Four alternative therapies for mental health

A number of alternative therapies are changing the way we approach mental health treatment. Now new and creative therapies are being developed to accompany talk therapies and drugs, including the following four:

Four alternative therapies for mental health
Wilderness Therapy

1. Music Therapy

Many of us are already well aware of the therapeutic quality of both playing and listening to music. Some of us like death metal on top volume when we’re feeling stressed, while others prefer to lie back in a bubble bath listening to Enya. Now scientific studies show that music really can lower stress levels and even increase pain thresholds.

So what does a music therapy session involve? The therapist (with all the right credentials) will develop music-related activities, such as listening to tracks, creating melodies, or writing lyrics, in order to alleviate pain, manage stress, or reach an individualised goal tailored to the client’s own needs. The idea is that clients can channel their physical or emotional pain through their creativity and concentration, thereby promoting general physical and mental wellness.

2. Primal Therapy

Founder of primal therapy Arthur Janov believed that mental health problems could be treated by ‘re-experiencing’ past traumas (such as illness, or feeling unloved). The methods included crying, screaming, or hitting things in order to vent the ordeal. Janov believed that if we repress traumatic memories, we develop problems like ulcers, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction and mental health problems. Primal therapy provides an outlet for people to express the guilt, sadness, or anger they feel so they can let go of unresolved emotions and finally move on in life.

3. Wilderness Therapy

The idea of wilderness therapy is to promote personal growth through interaction with the great outdoors. By learning survival skills, participants become self-sufficient and build confidence in their own abilities as individuals. Scientific studies show that spending time outside leads to a number of health benefits, from lowering anxiety levels, to boosting self-esteem.

4. Art Therapy

Art therapy first became popular in the 1940s. It utilises the creative process of art to help the client explore and express their emotions. Through sculpting, painting, drawing and other art forms, participants develop self-awareness, learn how to manage emotions and come to terms with past trauma. The art becomes a kind of ‘visual language’, enabling them to express their feelings where words fall short. Art therapists are required to have a master’s degree and are trained in psychology, human development and counselling. Some studies show art therapy can help improve the mental wellness of women with fertility problems, and mental health patients during rehabilitation.

There is a huge range of alternative therapies available for both physical and mental well-being. We have information pages on a number of therapies, which you can access by visiting Therapy Topics.

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Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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