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Types of Therapies for Mental Health: A Biopsychosocial Approach

Mental health treatment has typically focused on medications and therapy as gold standards for interventions. Most of our research is also highly focused on therapy and medications, giving it the stamp of ‘FDA approved’ and ‘evidence-based’. Unfortunately, this rather narrow approach to a myriad of diagnoses, including depression, anxiety, OCD, mood disorders, tics, ADHD, and sleep disorders, keeps clients in the traditional mental health treatment box and dissuades us from utilizing a biopsychosocial approach that is holistic, comprehensive, and integrated for perhaps far more effective outcomes.

Research has demonstrated that the etiology of mental health struggles could be related to biological (bio-chemistry, neurological, hormonal, genetic), psychological (thoughts and feelings), and environmental stressors (family, school, trauma, SES, loss, etc). So why do mental health practitioners continue to approach a complex multidimensional phenomenon from singular, segregated, and linear treatments? It appears that we only offer more comprehensive integrated treatment addressing the mind, body, and the environment primarily in more intensive and residential programs, but not in traditional outpatient settings.

There are now several interdisciplinary treatment options that can be integrated in typical outpatient therapy and medication management settings that could enhance treatment to make it more effective and efficient. It is important for mental health professionals to learn about new interventions and explore these options with their clients for integrative, holistic, and comprehensive mental health care.

Given the ongoing pandemic and the continued threat of school/college closures, travel bans, and remote work, hundreds of adults, teenagers, and young children are continuing to live in dizzying limbo. The rates of depression, suicide, anxiety, sleep difficulties, social anxiety, failure at schools/colleges/work, and poor daily life performance continue to sky rocket. Our hospital beds are full, there are endless waitlists to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, and residential treatment centers are choked. It is imperative that we expand our horizons and support for families by thinking outside the box and offering additional types of therapies beyond psychotherapy and medications.

Additional Types of Therapies to Consider:

We should assess our clients from multiple perspectives and determine if an array of interventions from a biopsychosocial approach at multiple levels could deem beneficial. In doing so, we may move the needle more quickly to stabilization and adaptive mental health. As the world continues to reel in crisis, individuals and families are continuing to suffer from a plethora of seriously debilitating mental health conditions. Exploring and utilizing multiple types of therapies from a biopsychosocial approach to provide comprehensive, integrated, and interdisciplinary mental health treatment may be an important next step to support and stabilize our communities.