May is Mental Health Awareness Month and that warrants a look at mental health treatments that are scientifically proven to work. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the grandaddy of evidence-based treatment. Literally, thousands of well-designed research studies have been developed to test its effectiveness. CBT does what the name says. It works on changing patterns of thinking and behaviors that lead to dysfunctional feelings and behavior. Because it’s the most popular theoretical orientation taught in graduate schools, most therapists have received some professional training in CBT. The best news is that CBT has been proven to significantly reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms.
- Motivational Interviewing (MI). What do you do when someone doesn’t want to change? You use MI. Created by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick, motivational interviewing is the premier treatment to help clients alter behaviors that are difficult to change. Originally developed for substance use disorders, the principals of MI are also effective in changing habits that lead to improved health. MI uses the OARS framework, utilizing open questions, affirmations, reflection, and summarizing to help clients make necessary modifications to their lives. Learn more here: Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change and the MINT website.
- Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT also uses cognitive-behavioral principles but it includes a focus on emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness. The full program of Dialectical-Behavior Therapy includes individual therapy, group therapy, and therapist coaching. The practice has been adapted as an effective treatment for mood disorders, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others. The DBT Skills Training Manual is a valuable resource for therapists to educate themselves – it’s considered the bible of DBT.
Check it out: Mental Illness Crash Course