This is the final blog in the mental health support series with Dr Zoe Burgess. Here, Zoe discusses Psychotherapy as well as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Following my last blog on CBT, I will be exploring and summarising two other types of therapy, psychotherapy (including interpersonal and psychodynamic) and EMDR.
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)
IPT is another time-limited, structured therapy that focuses on relationships and emotions and is most commonly used to treat depression. The underlying belief is that the person’s symptoms are often a response to difficulties they have interacting with others.
The resulting symptoms can then also affect the quality of these interactions, causing a cycle. The thought process behind the therapy is that once a person is able to interact more effectively with those around them, their symptoms can improve.
Sessions will typically be weekly for 50-60 minutes; however the number of sessions will vary depending on the type of mental health difficulty and the level of need that the person has.
This therapy is aimed at understanding the reasons behind symptoms, emotional distress and relationship difficulties. It helps people to understand difficulties in their current life through looking at past experiences, current ways of thinking/relating and anxieties about the future.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy assumes that part of our mind operates outside of our conscious awareness; and that early experiences in life lay down patterns of relating to others, of dealing with feelings and life’s challenges.
There is a great emphasis on the quality of the relationship between the individual and the therapist; and it is believed that this is a key factor in the success of this therapy.
Sessions will typically last 50-60 minutes and the number of therapy sessions varies. If the difficulties are longstanding, then it is not unusual for sessions to continue over many months. This type of therapy typically lasts a lot longer than those previously discussed.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
This is the therapy that you may have recently heard that Prince Harry opted for! It is most commonly used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and involves the person recalling the traumatic incident whilst simultaneously making eye movements.
This is usually done by following the movement of the therapist’s finger. Other methods may include the therapist tapping their finger or playing a tone.
Through accessing the traumatic memory, new associations are forged between the traumatic memory and more adaptive memories or information. Sessions will typically last 60-90 minutes and the number of sessions varies.
As stated at the beginning of this series, this is by no means a comprehensive summary of all available treatments out there. It’s more a glimpse into those that are commonly more routinely available within NHS settings.
If you’d like more information on anything I have discussed in this blog or the series as a whole, you can find the information you need on the NHS website or the National Institute of Health & Care Excellence (NICE).