What general types of treatment are there?

The psychological treatment most familiar to people is psychotherapy, a form of “talk” therapy. Talk therapy uses verbal communication to give social support, to elicit insight into our problems and “think creatively” about solutions, and to help us gain knowledge, and to question and “re-frame” our understanding of our problems.

Behavioural therapy is a way of using reinforcers and negative outcomes to elicit change in our behaviour—and ultimately the way we think. Behaviour therapy is based on principles of learning and conditioning.

Biological treatments are most strongly associated with medication, but can include food, nutrients, substances, or pharmaceuticals. Other biological treatments can be quite specialized, like electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) for depression, or interventions like surgery.

One form of treatment that bridges the gap between biological and behavioural therapy is self-regulation training using biofeedback. The most fascinating recent addition to this form of treatment is neurofeedback, in which people train their brain-wave activity to be more optimal for mental health. Neurofeedback is like physical exercise for the mind, and is a form of mental-fitness training.