Which Type of Therapy Is Best For Treating Bipolar Disorder?
How does a person know which type of bipolar disorder therapy will work best for him or her? As a psychology student, I learned about the different types of therapy available to patients with various mental illnesses. I learned about their history, how they were developed and their classifications. As a patient with bipolar II and obsessive-compulsive disorder though, my therapists never explained what specific type of therapy they practiced and why one type of therapy might work better than another for me (Types of Bipolar Therapy and How Bipolar Therapy Helps).
Common Types of Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
In addition to bipolar medication, I've found that a combination of different therapies has been most effective for me. My therapists and I have worked with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), as well as interpersonal therapy (IPT).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular forms of therapy in the treatment of bipolar disorder. It focuses on one's beliefs and thoughts, and how these influence actions and behaviors. In the treatment of bipolar disorder, CBT is incredibly helpful in identifying “triggers” and bipolar symptoms, and it can greatly help when keeping track of one's moods and identifying patterns.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was originally developed to help those with suicidal thoughts and actions and is now commonly used in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. DBT helps one develop new coping strategies, namely opposing thoughts, in order to create a balance in disordered thinking. In DBT, one learns how to identify and regulate emotions in a non-judgmental way and how to apply opposite action when in distress. For example, when anxious about going out into a social setting, DBT encourages a person to go ahead and dive into that social setting.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is most often used in the treatment of major depression one-on-one basis with a therapist. IPT focuses on developing communication skills in order to effectively express one's thoughts and feelings.
Family-Focused Therapy (FFT) is used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and includes, as the name implies, the family of the patient. It is believed that by including family members, treatment of the disorder will be much more well-rounded, and loved ones will be able to work with and identify troubling conflicts at home (Supporting Someone With Bipolar: For Family And Friends).
Which Type of Therapy Is Right For You?
Each of these therapies are highly beneficial in their own ways, but they are even more effective when combined. Bipolar symptoms don't operate in a vacuum. They affect the way we deal with emotions and events, how we communicate, and, of course, our relationships with others. That's why combining aspects of each therapy may be helpful to you.
In closing, it's important to find out which types of therapy for bipolar disorder your current or future therapist is trained in, what they feel is best for you at the present time and why (Creating A Healthy Patient-Therapist Relationship). Focusing on these issues is key to your mental health recovery efforts.
What types of therapy do you have experience with, and what has worked best for you?
Poe, A. (2013, June 11). Which Type of Therapy Is Best For Treating Bipolar Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bipolarvida/2013/06/which-type-of-therapy-is-best-for-treating-bipolar-disorder
Author: Alexa Poe