What is mental illness?
Mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, and behavior, resulting in diminished capacity to deal with demands of life. It may be caused by a reaction to genetic factors or biochemical imbalances. In many cases, it can also be related to environmental stressors such as physical diseases, divorce, violence, major life changes, or death of a loved one. The good news is that with proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from mental problems. Recognizing symptoms of mental problems is important because you can look for professional help before they get worse.
At Inner Wellness Counseling we use a variety of approaches according to clients’ needs and therapist’s style. However, the basic modality that we use is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT is the most studied form of psychotherapy worldwide. In over one thousands studies, CBT was found to be successful to a wide variety of psychological problems that include depression, anxiety disorders (e.g. panic, phobia, PTSD, OCD), substance abuse, and eating disorders. Its efficacy has also been established in the treatment of certain medical disorders, such as hypertension, cancer, and diabetes. CBT is a form of psychotherapy in which both client and therapist work together as a team. The therapist helps the client to evaluate and change ways of thinking, behavior, and emotional responses that have not been beneficial to the client. In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is focused on the present, practical and problem-solving oriented. CBT can be used to a variety of age range from child to seniors in individual, couple, family, and group settings.
CBT is culturally friendly because:
- It does not impose the therapist’s point of view on the client’s mind, but instead the therapist helps the client to evaluate whether his or her way of thinking is promoting his or her well-being;
- It tailors interventions to address specific needs of the client, and it empowers the client by recognizing the expertise of the client over his/her own life;
- The relationship between the therapist and the client is of a collaborative nature;
- The therapist encourages the client to develop skills that can be used long after the therapy is over;
- It does not focus on unconscious processes but rather on cognition and behavior, reducing potential for misinterpretation especially for those whose native language is different from the therapist’s, reducing potential for misinterpretation especially for those whose native language is different from the therapist’s.