7 Therapeutic Approaches to Overcoming Mental Illness ...

By Michelle

There are various therapeutic approaches to overcoming mental illness. You don’t need to live in the constant strain of distortions, disease and disaster. There are steps that you can take to make sure you are okay, whether it be starting with a therapist or working your way through these approaches. Check out these therapeutic approaches to overcoming mental illness today!

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Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) is a therapeutic approach to overcoming mental illness that challenges the individuals to identity, challenge and replace self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. It’s great if you suffer from an addiction such as self-harm or substance abuse. You can practice REBT by recognizing the triggering event, observing your initial response, considering the consequences if you do that, challenging those thoughts and replacing them with new, positive coping skills.



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often used when treating eating disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the goal is to examine the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This type of recovery is very problem-solving oriented. It’s a hands-on type of therapy so you may have work to do outside of therapy to prepare for the work you do in each session.



Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was originally designed to treat Bipolar Disorder and suicidal thoughts. It now is used to treat other mental illnesses, including mood and personality disorders. The emphasis in this treatment is psychosocial. It is comprised of both individual and group counseling in order to establish a network of support that collaborates to get better. Skills you may work on are things like interpersonal communication, acceptance, mindfulness and emotion regulation.


Play Therapy

Sometimes you can’t express how you feel and what’s going on inside. That’s okay! There are alternative ways to release your thoughts and feelings, and what better way than through play? Play therapy is used for both adults and children. It includes imaginative play, body play such as dancing, sand play and storytelling, to name a few.


Sand Tray Therapy

I’m a big fan of incorporating Sand Tray Therapy into your recovery. With a therapist, you use little figurines in a sand tray to represent your world. You use your non-dominant hand, an act that taps into the sub-conscious, to set the stage, shifting the sand and moving the pieces until it’s right. Then you talk about what it means. I was rather surprised by how insightful and eye-opening this therapeutic approach could be.

Famous Quotes

Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.

Bruce Lee


Mindfulness-based approaches to overcoming your mental illness stem from focusing on the present moment. It provides open-mindedness and allows for a clearer perspective when it comes to dealing with triggers. My therapist takes this approach, which may be one of the primary reasons I am so drawn to yoga and meditation. They come hand-in-hand in my opinion.


Art Therapy

Is there something you feel caught inside you that you can’t put into words? I know for me, it’s easier to illustrate my anxiety than talk about it. You may try art therapy to create a visual of how you feel or the thoughts that loop through your mind. The benefit of art therapy is that it gives you the spring-board to talk about your piece in therapy.

Overcoming a mental illness is not impossible. There are various therapeutic approaches to getting better so it’s important to find which one works best for you. After all, it’s your life. What type of therapy has worked for you?

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dbt was actually created for borderline personality disorder. Not bipolar disorder.