasons for seeking out psychotherapy or treatment. Examples are that you or someone in your family has difficulties in daily life, either home, at school, at the workplace, or on other areas of life. 

It might be related to symptoms of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or a range of other mental disorders.

Other reasons for seeking therapy might be in the context of stressful events, difficulties related to marriage / cohabitation, or if you have been exposed to violence or abuse. 

When one of your children has problems in daily functioning, this is also an important reason for seeking out help. 



Benefits of seeking psychotherapy

The main benefit of seeking therapy is a professional therapist might support you in understanding and defining the problems you need help with, as well as to assist you with how to get better from these problems.

Some mental health problems are possible to either significantly reduce or completely remove.

However, therapy is often related to how one can better cope with given problems, and to increase quality of life despite problems. 

Other benefits of therapy or treatment might be related to receiving a formal diagnosis, which might be necessary in relation to getting eligible to receive benefits in different forms.  


Other ways of getting help

An interesting option to tradition psychotherapy is online therapy.

Therapy or treatment can also be supplemented with other forms of help. Examples are:


  1. Support / self-help groups




    Support / self-help groups can take a variety of forms, from providing a safe and supportive social environment; more or less structured group meetings; information and guidance relating to how to use available help services; and a lot more.

    While it is difficult to know the effectiveness of such services, due to very different compositions of support and self-help services, the research generally show the self-help groups may have important benefits for the participants [Kurouz et al., 2002][2] .


  2. Helplines and chats




    Different helplines and chats exist. Some helplines are specialized in providing you with information and guidance, while others are more specialized in providing emotional support. Some helplines are highly professional, while others are more based on voluntary workers, that merely wish to be a caring listener.

    It is difficult to evalute how effective such services are, and it probably depends on many factors. For example, while the state of the science regarding the effectiveness of crisis response services remains limited, overall results provide support for such services [Hoffberg et al, 2020][3] .


  3. Online communities and forums




    Online communities and forums are options to get in contact with other individuals that struggle with something similar to you or someone you know. Some communities are moderated by professional health workers, while most of them are not.

    Online communities is traditionally not understood as a support or health service, but rather a social area - that may have the potential of being supportive for the individual that uses it. Importantly, research has shown that "people with serious mental illness report benefits from interacting with peers online from greater social connectedness, feelings of group belonging and by sharing personal stories and strategies for coping with day-to-day challenges of living with a mental illness. Within online communities, individuals with serious mental illness could challenge stigma through personal empowerment and providing hope. By learning from peers online, these individuals may gain insight about important health care decisions, which could promote mental health care seeking behaviours" [Naslund et al., 2016][4] .

    This seems to indicate that online communites should not be underevaluated as a potential resource to recovery, coping and enhanced quality of life for people affected by mental health problems.



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References & Footnotes
  1. Cochrane Institute: Cochrane Institute: "Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health." Retrieved 9th of February 2020 from:
  2. Kurouz et al., 2002: Kyrouz, E. M., Humphreys, K., & Loomis, C. (2002). A review of research on the effectiveness of self-help mutual aid groups. British Journal of Clinical Psychology33, 198-200.
  3. Hoffberg et al, 2020: Hoffberg, A. S., Stearns-Yoder, K. A., & Brenner, L. A. (2020). The effectiveness of crisis line services: A systematic review. Frontiers in public health7, 399.
  4. Naslund et al., 2016: Naslund, J. A., Aschbrenner, K. A., Marsch, L. A., & Bartels, S. J. (2016). The future of mental health care: peer-to-peer support and social media. Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences25(2), 113-122.