Over the past 10 years the world has changed dramatically. We’re approaching all kinds of everything in new and “exciting” ways. People are communicating, working, learning and buying differently than ever before so maybe it’s time to consider the alternatives to talk therapy?
With the emergence of new platforms and ways to communicate, more people are speaking out, more people are listening and more people are seeking help than ever before. Celebrities the world over are representing proving that depression doesn’t discriminate – not against race, status, or wealth. Thanks to the gaggle of celebs speaking out and leading the charge when it comes to self-acceptance, body neutrality, and overall mental health, therapists are being snapped up around the country with people flurrying to find someone to help them make sense of the madness we’re living in. But at a time where people seek stimulation like never before maybe it’s time we considered the alternatives to talk therapy.
And humans are complex, we’re individual and our experiences are unique. Not because they didn’t happen to others, but because unless you were cloned your interpretation is unique and that’s the thing that matters. Anyway, such is the complex nature of emotional disorders that no one size fits all. Something might work at a particular time, and not another time. So try different things and see what works. Here are some alternatives to talk therapy that are currently making waves.
EMDR, aka Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (rolls off the tongue), is a relatively new type of therapy. It started as a treatment for PTSD on war veterans but years of research later it’s proving effective in the treatment of a whole host of stuff including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, OCD and much more.
But what is it? Basically, the brain is split in two – the left (analytical, thinking brain) and the right (creative, intuitive brain). To process emotions and experiences the two sides need to talk to each other but we sometimes get blockages in these pathways. EMDR helps build bridges so the left and right side can speak. This helps us process the underlying stuff that might be holding us back.
How? By popping on a pair of headphones and listening to the ‘beep’ go back and forth between each ear. That’s right, left ear ‘beep, right ear ‘beep’. It’s mad stuff. But it works. Touted by Jameela Jamil, James Blake, Rose McGowan, and Mel B as talk therapy on speed I have a sneaky suspicion this one will hit the mainstream real soon.
Ever consider the effect music has on us? Like when you hear a song and it takes you right back to a moment. Or when you’ve just broken up with someone and all you can hear is love songs? The effect it has on the brain is powerful. Music therapy involves listening to music or playing instruments, while facilitated by a therapist.
Why music? Because music is a core function in the brain. It stimulates parts of the brain that are otherwise hard to access. In evolutionary terms music precedes speech – that’s why babies react to tunes before they can say a word!
But how does it work? Music lets us easily tap into our emotions making it easier for music therapists to work with. It’s also powerful in prompting memories that may otherwise be tucked away. By relaxing our brain emotions are less inhibited than they normally are and so come up more freely. Plus, who doesn’t like listening to music? Two birds, one stone. Check.
Similar in sentiment to music therapy it’s based on the belief that creative expression is a way for people to resolve inner conflicts. As humans, we are creatively driven. All of us, but we often don’t believe it. That’s why we stop creating. Art therapy helps you tap into and express emotions that you may not be able to articulate.
Art therapy can be done by painting, drawing or sculpting. Its purpose is to help make sense of your feelings. The therapist isn’t there to judge, there’s no prize for the best art so go for gold. Let your fingers do the talking.
This is therapy in the wild. It’s used a lot for group sessions based on the idea that expeditions in nature as well as the skills training that go with it (that’s right campfires, learning to make stuff out of wood, real Bear Grylls stuff) is a way of mirroring the pressures found in the family, and often the stuff that causes the most stress.
By bringing them to light people can begin to work through issues in relation to others and start to figure out better coping strategies and ways of interacting with others. And you get a walk on the wild side while you’re at it.
So there you have it. Some of the lesser-known options out there when it comes to managing our mental health.